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Old 07-09-2008, 04:26 PM
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track inspection

I have a few questions. First I have a 55 chevy and the exhaust exits under the car in front of rearend and points down. Is this ok? Second I have a fuel cell and am building a firewall behind the rear seat, what a job. I am using 22g and welding it. I have seen the nhra rules and I know I cant have any holes but what is your experience? My question is do I need to take out the speakers on the rear shelf and fill in the holes? If this need to be posted in another place please tell me. The car runs 12.23

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Last edited by tomthecomic; 07-09-2008 at 04:32 PM. Reason: add
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:29 PM
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I would imagine that it all boils down to what your local track inspector says.

I was not allowed to run one night because they said my traction bars were below the scrub line. I disagreed and then let the air out of all 4 tires. No rub but the tech guy still would not let me run.

I had won the money 5 Saturday nights in a row ... and they wanted a NEW winner I guess.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:43 PM
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That will be an inspector call, technically it is not a whole when the area is occupied by the speaker. But the idea is not to have any way for a pesky flame or fuel to get into the cockpit.

Assuming this is a race only car and the speakers are just hanging around not used. The question then becomes how bad do you want to run and do you want to take the chance. For me I would fill it, the bright side sheet metal weighs less then the speakers, how is that for nitpicking? However every inch. and every oz. counts up or down with a track car

I must say I sure read some fantastic stories here ... got to love the net.
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:13 PM
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tom, the idea is that you should be able to stand the car on its nose, fill the trunk area with liquid and not have any run into the driver's compartment. That's the spirit of the rule. Speaker holes in the shelf panel need to be covered. Minimum material thickness 0.024" steel, 0.032" aluminum.

There isn't a drag race car on the planet that will pass the liquid in the trunk test, at least none that I have teched. You can check your work by having a buddy shine a light in the trunk and viewing the bulkhead from the inside of the car. Just do the best you can and it'll pass tech.
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:37 PM
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you are the man

you are the man I need. I covered the rear and the speakers. I used 22g steel welded and then used caulk. I have no light. I put back the rear seat. Will I need to take it out for tech?
Second I have an aluminum cell that has mounting tabs on the floor used grade 8 and I covered the sump with 18g. Do I need straps?
Lastly my exhaust stops before the rear axle and has turndows but is still under the car is that ok?
Thank you!
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomthecomic
you are the man I need. I covered the rear and the speakers. I used 22g steel welded and then used caulk. I have no light. I put back the rear seat. Will I need to take it out for tech?
Second I have an aluminum cell that has mounting tabs on the floor used grade 8 and I covered the sump with 18g. Do I need straps?
Lastly my exhaust stops before the rear axle and has turndows but is still under the car is that ok?
Thank you!
You shouldn't need to remove the seat for tech inspection. Any inspector that's worth a hoot can see the material by looking from the trunk side unless he's just trying to be a d*ck.

There is nothing in the rulebook about having straps on an aluminum cell, but if you stop to think about it, it's not just about meeting the rules, it's also about your safety and the safety of the guy in the other lane and the spectators. I don't know what size cell you have. If it's a smaller size, up to 5 gallons or so, I wouldn't worry too much about straps. But if you have a 15 or 20 gallon cell, you might think about fabricating some straps for it. Gasoline weighs about 6 lbs per gallon, so 15 gallons will weigh about 90 lbs. I also don't know the mph of your car, but it won't have to be all that fast to encounter a 50g stop against the guard rail or other immoveable object. Under those conditions, 50 times 90 means that the fuel weighs 4,500 lbs. I can guarantee that if you roll the car, the doors, hood and trunk lid are comin' off. What are the chances that those little tabs are going to secure the cell in the car under that kind of stress, with no trunk lid to slow it down? Like I said, it ain't in the rulebook. All you can do is let your common sense be your guide. If you do decide to fashion straps, use some kind of material between the straps and the tank to prevent fretting of the aluminum due to movement and vibration.

You didn't really need to cover the sump. I know it says to in the rulebook, but the rule was intended for poly cells, where a rock or other debris thrown up off the track surface by the tires could puncture the plastic and create a "situation". It's absolutely ok to leave it on. Just added protection and that's a good thing.

The only applicable verbage in the rulebook about the exhaust is that it must be directed away from the driver and fuel tank and you've got that covered so you're ok. Several years ago, it used to say away from the track surface, but that has since been removed from the rules.

Thank you very much for your apparent concern with compliance with the rules. You are the kind of racer who makes my job easy. I'm very lucky to have a great many racers of your type at my home track.

I will be pleased to address any and all questions you or others have about drag strip safety and adherance to the rules. Kite me a PM so I know where to look for your questions.

