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DATE News (chronologically)
07/11/08
nhra
NHRA announces safety task force
NHRA has announced the members of its safety task force created to investigate, analyze and determine ways to implement the initiatives recently outlined by NHRA to continue to enhance safety. 

The current task force is made up of NHRA officials and Top Fuel and Funny Car crew chiefs and conducted its first conference call among its members earlier this week.

The task force is headed up by Dan Olson, NHRA director of top fuel and funny car racing.  He is joined by: Austin Coil, crew chief for John Force Racing; Jim Head, Funny Car driver/crew chief; Alan Johnson, crew chief for the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster; Jon Oberhofer, crew chief for the Doug Kalitta-driven Top Fuel dragster; Mark Oswald, co-crew chief on Melanie Troxel's Funny Car; and Tim Wilkerson, Funny Car driver/crew chief.  Other representatives from NHRA and the Professional Racers Owners Organization (PRO) will also participate.

"This task force provides a more structured process for NHRA, together with crew chiefs within the racing community, to tackle emerging technical issues and find solutions to build upon the sport's long standing safety record," said Graham Light, senior vice president of racing operations, NHRA. NHRA has convened similar groups in the past and NHRA continually works with teams and the racing community on various safety and performance-related issues.

Among the issues currently under discussion are: 1) what may be done to reduce engine failures; 2) parachute mounting techniques and materials as well as identifying a parachute material that could be more fire resistant; 3) exploring whether there is a way to increase brake efficiency when cars lose downforce due to the loss of the body; 4) analyzing additional methods that might be developed at the top end of the race track to help arrest runaway vehicles; and 5) considering whether current speeds should be further limited or reduced to potentially improve safety.

In addition to the task force, NHRA is working with other motorsports sanctioning bodies, outside consultants and experts within and outside the motorsports world to investigate ways to address the recently announced safety initiatives.

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