Letter of the Month
I found your editorial concerning safety in drag racing (Shop Talk, May '08) really thought-provoking. My dad and I have both worked as "Tech" at our local eighth-mile dragstrip (Outer Banks Speedway) and we have both seen a lot of "ghetto fab" butchery come through the gates. We've not only turned away (and thoroughly upset) some racers because of their lack of safety equipment, but we have also been a part of saving lives, if you will. We've seen more crashes on the big end due to drivers not pulling the chute(s) more times than I can count. NHRA mandates parachutes on cars running faster than 125 mph in the eighth-mile and 150 mph in the quarter-mile; it should be common sense for these drivers to want to be safe, even if they aren't racing at a sanctioned dragstrip.
Referring to your editorial, is it possible that some of these Quick 8/Outlaw class drivers do not know how to repack the chutes after they are deployed? Some drivers, even those in slower-e.t. cars, also seem to think that once they pass the finish line and are on the brakes, it is OK to go ahead and start taking their helmet off. In my opinion and experience, top-end braking should be a major concern for any driver in any car. We've seen guys running in the 5s (eighth-mile) wearing shorts and flip-flops, but at least they have the fire jacket on, right? Not so.
Drag racing is the coolest motorsport in the world to me, and with the cars getting so much faster, it's hard to understand why some drivers want to spend every penny on that new speed part rather than upgrading their 5-year-old helmet or harnesses. I'd hate to sound like a prude or anything, but it scares me to see people and all of their hard work come to an abrupt end. I would like to see a CHP issue with more than just the basic long wheel studs/driveshaft loop safety tech. I understand that accidents are going to happen, but let's be more prepared for the accident, rather than getting down the track a thousandth of a second faster without the appropriate safety equipment and knowledge of how to use it. Thanks for your time and thoughts of racer safety.
A while back, you were asking readers about "crossbreeding" Chevy engines into other vehicles (Shop Talk, Mar. '08). I'd like to tell you about my project.
My name is Jason Snyder and I live near Shelby, Ohio. I pull with the Central Ohio Tractor Pullers Association in their Small Block Hot Rod class. Engines are limited to 410 cid and must use cast-iron heads and a single 750-cfm carb with an 8,000 rpm limit. I have one in a 3010 John Deere. I'll send some pics when I get some uploaded, but until then you can see some action at coatpa.com.
You guys really should send your FNG to Ohio around mid-July for a week and I'll show him how we use these engines here. All over the state, probably three nights a week, you could go pulling, anything from our single-engine tractors to triple-engine modifieds (572ci alcohol-injected blown Chevys, Hemis, Allison aircraft V-12s, and turbines).
That's a little short notice for us, but we'll check out the schedule and if we can fit it, we would love to check it out for ourselves!