Richard Moore
SFI Silver Certified Technical Inspector (# S-86)

P.S. I'll share with you a little bit about human nature that I have picked up over my 66 years on this rock. If you'll lead the tech inspector back to the trunk IN AN EXCITED MANNER as soon as he shows up at your car and explain to him that you put the bulkhead in with the seat out and that your buddy shined a strong light from the trunk area and you could see no light from the interior of the car and that the trunk area would hold liquid with the nose of the car down and the car up against the guard rail because you caulked all the cracks ........I think you see where I'm headed with this. Be excited about your work and the fact that it exceeds the rule. Also draw his attention to the other things you have done that exceed the rules. Unless this guy is dead from the neck up, you will have made a favorable impression on him. It's just human nature to get excited by someone who is excited. Get his name, introduce yourself, look him in the eye and shake his hand. Ask if he can tech your car every time you show up. If you make a friend in this manner, he'll tell the other inspectors and you'll glide through inspection during subsequent visits to that strip. He'll know that he can trust you and your car. It's just human nature.

Last edited by techinspector1; 07-13-2008 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:05 AM
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thank you

I really appreciate your post. It has been hard to get good info. I contacted the NHRA told them exactly what I was doing and all I got was the rule book quoted back to me. Thank you.
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:18 AM
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I've been away from drag racing for several years, except as a spectator, and know rules have changed in a lot of aspects.

I'd just like to know, what is the necessity of a trunk-mounted fuel cell in a car that runs 12's? Would it not save a lot of time and work to just use the stock tank? Or are cells mandatory now? Or, could you not mount a small fuel cell in the stock tank location, out of the interior of the car?
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:45 PM
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well, i MY case it was cheaper to buy a cell than buy a new tankl for a rambler.....
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Old 07-13-2008, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalesy
I've been away from drag racing for several years, except as a spectator, and know rules have changed in a lot of aspects.

I'd just like to know, what is the necessity of a trunk-mounted fuel cell in a car that runs 12's? Would it not save a lot of time and work to just use the stock tank? Or are cells mandatory now? Or, could you not mount a small fuel cell in the stock tank location, out of the interior of the car?
It is not necessary to use a cell. The stock tank is fine on any drag car and usually will not be replaced until there is back half work on the car unless, as in tom's case, you need to replace the stock tank for some other reason. Some of the fellows who use their cars for street and drag will mount a small 1-2 gallon cell up front under the hood and fill it with racing gas or alcohol. That way, for instance, they can turn the turbo boost down for running on pump gas on the street, then switch to the better fuel and turn the boost up for the drags.

One other point I'll make about cells. On a poly cell, run a 12ga ground wire from one of the fill ring nuts to the chassis or a reinforced point on the unibody structure that you have cleaned the paint off of to ground the cell. This is not necessary on an aluminum or other metal cell because it is grounded off the main body of the cell at the mounting tabs. You may encounter an over-zealous inspector who insists that you run a ground wire on a metal cell. Don't argue with him, just agree with him and do it. It won't hurt anything and he'll be happy. Again, it's human nature. If you try to explain to him that he's wrong, you'll just make an enemy who will be gunning for you at your next visit to that track because you will have embarassed him.

Last edited by techinspector1; 07-13-2008 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 07-13-2008, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by techinspector1
It is not necessary to use a cell. The stock tank is fine on any drag car and usually will not be replaced until there is back half work on the car unless, as in tom's case, you need to replace the stock tank for some other reason. Some of the fellows who use their cars for street and drag will mount a small 1-2 gallon cell up front under the hood and fill it with racing gas or alcohol. That way, for instance, they can turn the turbo boost down for running on pump gas on the street, then switch to the better fuel and turn the boost up for the drags.

One other point I'll make about cells. On a poly cell, run a 12ga ground wire from one of the fill ring nuts to the chassis or a reinforced point on the unibody structure that you have cleaned the paint off of to ground the cell. This is not necessary on an aluminum or other metal cell because it is grounded off the main body of the cell at the mounting tabs. You may encounter an over-zealous inspector who insists that you run a ground wire on a metal cell. Don't argue with him, just agree with him and do it. It won't hurt anything and he'll be happy. Again, it's human nature. If you try to explain to him that he's wrong, you'll just make an enemy who will be gunning for you at your next visit to that track because you will have embarassed him.

hey, mine doesn't have any metal on it aside from an fittings.
what's a guy do in this case?
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Old 07-13-2008, 07:53 PM
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Tom, this is excerpted from your post #5......
"I have an aluminum cell that has mounting tabs on the floor"

Those are the tabs I'm referring to. Are you now saying that there are no mounting tabs on your cell?
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Old 07-13-2008, 08:50 PM
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Techinsspector1, there's two different Tom's in this thread.
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:14 PM
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Tom, I hope you don't mind if I slide a question into your thread from another board contributor. Your thread title is just perfect and we may as well keep it going. I received it on PM, but will share it with all......

