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Chute info taken from woody crash thread!


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#1 Bret Kepner

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 05:18 PM

Shutdown distance FYI:

Havana, IL: 1560 feet

(Track Record: 3.86/174)

George Ray's: 1540 feet

(TR: 4.84)

Sikeston: 1330 feet

(TR: 3.61/215)

Charleston, IL: 1280 feet

(TR: 3.78/197)

Benton, IL: 1180 feet

(TR: 3.94/173)

Benton, MO: 1040 feet

(TR: 4.71/158)

There are plenty of tracks with less than 1000 feet of shutdown with track records under 4.00.

Do you people do ANY research on the tracks you attend? :chairshot:

I wish Bellman would've read the thread on STLMustangs about the "extra 66 feet"! :rotflmao:
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#2 stickcar1990

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 10:46 AM

its funny you should say that. while packin it (PARACHUTE) saturday nite, my hand slipped off the ratchet and i cracked my mouth open and knocked a tooth loose. oj needs to hire somebody else for that shit. lol.

and yes we did research it a bit bret. "short shutdown" and "best hookin track you'll ever go to". only half of that was true staurday nite. if every car could match the track record safely, they wouldnt have shortened the fuelers to a 1000'.

the weather played hell on the track, and the crew did do what they could to make it work. i guess it prolly comes down to racin in october more than anything. we had a blast, but a 3300lb car goin through at 130+? its not even my car and i didnt feel safe. just my .02, bash away :popcorn: :laugh2:

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#3 Bret Kepner

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 02:15 PM

if every car could match the track record safely, they wouldnt have shortened the fuelers to a 1000'.


Wrong. If every car could match the track record safely, nobody would pay to watch! :rotflmao:

while packin it (PARACHUTE) saturday nite, my hand slipped off the ratchet and i cracked my mouth open and knocked a tooth loose.


Welcome to the world of 'chute packing. Everybody has eaten the pilot chute or the launch spring....myself included. :popcorn:

If a car running 5.80 goes off the end but another guy running 5.08 stops before the sand, you can't blame the track. I'm not even gonna talk about the many 4-second "heavy cars" I've seen stop easily at Benton....some without a 'chute.

There's a lot to be said for following your gut and not running on a track which "feels" unsafe". However, drag racers are all idiots, (myself included), so I'm going to give you the same speech I give when I work with fast cars when I'm a "substitute teacher" at Roy Hill's Drag Racing School. I can't force you to learn this stuff over the IntraWeb but, when you're in front of me at the School, you'll do it over and over until you learn it.



Just because the rules require you to put a parachute on your car doesn't mean you have any idea how to use it. The proper method for racing a car (of any weight) on a short track are the same as the proper method for racing a car (of any weight) on a long track. There are no differences between the two approaches.

Within twenty-five feet of the car passing the finish line, the driver should be on the brakes and/or the parachute should be fully blossomed.

Note that I didn't say the 'chute should be coming out of the pack twenty-five feet after the stripe. I said it sould be FULLY BLOSSOMED. The majority of "street car"/"outlaw"/10.5 racers, (and I see an awful lot of them all over the country throughout the year), still have the pin solidly in the 'chute pack a hundred feet (or more) after the finish line. Why? Because they have no idea what they're doing. That's why. Don't believe me? Go down to the finish line and watch your driver. If you're the driver, have somebody videotape your runs from the stripe. I guarantee you'll find out you're setting yourself up for death.

Since (nearly) all dragstrips have a finite amount of shutdown area, it's the driver's job to efficiently use all of it. The objective is to set yourself up to efficiently use not only the maximum amount of distance but also the minimum amount should things go wrong. In other words, the car should be slowing from the moment it crosses the finish line, (or within the aforementioned twenty-five feet after the stripe), so that you can take full advantage of the available distance. In example, if a track has 1500 feet of shutdown and the driver crosses the stripe, deploys the 'chute and then "lets the car settle down" before beginning to engage the brakes, that driver has just changed a 1500 feet shutdown at 130 mph into an 1100 feet shutdown at 120 mph.

How is this possible? Simple. At 130 mph, the car is travelling 190 feet per second. Two seconds after the stripe, the car has already eaten up nearly 400 feet of the 1500 feet available and it has only lost 10 mph. The car is running at nearly the same speed as at the finish line but has effectively (important word there) lost a third of the stopping area.

