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Safe & Sound: Part 2 Rollcage Install
Our Amsoil SEMA Stang gets closer to becoming 9-second race legal
When it comes to safety on the dragstrip, the NHRA and IHRA are the governing bodies in the U.S. Most dragstrips, as a result, follow and enforce the rules of one of these associations. Some "outlaw" tracks exist, but their numbers are limited. There are many safety concerns when drag racing, but few are as predominant as rollbars and rollcages.
As your Stang project evolves and gets quicker, a 'cage install is always a factor. Some people don't want to rip the interior out of their car to install a six-point rollbar. Others are more concerned with cutting the dash to accept a 10-point rollcage. Either way, it is a huge factor when deciding if you want to go quicker and faster (legally) on the dragstrip.
But for those who decide it's worth all the work, money, or whatever resources are necessary to make their Mustang legal, the benefits are many. The main (obvious) benefit is safety. The rules are written and enforced to keep drag racing fun and safe for everyone. And in return, the sport can remain a part of American car culture and an economic stimulant for the communities in which it exists.
Another benefit is chassis stiffness. Especially for the Fox and SN-95 chassis, but also for S197 cars, the added rigidity provided by a rollcage can help prevent detrimental chassis flex and improve launches. Times will be more consistent and suspension adjustments more precise.
But what if you don't want to install a rollbar or rollcage? You're just out of luck, right? Well, not exactly. The NHRA just released its rulebook changes for 2013, and one of the changes reads like this:
"Additionally requirements and specifications for Street Legal are the same as those for the Summit Racing Series with the following exception: Unaltered 2008 OEM model year and newer production cars running slower than 9.99 and 135 mph do not have to meet the requirements and specifications for the Summit Racing Series except for the following: Convertibles and T-tops must meet Summit Racing Series Rollbar and Roll Cage requirements, All drivers must meet the Summit Racing Series Helmet and Protective Clothing requirements."
In other words, if you have an '08-or-newer Mustang that is unaltered (like a GT500), you can go as quick as 10.00 at 134.99 mph without a rollbar. You must still wear a helmet, though. At any rate, safety is paramount, and the NHRA and IHRA are always tweaking the rules to better suit the needs of the racers, while keeping safety in the forefront.
Our Amsoil SEMA Stang is on its way to being legal. The whole 'cage is tacked in, and we're ready to do the final welding. Next month, we'll also add a window net, a battery cut-off, and rollbar padding.
Especially for the Fox and SN-95 chassis, but also for S197 cars, the added rigidity provided by a rollcage can help prevent detrimental chassis flex and improve launches.