"Recently we were told by another racer(we haven't been to track yet this year) that we cannot run a 165/R15 metric passenger car radial (118mph T speed rating) after doing so for several years. Were told we have to run a "frontrunner" drag tire but they are all bias ply and we are running MT Drag radials(treaded) on the rear. Car might run 130 mph at best and is street driven 1967 Elky. MT says(like everyone) not to mix bias and radials on same car, but no one offers a radial frontrunner. IHRA rule book says "automotive use tire" but no requirements until you get to Pro classes. I researched speed ratings and a tire has to run 10 MINUTES at speed with no permanent damage to get its rating, we are looking at 1 1/2 SECONDS in this application. Are tech inspecters allowed to go outside the rulebook any time they feel like??( No disrespect intended, just trying to get real info) As a side note, techs at this track have a reputation for being A-Holes about stuff that isn't in the book. Thanks for your time.

There are sanctioning body rules, such as the IHRA rulebook and the NHRA rulebook outline and then there are track rules which the track management institutes for whatever reason. Perhaps there was an "incident" in the past which cost the track some money and management intends to see that it will never happen again. We have a track rule in effect that requires a currently legal helmet in any convertible at any speed. It's not in the rulebook, but it is enforced as a track rule. Unfortunately, there are also rogue tech inspector rules which may or may not be known to track management. These are made up in the minds of inspectors who should be doing something else besides inspecting cars. Again, it's human nature. Some individuals realize that they have the power to say whether you race or not and it goes to their head. Then there are the special cases, such as outlined by Deuce in post #2 of this thread. Several years ago, the Operations Manager came to me and instructed me to "find something wrong" with a certain car. It wasn't that hard to do with this particular car, because it was a rag anyway. So I cited infractions and the owner trailered up and left. I would have found an infraction even if it had been a nice car because I've been doing this for 50 years and there isn't a car out there that I can't find something wrong with.

So, back to your question. Yes, inspectors can come up with rules that are not in the book. You have to determine though, if this is a track rule or just something that this troglodyte has conjured up in his mind. I'd begin by finding out who the ultimate authority is at the track and contacting him/her for a ruling. If there is no such rule in place, note the manager's name and the date and time of your conversation so that you can be armed with the information on your next visit to the track. If there is such a rule in place, it will probably do no good to argue about the mixing of bias ply and radial tires. Maybe they had a blowout on a radial that wasn't rated for the speed of the car and are now goosy about insurance risk. Oh, and just so the rest of you know, there is no ruling in the NHRA rulebook about speed rating of tires.

Either way, it's their track and they're gonna enforce the rules the way they see fit. Personally, I wouldn't worry about mixing radials and bias ply tires on the drag strip. You're going in a straight line, not canyon carving at a continuous rate of speed where there could be a handling problem.

This is not something we get too excited about at our track until the car is chassis certed and the driver has a comp license. Then, we know the car is going 9.99 or quicker and competition tires are a must. There is only one case I can remember involving tires where I trailered a car. It was a FED (front-engine dragster) that was capable of going 170 mph. I looked at the front tires and couldn't believe my eyes. He was running Cheng Shin Moped tires on the car. I said "Pardner, these tires are not meant to be run at seventy miles an hour, much less a HUNDRED and seventy miles an hour". Outta here! Now, just so you don't think I got power mad and made up a rule on the spot, there is a rule that requires the steel spokes to be minumum 0.100" diameter. He was running the Moped wheels also, spoke diameter 0.080" according to my dial caliper.

Last edited by techinspector1; 07-13-2008 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 07-13-2008, 10:49 PM
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Thanks for the info Inspector, at least I know the proper way to approach the track manager rather than get irate with the tech man. This has the stench of a power happy troglodyte as the tire "rule" was pointed at a racer taking home money several times a month with his low 10 second street car. Everything was fine until he started winning and we were guessing the tech mans not so good bracket buddies put a bee in his bonnet whining about it.
Would getting the national sanctioning body(IHRA) involved help or hurt??
Or do they have no power in this??
We have also had racers given a bye with 12 cars left, then told he couldn't have the bye at 3 cars left even though he was closest to his dial in previous round because he "already had a bye" in this race. The guy is 6'6"" and 320 lbs and darn near rolled a few heads that night, he had won the last two weekends. Sorry for the long rant.
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