NHRA NITRO DRIVERS FORM SAFETY COMMITTEE INDIANAPOLIS (August 27, 2008) -- The professional drivers who make up the top two classes on the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) POWERade tour, have established a new Drivers' Safety Committee,...
NHRA NITRO DRIVERS FORM SAFETY COMMITTEE
INDIANAPOLIS (August 27, 2008) -- The professional drivers who make up the top two classes on the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) POWERade tour, have established a new Drivers' Safety Committee, which will analyze key safety issues that confront the teams participating in the Top Fuel and Nitro Funny Car classes. The committee plans to work closely with the Professional Racers/Owners Organization (PRO) and its President, Kenny Bernstein, to maintain an on-going focus on driver safety and an open dialogue with NHRA regarding the possible implementation of new policies.
As part of the committee's formation, the professional nitro class drivers have elected Bob Vandergriff Jr. to the position of Chairman, while also naming Larry Dixon as the Top Fuel representative, and Ron Capps as the representative for the Funny Car drivers. Dixon and Capps are charged with gathering input from the drivers in their respective groups, while the committee as a whole will prioritize the various issues facing the 300-mph, nitro-fueled classes.
"We plan to work very closely with Kenny and the entire PRO organization, who have accomplished countless numbers of great things for our sport, many of which have gone unnoticed," said Vandergriff, after accepting the position of Chairman for the group. "PRO has a wide variety of responsibilities, and we thought it would be best for all of the drivers in the sport's two fastest classes to have a unified voice as we go forward. All of us want to make the sport as safe as it can be, and the drivers who strap into these Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars have the most at stake when it comes to accomplishing that.
"By coming together as a group, really for the first time, we'll be able to focus on what the most immediate and most important issues are, and then work closely with PRO and NHRA to see what we can do about instituting any changes that might be necessary. Over the years, we've always shared our opinions and ideas when we're out of our cars, but by getting together in a more formal way, with three drivers representing the whole contingent, we can have that unified voice. By working with PRO and NHRA, we can all make the sport better and safer, and I know everyone cares deeply about that."
Funny Car drivers Del Worsham and Capps were instrumental in creating the foundation for the committee, by originally convening a meeting of the nitro class drivers at the Sonoma race, in late July. After the tragic death of Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta, in June, the subject of driver safety took on an all-new sense of urgency, and it was Worsham and Capps who organized the initial gathering and a subsequent meeting in Reading, Pa. The group collectively decided to move forward with an election for representatives, and that vote was concluded this week.
Vandergriff, Dixon, and Capps plan to move quickly to present their initial plans and recommendations to PRO at this week's upcoming Mac Tools US Nationals, in Indianapolis.