NHRA: Are They Doing Enough To Prevent The Unthinkable?

Juston RosenowCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2008

In the last 5 years, we have lost 3 nitro category racers due to accidents.  What we all wonder is if the NHRA is doing enough to protect the drivers.  Ford, John Force Racing and SFI are taking on a joint project to research and develop ways to make this sport safer.  Also, the NHRA claims to be considering a reduction in nitromethane percentage.  Nitromethane is the primary fuel that catapults these rockets to speeds over 330 miles per hour.  But is that enough?  Most fans that I have talked to disagree.  The NHRA should be quite a bit more proactive in researching ways to make this sport safer.  After all, these guys are way behind in corporate dollars compared to NASCAR.  Wouldn't it make more sense to protect the drivers the same way NASCAR is trying to do?

Darrell Russell, Eric Medlen, and now Scott Kalitta are the latest drivers to be killed in the cockpit.  John Force even stated that he probably wouldn't be here if those safety improvements weren't made to his car.  Many racers acknowledge that somewhere along the line, it should have happened to them.  Cory MacClenathan had a terrible accident at Bristol 2 years ago.  Brandon Bernstein got lucky in his rookie year.  Definitely, in my opinion, the NHRA is WAY behind the eight ball when it comes to making things safer for the drivers.

With all the power that the NHRA is gaining, shouldn't they worry more about the stars than the bottom line?  The stars are what make this sport, and the accessibility to them.  You can't stand toe to toe with a NASCAR driver and hold a friendly conversation with them.  It is time that the fans and drivers join in arms and push the sanctioning body to help with the research to make it safer for all of us.