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Crazy Idea

#1
We have all seen the absolute carnage the 2018 NHRA season has wrought in just 2 events. This pace of destruction is unsustainable, not to mention unsafe. I believe the issue is two fold:

First: The displacement of the engines is too big, the superchargers are too big, the fuel pumps are too big, the magnetos are too big ... which make the bombs too big. My proposal is to cut the displacement down to a 5.7L Gen III Hemi (which is still a big motor by most modern standards). This engine platform is highly developed for racing applications, is still a conventional cam and push rod motor. You can still run 2 Mags. Racepak/MSD should be able to develop a tune real quick for this motor. Retooling should be a minimum cost for all the parts guys (most of it is in house anyway for JFR/DSR/AJPE) and you can continue to use all of your metal stock you have on hand to make the "new" parts. The difference will be smaller superchargers and fuel pumps since you will not be able to put as much fuel and air through the smaller displacement motor. They will still blow up (because nitro), but it will be a smaller bomb so to speak.

Second: The cars are too heavy. Del Worsham has had to develop a third parachute because the car weighs 2625 pounds. That is ridiculously heavy. It makes the cars hard to stop and it makes physics your enemy when there is an incident more so than it already is. The sheer momentum and inertia is extraordinary at that weight at that speed. Remember velocity is a force multiplier, and so if you hit anything, you hit it HARD and people get hurt. There has to be a way to incorporate all we have learned into the chassis design, safety systems, bodies and shave 500 pounds or so off of one of these pigs and still be as safe as we are now.

I believe with these 2 changes, they should still be able to cover the 1,000ft at the magical 300MPH number (or more), still make a lot of noise, still have big header flames, still have happy fans and be safer than we are now.

Lastly, I get that any change will be expensive and have unintended costs and consequences. So you phase the change in. Maybe allow the current setup to continue running for a period of time with 1 Mag or with smaller pumps against the new setup until parts and technologies can trickle down to all teams. Or maybe do the motors first, then come with the new chassis a couple of seasons later. This is where you would need leadership from the NHRA tech department and the cooperation of teams. Just a crazy idea by a "keyboard crew chief" ... but I FIRMLY believe something has to change, hopefully sooner rather than later.
 

DixonFan

Staff member
#2
Del Worsham has had to develop a third parachute because the car weighs 2625 pounds
I thought I heard someone say that he developed the third chute because the other 2 were hitting too hard. Not sure if weight has to do with how the parachutes deploy. Maybe @Alan Reinhart can chime in here and let us know the facts on the chutes.
 

ironpony

Nitro Member
#3
I thought I heard someone say that he developed the third chute because the other 2 were hitting too hard. Not sure if weight has to do with how the parachutes deploy. Maybe @Alan Reinhart can chime in here and let us know the facts on the chutes.

thats the way I took it the little chute scrubs off 20-30 mph and then the big ones deploy
 

TK

Nitro Member
#5
From what I understand, the theory for using the supplemental parachute was to assist in deployment of the primary parachutes, due to the change in the aerodynamics at the rear of the car, as a result of less rear wing angle. The change in the rear wing angle was necessary in order to compensate for the header angle change at the beginning of the year.
 

.

Nitro Member
#6
There has been a million posts on this site over the last decade about how to slow these cars down. Everyone thinks they have the solution. Ultimately the general consensus is.... the Spectator doesn't want to see slower cars, and it would be to costly for teams to make any combination changes. The NHRA could have slowed these cars down after Scott died and we could have went back to quarter mile racing but here we are still having the same old stale conversation..... maybe just as stale as NHRA "big show" racing has become. lol.
 
#8
There has been a million posts on this site over the last decade about how to slow these cars down. Everyone thinks they have the solution. Ultimately the general consensus is.... the Spectator doesn't want to see slower cars, and it would be to costly for teams to make any combination changes. The NHRA could have slowed these cars down after Scott died and we could have went back to quarter mile racing but here we are still having the same old stale conversation..... maybe just as stale as NHRA "big show" racing has become. lol.
I am not advocating this crazy idea of mine as the ultimate solution, nor am I unwilling to listen to other ideas, or why my idea is not feasible (though I am looking for more technical or engineering reasons). I do agree we have been talking about this for a decade, and I can see where it has become stale. But just think where we would be now if something was done a decade ago. JFR probably wouldn't be sitting on 3 destroyed bodies, and a junked funny car and top fuel chassis 2 races into the season.
 

Jack

Nitro Member
#10
You can keep the current engine size and the existing technology. Mandate lower boost levels and less fuel volume and you will have no choice but to reduce power and slow the cars down. The main issue is the NHRA making the decision to do so. Tough to do with what has always been your "unlimited" marquee race cars Reducing the weight by 500 pounds is no small task. Teams have spent a lot of money on light weight materials to get the weight down to the current levels and improved mandated safety equipment has also added weight over the years. Your 2100 lb race car would need to be more like 1900 lb before adding in the weight of the driver.
 

none

Nitro Member
#12
A 2600 pound car will hit the chutes harder than a 2100 pound car at the same speed.
Chris,
I'm not an expert in this field by any means, but if you use the same parachute, wouldn't it hit the driver harder with a lighter car? I'm thinking same brake application would stop a 2100 lb. car faster than it would a 2600 lb. car. The third chute is to lessen the hit of the two big ones, by scrubbing a little speed before they come out.

