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wheels777 UltraDork
9/8/23 9:10 p.m.

FWIW, I am the one who asked.  My injuries are permanent. I don't want anyone to deal with what I have been thru and what's in front of me.  I used to be a strong advocate for the "if it's on the car it's in the budget".   I am not in that camp anymore. After 43 years of racing and well over 10,000 passes over 100 mph I know this....I wish I could go back in time. 

CrustyRedXpress Dork
9/11/23 1:46 p.m.
wheels777 said:

FWIW, I am the one who asked.  My injuries are permanent.[...]I wish I could go back in time. 

I think it's nuts to count something that doesn't enhance performance but does enhance safety against the budget.

The arguments earlier in this thread pale against the possibility of another competitor sustaining permanent injuries. And if it can happen to the Nelsons we know damn well it can happen to anybody.


darkbuddha HalfDork
9/11/23 2:02 p.m.

Here's my take: sure, a racing seat can be exempt IF installed in such a way as to pass the racing sanctioning body inspection for which it is rated (i.e. FIA or SFI or whatever), but no cost exemption for the necessary installation materials and hardware (i.e. no exempt roll cages or harness bars or seat mounts or whatever), or no exemption for the seat. Because otherwise, you're just providing an exemption for exactly what already happens: people install WHATEVER seat they want (within budget), and let's face it, a lot of those installs probably aren't as safe as an OEM factory seat mounted in its OEM factory application. I mean sure, the smart competitor will do what they can to make that install safe, but I've seen homemade seats and factory '60s low back buckets and the equivalent of lawn chairs in some Challenge cars, none of which are rated for anything and their mounting is completely untested in any accident situation. They say "don't drive faster than your guardian angel can fly" when they should say "don't drive faster than your safety equipment can keep you alive."

BTW, I've purchased a couple aluminum race seats over the years for under $100 each. Out of date, sure, but otherwise perfectly useable and undamaged. Being on a real budget (not just within Challenge budget rules), that's a more affordable option than spending $800+ on a new an in-date containment seat.

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/13/23 10:22 a.m.

In reply to wheels777 :

I remember two challenges ago. I made a suggestion that any cart type vehicle or anything that didn't maintain a factory chassis and crumple zones be limited to an eighth mile for safety purposes only and that scoring could be projected out against vehicle. Still running a full quarter mile time at the 1/8 point and I deferred to your expertise on the matter at the time. 


Which I still do and recommend that others do as well. I haven't gone through the same experiences as you, and I sure as hell don't have the same expertise with regards to drag racing or drag racing safety as you do. However, I do have a large amount of experience in regulation and safety of on track road course racing and that's what I was leaning upon and making the recommendations and deferring to you. At the time I felt that my idea was met with borderline hostility and not from yourself, but from competitors and entrants in the challenge whom the rule would be intended to protect. The following year there was a cart that kissed the wall at low speed and it was due to track conditions and low traction, but it actually illustrated how even a low power car at low speed can get into such a predicament. My feelings with regards to safety at the challenge, and I legitimately hate that I feel this way, is that the fact that there has not been a serious injury or worse at the event is the case of better being lucky than good. And that in my mind is not acceptable. We have to be good. We have to do better. There's an easy way to do it and to do it safely. I'm off the opinion that if it's not a factory-based chassis or the chassis has been modified extensively that it can also be done without increasing cost. I know the 8th mile isn't as exciting or sexy as the quarter mile, It doesn't have the trap speeds. However, It's a format that is safer that we can all play in, and in addition, it's less restrictive with regards to budget and creativity. 


It pains me to see what you've had to endure. But I also know if somebody who wasn't as high quality of a builder as yourself and if somebody who wasn't as strict and stern about safety as yourself had been in the same situation that the end result would have been far far worse. You weren't lucky, you're good, That's something that those of us who have been lucky at the challenge don't seem to realize before it's too late. 



*** I'm adding this last part as general commentary as it pertains to the challenge and getting more people down to the challenge and competing in it as the challenge was designed and intended before it was opened up to a broader range of participants as we really do want to keep the focus, in my opinion, on the original ideals.


