8-13-2012 - 8:30 PM - A source within DSR has confirmed with CompetitionPlus.com, the long-awaited approval day has come for the canopy. The enclosed cockpit will run in Brainerd this weekend.
Glen Gray, NHRA’s Vice President, Technical Operations at the NHRA, told Competition Plus.com Wednesday morning he and Tim White, NHRA’s director of engineering, are going to pay a visit to Don Schumacher’s Racing’s shop Aug. 13 in Brownsburg, Ind.
According to Gray, the intent of the visit is to inspect the final production canopy installed on a Top Fuel dragster as it would run in competition.
“If the installed canopy passes this final inspection, it will be permitted for use beginning at Brainerd,” Gray said.
NHRA’s next national event is the Lucas Oil Nationals Aug. 16-19 at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway.
“Cautiously optimistic,” said Mike Green, the crew chief for Tony Schumacher’s U.S. Army dragster, about the canopy getting final approval.
The NHRA Technical Department on July 25 granted conceptual approval of a prototype cockpit canopy submitted by Aerodine Composites Group (Aerodine), a version of a canopy which was originally designed by Don Schumacher Racing (DSR).
DSR tested an innovative fully-enclosed canopy on Tony Schumacher’s dragster at Palm Beach (Fla.) International Raceway Jan. 15-21.
The initial prototype component was reviewed by the NHRA Technical Department and the NHRA Safety Safari. In addition, NHRA contracted Purdue University Center for Systems Integrity (PCSI) to perform an aerodynamic competitive analysis assessment. Based on the assessment from all three entities, several issues and modifications needed to be resolved prior to Aerodine Composites Group submitting the final production component package.
The final aerodynamic competitive analysis assessment utilizing CAD and CFD modeling was completed recently by PCSI. A preliminary analysis revealed that the prototype canopy did create an aerodynamic advantage. Working together, NHRA, DSR, Aerodine and PCSI were able to eliminate the aerodynamic advantage by designing a 0.75-inch wicker bill into the top trailing edge of the canopy.
In addition, among the issues noted during the prototype review was a need for fire hose access. The NHRA Technical Department and NHRA Safety Safari were recently provided samples of four different types of newly designed kick-out panels for fire hose access. The samples were tested at the Mile-High NHRA Nationals July 20-22 in Morrison, Colo., and one was approved for inclusion in the component package.
Additional items, including a reflective canopy fastener, fresh air system and fire bottle are undergoing final approval.
According to Gray, if the canopy does get NHRA’s final approval, the sanctioning body will not make the canopy mandatory for teams to use.
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