It’s a safety mandate whose time has certainly come, and in 2015 the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series and the Professional Drag Racers Association will be requiring racers to install a new roof panel above the drivers compartment in an effort to double-up on safety in the event of rollover crashes.
The move to require the panel in the car is a move to prevent injuries to the driver — particularly their arms and hands — when a race car gets upside down and sheds the carbon fiber or fiberglass body, leaving the drivers fully exposed to the elements above them. Such an occurrence played out in 2013, when NHRA Pro Mod racer Adam Flamholc crashed in St. Louis. In that incident, the body of Flamholc’s Dodge Daytona was torn away in the initial impact, before the proceeded to turn side-over-side more than ten full revolutions. Video of the crash showed Flamholc’s arm protruding from the top of the chassis, and bone breaks in his hand and arm were proof that there had to be a better way.
As the NHRA Pro Mod rule amendment states:
An additional panel(s) of .032-inch aluminum, or .024-inch steel, or carbon fiber must be installed in the roll cage roof area. The panel(s) must, at a minimum, extend from the driver’s side roof bar to the centerline of the vehicle. The panel(s) in the Funny Car cage area must be removable for proper chassis certification inspection.
The PDRA amendment, which pertains to the Pro Extreme, Pro Nitrous, and Pro Boost classes, in nearly a word-for-word mirror of the NHRA mandate, but does however provide a caveat that all chassis built prior to 2015 are extended a 12-month grace period, but must comply by 2016.
Tim McAmis Race Cars, one of the premier builders with the NHRA and PDRA, set out to work right away to satisfy the rule amendments from the two series and developed a carbon fiber panel that installs cleanly in their chassis using a series of clamps. The product — which McAmis himself walks us through the installation of in the video you see here — is available through the Tim McAmis Performance Parts catalog for any and all racers to order. Because while the rule is certainly aimed at the upper echelon of fast doorslammer racing, one can never be too safe, and just such a thing can add a degree of safety to any door car; whether it has a composite body and runs 200 miles per hour or not.
For more information on Tim McAmis Race Cars and their Performance Parts division, visit them on the web at timmcamis.com.