With that being said. We often lamb-based potential participants for having overly complex ideas, that in some cases border on delusions of grandeur, imploring them just to come on down and compete with what you have that's functional and fits the rule set. And that you can focus on getting to the pointy end later and you'll have a better idea of mindset of how to do it after you've been down and attended in person. And I feel that that's a strong idea in mindset and ethos. 


But for some reason when we get to rule set discussion we stray as far away from that as possible. We make the rules as convoluted and polluted and complex is possible and it drives away potential participants and we talk about how that's an issue each and every year. 


I bring that up because instead of coming up with an idea of additional safety exemptions, because we know that it needs to be safer, and making the rules more complex. It's pretty simple just to change the length of the drag strip to an 1/8 mile for vehicles that get to the pointy end of performance and budget restricts the safety from being where it needs to be. 

Keep it simple. That's how you allow additional entrance and fresh blood to enter the event. 


Heck. I would love for there to be a class for cars that entered at $2,000, ran the 8th mile and then came back in following years with updated safety equipment and basically the same performance potential. Then now exceeds $2,000 but now they can run the full quarter mile and really show what they were capable of. I would love to have a grandfather class of originally $2,000 vehicles. But we have to crawl before we can walk. ***

QuasiMofo (John Brown)
QuasiMofo (John Brown) MegaDork
9/27/23 6:41 a.m.

In reply to Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) :

Actually, 1/8 mile would tighten up the field and could bring parity.

I like this. 

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/27/23 12:32 p.m.

In reply to QuasiMofo (John Brown) :

It certainly increases the driver element and getting the best 60' time possible into play. 


Vehicles that are limited to 1/8 could be issued a digital logbook citing what changes would be needed for them to be eligible to run the 1/4 and then tech could check for those items the following year. 

nocones PowerDork
9/27/23 1:14 p.m.

I'm not sure from the NHRA side what changes from 1/8th to 1/4.  Speeds are obviously lower. 

That said the time slips have 1/8 mile times on them.  You could always score the event on the 1/8 mile, and allow cars that are legal to run the full 1/4 mile.    

Isn't 1000' an option now also?

maschinenbau UberDork
9/27/23 1:52 p.m.

I know I'm not towing a car down to Florida for a friggin 1/8th mile

gumby Dork
9/27/23 10:04 p.m.

In reply to maschinenbau :

No one googles 1/8th mile times either; or cares to read about them in magazines.

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/28/23 8:03 a.m.

In reply to gumby :

Nobody would be taking away the 1/4 mile. They'd be requiring a vehicle be safe enough to campaign in the 1/4 mile at the speeds that it's capable of, just as other sanctioning bodies require. If it keeps some people from attending but enables the event to continue without a fatality and without the host venue kicking us out...


... Then I'm of the mindset of good riddance to those who wouldn't show up with their literal potential death traps. I don't want to show up to an event and watch someone die. I don't want to show up to an event and watch a helicopter have to be called. I know that there's some people that have lived sheltered enough lives that they've never been on track when that's had to occur and I hope they continue to be sheltered. That's why I actually support the idea of vehicles being required to be safe to run at the speeds that they're capable of. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/28/23 8:28 a.m.

Is the argument safety, or is the argument budget?

gumby Dork
9/28/23 9:17 a.m.

In reply to Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) :

We already have rules for that. Sounds like we agree on enforcing the current rules rather than making new ones. Cool.

maschinenbau UberDork
9/28/23 9:20 a.m.
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to gumby :

They'd be requiring a vehicle be safe enough to campaign in the 1/4 mile at the speeds that it's capable of, just as other sanctioning bodies require. 

There is already a sanctioning body that does that, with safety rules that all Challenge cars are required to adhere to based on how fast they go. Sounds like you have a problem with enforcement, which has already been addressed by Tom.

edit: jynx lol

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/28/23 9:53 a.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) :

From my standpoint, 100% safety. And I won't waiver from it, as lack of safety puts competitors and the event and organization and venue hosting it at risk and there are classes where budget isn't of concern at the event where any and all competitors can compete. 

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/28/23 9:54 a.m.

In reply to gumby :

Agreed smiley (I saw this after my most recent post) 

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