Alan
 

ANDY

Nitro Member
#13
the size of the opening to the intake has everything to do with the boom no matter what size the rest of the motor is.
maybe they should put a giant burst panel in the back of the injector too. the body should have a burst panel 3x the size
of the one they use now.maybe put a body latch release on the body with a long tether that stops it when it straight up and down
that will help the car slow down too..LOL it all comes down to figuring out how to get rid of the air that's trying to escape
from the motor when its hurt . if the bottom of the blower has the same opening as the intake what does it matter if the intake opening
is bigger then when it blows up more air can escape out of the manifold with less force so long as the blower leaves the manifold first.
idk guess im thinking out loud again lol ~:)~
 
#14
Im no expert on top fuel motors. But i do worry about where things are headed after the first two races. Way Too much carnage and black and blue drivers. Gives me the creeps about the future. I want our drivers to be safe and from what we’ve seen so far we are going the other way. Yes , lots of new safety equipment and chassis refinements have been working as designed. But cars are going too fast and blowing up too frequently. I don’t have answers; just worries....
 

Greggo

Nitro Member
#15
Chris,
I'm not an expert in this field by any means, but if you use the same parachute, wouldn't it hit the driver harder with a lighter car? I'm thinking same brake application would stop a 2100 lb. car faster than it would a 2600 lb. car. The third chute is to lessen the hit of the two big ones, by scrubbing a little speed before they come out.

Alan
Sorry Chris but I have to agree with Alan on this.
The really fast land speed guys use a similar application where they deploy a hi-speed chute which is a very small canopy in which the sole intention is to lessen the blow of the main chute. Now I am speaking of cars that are travelling at a much higher rate of speed and carry much more weight (my Dad's car weighs 4700 lbs.) but at a place like Bonneville, they (used to) have a much longer shut down area.
 

Nunz

Nitro Member
#16
It can be done if everyone came to an agreement, which is like herding cats. John Lawson has a match race nitro FC that is kind of in between a nostalgia car and a big show car. I would say it's similar to a '90s big show car, runs something like 5.30s in 1320ft, and makes big noise and tall header flames. I'm not sure, but I think it's a combo that runs one mag, but either way, it runs fast without the carnage.
 

none

Nitro Member
#17
Nunzio,
Everyone out there can run 3.90-4.00 time after time and pretty much never hurt anything, but they aren't racing when they do. Anybody remember when Dick LaHaie was running the Miller car with Larry Dixon, and they were talking about lower compression and blower limits? At Dallas Monday after the race, LaHaie put the combination in his car and made three runs between 4.80 and 4.90 (quarter mile) all at about 305 mph (if memory serves) but decent conservative runs and never so much as flattened a bearing. Many people were proclaiming that this was the answer. If the rules were changed, the costs would come down, the carnage would cease and no one would ever hurt another part. But LaHaie wasn't racing, when I asked him if he would have the same set up if Bernstein was in the other lane he said "Oh, hell no!" If he was racing he would have to try to win! Not try to make three runs without hurting anything. And anybody that remembers LaHaie remembers that he HATED blowing stuff up. Trying to make a clean run and trying to win a race are two VERY different things.

Alan
 

none

Nitro Member
#19
Here's another example of race mentality. Back in the match race days, let's say Fred and Steve were booked in to put on a show. If the promoter said "I'm paying you each $1000 per run if you make full runs, and $500 if you shut off early" Fred and Steve would do big burnouts maybe a couple of dry hops and run to the stripe. Every run would be a full pull, the fans would love it and the drivers would each get $3000 for three full runs. And in the days before scoreboards, the announcer would just make it sound like every run was a new record.

Now the same two guys go to the next match race, but this promoter wants them to race, so he says "Best two out of three winner gets $5000 loser gets $1000" Now the show for the fans is secondary to the drivers as they both want to make the extra 4K so the burnouts are shorter, and the chance or someone smoking the tires goes way up so the fans may not see clean runs to the lights. And if Fred wins the first round, he knows that all he needs to do is win round 2 for the cash and he doesn't have to make the third round. Steve has to press because if he loses the second round he's getting the short cash stack, so he's really pushing and the fans get more tire smoke.

The point being that proving you can make a good clean run and racing someone are to VERY different things.

As always, just my opinion.
Alan
 
#20
I seem to remember a sand drag racer who took an exploded TF Hemi and sawed off the bad half, welded it up, shortened everything including the blower, and had a nitro V4 or V6 that put out 800hp per cylinder.
The new JR Fuel?
 

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