DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY EXTENDS DRAG RACING INVOLVEMENT
Over the last two decades, the National Hot Rod Associations Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has been in contact with the Department of Homeland Security over the use and availability of nitromethane. This communication was largely due to the fact convicted terrorist Timothy McVeigh used nitromethane purchased at an NHRA event as an ingredient of the bomb which blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, Ok.
Thursday at the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield, Ca., the dialogue opened to include the NHRA Heritage Series and its participants and Cacklefest cars.
The reason for the meeting, NHRA's Josh Peterson confirmed, was to reenforce the regulations established with the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series contestants and suppliers.
"Department of Homeland Security has regulations as to how much nitro you can have if you don’t want to have to go through the screening process," Peterson said. "They set a limit of 400 pounds, which is about 42 gallons, that any one person can have in the pit. Very similar to what we do at the national events. When they do the deliveries, they deliver 400 pounds to each pit to prevent them from having to be, each individual team, to be screened."
Rumors ran rampant suggesting the Cacklefest cars were limited to the 42 gallons for the entire event. Such is not the case, confirmed Peterson.
"They can get more, that’s not a problem," Peterson explained. "They go to the supplier, and they get some more. But really what Homeland Security wants to do is just make sure that it’s regulated and it’s not getting into anybody's hands that it shouldn’t get into the hands of to prevent what happened in Oklahoma City. They have regulations and guidelines, and they’re just going through the process of trying to educate everybody on what those regulations are, so they and we can all protect nitro and keep doing and enjoying what everybody wants to do - race their cars, cackle their cars, and putting on good shows."
Peterson confirmed there are annual meetings at the start of each season to ensure all involved are kept abreast of the regulations. He said it's the NHRA's goal to be a good steward in this area.
"Right now they’re trying to educate everybody on the regulations," Peterson said. "I’m sure they’ll do some more training and more meetings. We’ve offered Department of Homeland Security to come to our track operating meetings that we do in the offseason in each of the seven divisions. And we’re not the only ones they’re talking to. They’re talking to other organizations as well that they know use nitromethane, so it’s not just us.
"If you want to say they’re picking on us, they’re not. We spoke to [Homeland Security] earlier this week in Washington D.C.; they laid out who they’re talking to and why, and it’s all for good."