Top Fuel – Funny Cars to Race 1000 Feet

NHRA Drag RacingAfter taking in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals last weekend in Norwalk, Ohio, it now looks like we were lucky enough to see the last full length quarter mile race for Top Fuel and Funny Cars, for the indefinite future. In the aftermath of the death of Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta, the NHRA has been looking for ways to make the races safer for the top two classes and as a temporary measure they have shortened the race length to 1000 feet which gives them an extra 320 feet of shutdown area.

Although there may be better ways to handle this, it was felt this change could be put into place almost immediately while other long term plans were finalized.

It’s going to take quite a mental adjustment to see races end at 1000 feet but it’s no secret that when you have cars with something like 7000 horsepower running at 300 mph, things can get a bit dicey if anything goes wrong. Let’s hope they come up with some long term solutions that can return these classes to the full quarter mile soon.

Link: NHRA

Comments

  1. Edward Jordan says

    I have been a drag racing fan for almost 50 years. I have watched the evolution of these cars as they became more powerful, faster, and, yes, safer. Each and every member of a race car team knows what he or she is getting into from the start. It is always a tragedy when someone is hurt or killed, but it happens in almost every sport at one time or another, especially in auto racing. We all know this.
    In all the years I have been a fan of drag racing the race has always been 1/4 mile (1320 ft)as, again, we all know. But the breakdown area has not been extended to keep pace with the increases in speed and power. That end of track area is what needs to be addressed,not the shortening of the 1/4 mile drag race!
    What about all the evolution, the records and famous drivers over all these years who raced 1/4 mile? How will one differentiate all those records from the new so-called 1000 foot drag race. What is going to be called “3/4 of a 1/4 mile drag race”?
    I do not think it is fair to the race teams, drivers, or the sport of drag racing to consider shortening this type of sporting event. As for the teams who state they will save parts or whatever, please find another sponsor or better yet another sport!
    Keep the 1/4 mile drag race alive and progressing.
    Fans go to the drag races for the roar and raw power and smell of burning rubber and fuel, not to hope some car crashes as most in any type of oval track racing do. Drag racing enthusiasts are a special breed. Keep 1320 feet!

  2. tts10driver says

    Next, the Indy 500, will be the Indy 375. 24 Hours of Le Mans will be the 16 Hours of Who Really Cares ?

  3. says

    The quick fix to make the Fuel classes safer is only that. A quick fix. The real solution is to increase the lenght of the shutdown area. If the racing facility can not or would not increase it, then that facility should contend with the “1000 feet fuel race”. All the newer, updated strips with increased shutdown lenght can run the 1320 fuel races. Everybody is happy and the evoultion in performance can continue.
    Peace.

  4. klaus erbskorn says

    Not so good

    They finally build a drag strip in Charlotte, NC.

    I’ve been watching Top Fuel and Funny Car for years and finally thought I’d go to see one in person.

    Now that they are running 1000 feet, I think I’ll go see something more legitimate like a tractor pull or fat guys wrestling…

  5. Stu Lindsey says

    Personally I won’t pay to watch the big boys “take it easy”. If you’re afraid of the “most exciting 1 second in racing” change classes! I’m missing the first race in Las Vegas since “The Strip” opened here this coming October, because of the shortened race. I’ll be watching to see if the shortened race becomes permanent. When the race goes back to 1320 I’ll start buying tickets again. Stu in Las Vegas.

  6. Jerry Newberry says

    I think that shortening the length of the race to 1,000 feet is an awful thing to do. Instead of shortening the race they should force the tracks take proper measures to make their tracks safe.

    How many races have been won on those last 300 feet of track? These cars are hard enough to set up to make 1/4 mile without lighting the tires? Now they don’t even have room to lock up the clutch.

    I had been racing 1/8 mile tracks for years when I made my first 1/4 mile run. The 1/8 mile tracks are fun for most cars but the Nitro cars need the full quarter.

    We are losing 300 feet of stand seating as well. I raced for 12 years, won three points championships and loved racing in door slammer classes. I still love to watch but won’t spend $85.00 to watch a funny car race that ends before it starts.

    Jerry Newberry aka “Warlord”

  7. Dan says

    One man dies and the whole sport shuts down? Earnhardt died Nascar did head devices and soft walls, did not cut the speed to 120, or go to all short tracks. Scott Kalitta is turning over in his grave.

  8. jeff hoyle says

    I’ve been a 1/4 mile fan all my life. In 1976 I used to pedal my bike down to the Edmonton International speedway and watch John Force, The mongoose, the snake, Terry Capp, The Hawaiian, The Mad Trapper, and many, many more from the NHRA. Back then the security was the biker club called the Rebels. The drags were the place for real men and loose women. People went there for the whole package. Now we go to Bud park and watch the IHRA .People die. You pay your money and take your chances. Life is short. Enjoy what you have. We want the 1/4 mile.

  9. Joey Johnson says

    I find a 1,000 feet race to be acceptable. It’s a logical length – just as entertaining to the fans and much safer for the drivers – keep 1,000 feet!

  10. PlanoTX Long Time Fan says

    I have been attending “the drags” since they ran on runways (I’m 65) and I can’t believe NHRA has taken this short sighted (shortening the run from 1,320 to 1,000 feet) approach to and accident. If the run needs to be safer, lengthen the shutdown/overrun area. Sounds like the strip owners are getting a little push from the insurance companies about raising rates and the threat of closing some of the strips has NHRA jumping off the deep end. NHRA needs to rethink their “solution” before the only attendees left are the people who will come out to watch the “front wheel drive rice burners” have a go.

  11. Ken Wheeler says

    I have been a avid fan for more than 40 years and a some time comptitator. I have never liked 1/8 mile racing and have no use for 1000 foot racing either. Please don’t hand me that the shorter track will save costs or parts. All that will happen there is to tune for the new track length and hopefully the engine won’t blow at 1000 feet instead of 1320. If the track shutdown area is not up to snuff then get them off of the schedule untill they are fixed. If you want to save costs for the teams then get the electronics off of the cars. Maybe even, no electronics and 400 cid max.
    I strongly agree with Jim ” listen to your fans.” Ken