Up until now, rules laid out by the National Hot Rod Association required any car that was capable of running the quarter mile in less than 10 seconds to have a roll cage. That means a sturdy set of metal tubes welded together to internally brace the interior of a vehicle, thereby making it safer in the event of a serious crash. As of today, however, that rule has been altered to allow for faster street-legal cars to compete.
Vehicles like the Dodge Demon, Tesla’s Model S and X Plaid, Chevy Corvette ZR1, Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 and possibly some other Hellcat-badged or supercar competitors may have been too fast to legally compete at NHRA-sanctioned drag racing events, depending on the driver’s ability and determination. The revised NHRA rules (spotted by The Drive) state:
2014 and newer OEM model-year production cars to run as quick as 9.00-seconds and/or 150-mph (5.65-eighth mile). In addition, racers with 2008-2013 OEM model-year cars will still be permitted to run as quickly as 10.00-seconds and/or 135-mph (6.40-eighth mile).
The rules do stipulate that the car’s factory safety equipment has to be installed and operational, including things like the brakes and airbags, and that DOT-approved tires are fitted. Drivers will have to have the appropriate competition license to race, and convertibles and cars with T-tops have different regulations. Stickers celebrating the racing accomplishments will be offered.
“At NHRA, we very much support their commitment to performance and recognize that there is still a very large market for performance cars,” Lonnie Grim, NHRA National Tech Director, said in a statement. “At the same time, we acknowledge that NHRA needs to keep pace with the current trends, which is why we’ve announced these rules adjustments.”