NORWALK, Ohio (July 21, 2004) - The IHRA Competition Department announced the approval of nitrous oxide usage on Top Fuel vehicles that currently utilize the non-supercharged combination. This rule will be effective at the upcoming Third Annual ACDelco Canadian Nationals at Toronto Motorsports Park, July 30 - August 1.
"When we allowed the injected combination to compete in Top Fuel, we wanted to see just how much of an impact the initial set of rules would have on increasing their performance levels" said Skooter Peaco, IHRA Director of Race Operations. "There were a handful of guys that wanted to try the injected combination to see if it would be competitive. We now know that, in its current configuration, it is not. The use of nitrous oxide has been in the back of our minds since approving the injected combination to compete in Top Fuel."
"Our initial set of rules was a relaxed version of the traditional set of A-Fuel rules that would permit the use of some of the components from a supercharged Top Fuel car," said Mike Baker, IHRA Director of Competition and Technical Services. "Now at the midway point of the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing Series season, it is clear that the injected fuel combination needs additional elements to be competitive. The use of nitrous oxide, which has been a signature of IHRA over the years, will again be the tool used to create a new era in drag racing."
IHRA was able to review the combination during the Motor City Nationals, where Keith Stark made some test laps for officials in his nitrous oxide-equipped Top Fuel dragster. While the performance levels were in the mid five-second range, officials expect the combination to take some time to realize the full potential.
"No one thought the injected cars would be competitive right away, so I certainly don't expect the teams that add nitrous oxide to really be up to speed before the end of the season," said Peaco. "We are looking at this combination as a work in progress.
"I'm sure the rumor mills will start flying with the same controversies that exist in Pro Modified, but all we really want is to see if this combination is a viable alternative. I hope the nitrous equipped fuel cars don't get any ideas that we should run their blown counterparts at 20% overdrive and weigh 2,700 pounds," laughed Peaco.
"It is going to take some time for the injected teams to figure out how to better utilize the clutch management system with the nitrous to get the cars to perform in the first half of the track," added Baker. "I am pleased that the initial runs with nitrous actually proved to cut down on the amount of parts damage compared to a normal run. The nitrous helps to keep all the cylinders firing properly, which has always been the big challenge for the injected cars. We will have to take another look at how this combination has developed once we get to the World Finals in Rockingham."
In January, IHRA announced the inclusion of injected nitro dragsters, A-Fuel dragsters, into Top Fuel competition. The combination has competed with varying success. On July 17 during the Motor City Nationals at Milan Dragway, Keith Stark, a veteran A-Fuel competitor, ran the injected-combination with nitrous oxide and produced a 5.427-second elapsed time at 267.80 mph.