The most critical (and hectic) part of racing a fast car is stopping it. I know all of you have watched NHRA Pro Stock racers on TV who have the pilot 'chute coming out of the pack almost a hundred feet before the finish line. They're running on a 2700-feet (average) shutdown but, at 300 feet per second, they'll lose a quarter of their stopping distance in two seconds, too.

The process of stopping a fast car begins long before the stripe. The driver must release the pilot 'chute roughly one full second before the car crosses the stripe in order to compensate for the time eaten up by the driver actually making the release, the 'chute coming out of the pack and the 'chute blossoming. As for braking, the driver's foot should be off the throttle at the stripe, (which means he must begin the process of taking his foot off before the stripe), and he should be easing into the brakes within twenty-five feet after the finish line. "Easing" is a key word here; hydraulic braking efficiency is a product of uniform friction application achieved by consistent pressure.

In other words, everything you need to accomplish to stop the car should be FINISHED by the time the car crosses the stripe. PERIOD.

It takes practice to learn when to lift without losing ET and it takes practice to get the 'chute to blossom at exactly the right moment. During any test session, you should be working on multiple problems. This is one of 'em that doesn't affect your sixty-feet ET or your shift points. Every test pass should also be used to learn how to stop the thing.

Most of the "street cars" about which we're talking have problems inherent to poor planning. None of you are using 'chute cannons so you rely on the 'chute blossoming after it has fallen onto the ground and rolled around for a while. I'd venture to say none of you have ever learned (or asked) how to properly pack a 'chute, which makes it open even more slowly. If you're using a 'chute release mounted somewhere other than on the steering wheel, you may as well subtract another hundred and fifty feet or so off the shutdown distance.

I know for a fact that many of you are hestitant to really get on the brakes on your own car because you simply don't trust them after having the car get squirrelly in the shutdown when it was running two seconds slower than it is now. If you're running 150 mph with a 125 mph brake system, buy your coffin now. One of the most common routes to a massive FAIL is to build a fast car without regard to stopping it. A 'chute is an "assistance system"; brakes are the main mode of stopping. If the 'chute fails, you should still be able to stop or, at the very least, hit the sand at a low rate of speed. If the brakes fail and the 'chutes work, you'll hit the beach at 90 instead of 130.

You all know how frustrated I get when folks start bitching about having to mount a 'chute or how "real street cars don't have 'chutes" and all the other kindergarten crap that comes up. But, damn it, if you want to know how critical and serious this stuff really is then just ask Hook -N-Ladder what it's like to run 130 at have NOTHING to stop you or ask Bellman what it's like to almost die.

Seriously. Ask Bellman if it's worth having the right equipment and knowing how to use it.

Otherwise, when you decide to head for a track you already know is short and you either don't have the equipment needed or don't know how to properly use the equipment you have, just tell your friends you're going racing but you might not come back.

It's the same damned thing.
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#4 Bret Kepner

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 04:23 PM

I really didn't direct that note at anybody in particular. If I start getting specific, people stop listening because "it ain't about them".

The reason a cannon launcher is so critical on "street cars" is twofold. First, the cars are barely getting enough air to inflate the 'chute at 150 mph, (or 120-130 in the eighth), so the 'chute needs to get to the airstream as quickly as possible rather than just falling onto the pavement and rolling around until enough air from UNDER the car opens it up. Second, the aerodynamics on "street cars" are so horrific that there's very little air going to the back of the car, anway, (especially on notchback Mustangs!).

Don't believe me? Crumple up a piece of paper and lay it on your rear deck or spoiler. Stand ten feet in front of the car with a nitrous bottle (nozzle aimed at the grille, hood or windshield) or a high-pressure air hose, (aimed at the same places), and try to knock the paper off the rearend.

It can't be done. :rotflmao:

This is why a common cause of top-end crashes is the 'chute falling on the ground, going under the wheelie bars, catching air from underneath, blossoming and lifting the rearend off the ground because the shroud lines are under the bars. That's why they make "wheelie bar nets". That's also why almost all professional category cars have them.

You can see if your wing is getting any air at all by using the century-old "paint dot" technique. Put a drop of temper paint on the spoiler just before a run and see if the wind moves it by checking the dot after the run. This is a staple of aero testing.

Spoilers and wings on any kind of production sedan or coupe do nothing. Most get no air pressure to them at all unless the car spins and heads backward. This is why NHRA Pro Stock bodies are so drastically recontoured despite the class being for "stock cars". They have to manage the air to get it over the roof to the back deck for downforce. Even so, they STILL need 'chute cannons to get the 'chutes out into the airflow.

The objective of a cannon is not to blast the 'chute straight up, (you'd have to get it five feet over the roof to hit clean air on a street car), but to shoot it back out past the airflow dropping off the spoiler or decklid.

By the way, one guy on this board who could really enlighten everybody on this subject, (and the subject of seeing God on a pass), is Dan Saitz, (aka Wheelie). Hopefully, he'll add some thoughts.
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#5 Bret Kepner

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 08:18 PM

Here's a question for which I'd love an answer.

If you have a 'chute on the car, why in the hell wouldn't you use it on every pass?

WARNING: The response, "It's too much trouble to pack" is an answer which will immediately mark you as an idiot.

NOTE: If you are running fast enough to be required to have a 'chute, you MUST use it every pass. This isn't a situation in which you have an option.

By the way, if you occasionally run on short, bumpy tracks, do what every SERIOUS fast doorslammer driver in the world does. Use two 'chutes.

...or give me a good reason to use only one when your life is at stake.
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#6 Bret Kepner

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 05:39 PM

Before this thread dies, I need to reiterate one really, really important point about 'chutes at NHRA tracks:

NOTE: If you are running fast enough to be required to have a 'chute, you MUST use it every pass. This isn't a situation in which you have an option.

If you run over 149.99 mph and don't pull it, Big Al can pitch you right outta there...and you KNOW he WILL.
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#7 Bret Kepner

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:05 PM

Here's an addendum to the "Dead 'Chute Thread".

I recently received a PM from a racer which presents a valid point:

I've been to several Tuesday night SCSS events and not ONCE have I seen anyone pull their chute.


Here's my response:

Yeah, it's a very arbitrary rule and the lack of enforcement you see at Gateway is consistent at NHRA tracks all over the country. At random National Events, the NHRA will police it for a qualifying or timed trial session but that's about it.

It's simply a matter of manpower. Each track would need one person (or more) to monitor every pass and I don't know of any track willing to do it.

The critical factor, however, is that it IS a rule and, if a racer crashes at over 150 mph without using the 'chute, it's immediately ruled "driver error". This sometimes makes it difficult to collect the NHRA insurance which is only valid under the provisions set in the waiver each driver signs upon entry. Those provisions mandate that the driver admits to following all NHRA rules of construction and conduct. Therefore, it's not necessarily the track's responsibility to enforce the rules. It is, however, the driver's sworn requirement to follow them.

For those who will immediately cry, "That's not FAIR!"....welcome to the adult world. :popcorn:
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#8 Bellman

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 08:51 PM

In 2009 I finally got a chance to race at Benton.. I had heard how short the shut down is, from several different people.. On several different occasions.. So on my first pass I took it easy..

After that first run my thoughts were.. It's not that bad.. Seems like you have plenty of room.. But when I go full throttle, I'm still going to use my chute..

When I made that first full power pass, I hit the chute button right at the stripe.. But the end of the track started to come up so incredibly fast.. I felt a wee bit of panic trying to creep in on me, just before the chute blossomed and started to scrub off speed.. That is one short mother..

Every pass after that, I dropped the chute "BEFORE" the finish line..

Talking about short shut downs.. Check out the video below.. After making one pass on this track, I don't see how these guys had the balls to make another one..


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#9 CrossbonesMotorsports

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 05:14 PM

Your shut down procedure should always include you putting your hand on the chute handle. Even if you don't use it. That way in an emergency your hand will already be there. Now if I could just remember to do that. My chute has never been out. It could be the last guy's dirty laundry all wadded up in there.
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#10 Kirko

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Posted 28 January 2012 - 01:26 AM

Quality, FREE, information in this that should be re-read with the track opening up again soon. My $.02.
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