The NHRA Has Made A Ruling On Funny Car Headers: Here’s Why You Look Dumb If You Freak Out

The NHRA Has Made A Ruling On Funny Car Headers: Here’s Why You Look Dumb If You Freak Out


It has been announced that NHRA officials have put a cap on the angle that nitro funny car teams can lean their header pipes back. Lots of people are freaking out about this and we think it is because the situation has not exactly been clearly laid out. Here’s the deal.

It was last year when Jimmy Prock and the Infinite Hero funny car crew started making modifications to their headers along with other aspects of the car and making massive strides in funny car performance. All of a sudden records were being blown to pieces week after week and it did not take other teams long to figure out what at least one of the changes was. With some 800lbs of thrust per pipe being unleashed as the car is powering down the track, laying the headers back to take advantage of the thrust the engine produces really made a difference. So in the true spirit of drag racing, if a little is good, more must be better.

From that point forward the headers have been leaning more and more to the point where physically there really isn’t anywhere left to go. See, when the headers get leaned back they also have to be moved in towards the body. This has resulted in a fun new trend in funny car which is the header burn replacement decal. Teams now stock cutouts of their wraps that can cover the spots where said wraps are being burned off the body. It is a new cost of doing business.

THE NHRA DID NOT STAND THE HEADERS BACK UP. What they did was tell teams that they cannot go further back from where they are. This is actually the best possible scenario in this case because there WERE TEAMS LOBBYING to get the headers put back to where they were before. Drivers, real funny car drivers, like Ron Capps were furious at the thought of this. The cars have become exponentially more difficult to drive and he’s loving it. He along with all of the other guys and girls who truly enjoy the challenge of wrestling these cars down the track at 300mph. Not everyone does. Funny cars are no longer the “slot cars” that they were for many years.

When cars lose a hole with the headers in their current state, they become a real handful. You have and will continue to see the results of this in the coming days, weeks, months, etc. Tough stuff.

Now, what about the old angle headers? Believe it or not, most teams are now stocking multiple sets of angle headers in their trailer and will use different headers for different track/race conditions. Yes, the headers themselves are now another tuning element of the cars. Is the track awesome and the air good? Bolt on the rocket boosters, grandma we’re going for ice cream! Is the track a 140-degree grease pit with swap ass air? You need the help the more vertical pipes give you to push the car into the ground.

So….before you go mental and freak out that the big, bad NHRA has once again sucked the soul out of drag racing and wrecked everything, understand that they did not. Even the guys who have been laying these things way, way back are happy about this decision. One prominent crew chief told me point blank in Chicago, “They have to do something because we’ll keep going until they tell us to stop.”

Well boys, stop. The 32-degree angle is as far as the rules makers are going to allow the pipes to go back.

(Full disclosure: I am an announcer for NHRA. They had no input in this story.)


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14 thoughts on “The NHRA Has Made A Ruling On Funny Car Headers: Here’s Why You Look Dumb If You Freak Out

  1. Scott Brown

    Glad they didn’t bring the Angle back up! Now…if the rule makers would just stay away from pro mod cars for awhile .

  2. crazy canuck

    More is better bigger is better . Racers , give them an foot they will take 1320 .Somebody has to draw the line cause the racers won’t

  3. Bryan Nelson

    Well here we go again…
    ” Believe it or not, most teams are now stocking multiple sets of angle headers in their trailer and will use different headers for different track/race conditions. Yes, the headers themselves are now another tuning element of the cars.”
    … Once again NHRA is supportive of something that again puts an under-budgeted team at a disadvantage and give the mega-budget teams another way to spend their way into the quarter finals.
    When are they going to do something to make teams/drivers like Jeff Diehl, Terry Haddock,etc… able to compete by limiting the avenues to spend even more money for an advantage over the small budget teams. On the Driver listing page shows 25+ FC drivers… yet can’t get a full 16 car field. I really wish NHRA would figure out how to help out the other guys and Not turn this into the Team Force vs Team Schumacher funny car show.

  4. Powerstroke

    I say let them play. When the front end lifts off like the Saturn 5 at the hit of the throttle they’ll back off. I’m sure the guy who built the square wheel said to the guy with the round wheel “Sure it rolls easier but how ya going to get it to stop”? Innovation knows no rules or limits. Plus when a hole goes out and you have to “DRIVE IT” , now that’s racing. My 2 cents.

  5. Mike Rammelt

    Hey Brian, straight to the point, like your All Access commentary BTW.

    Heres a thought, what about moving the pipe outlet forward in the body to just behind the wheel arch. This would have more leverage in keeping the front down.
    Another suggestion would be to allow downforce aero to the front.
    I think the NHRA should look at the Pro Mods too and allow my above suggestions to be implemented there too.

    Perth WA.

    1. Brian

      Having been shown data graphs of cars that have actually lifted themselves off the ground when experimental headers were used beyond the 32 degree mark, there’s reason to make this rule.

    2. Jeremy norman

      I work on a team and pathetic is ignorant comments of something you have no clue about. The header angle has pushed the cars from 4.0 to 3.8 runs….

  6. "Hemi" Tom

    Header angle, really ? NHRA like NASCAR has nothing else to do but interfere with innovation. Did anyone observe the grandstands at the finals in Joilet. The stands were 1/2 full. Go to a Pro Mod race and the stands are full. Go to an Outlaw race and you can’t get a seat. Why? Let me count the ways.

    1. tron

      Sure the stands may look empty, but look along the k-rail and you’ll see people packed 4- or 5-deep the entire length of the stands, that’s where the people go.

  7. Danny

    Funny cars are like slot cars? I don’t care what headers they use, Funny Cars are much more of a handful to get down the track than anything other than small tired cars.
    I think the real reason for the car is Top Fuel dragster drivers and owners are complaining because Funny Cars are running faster mph. If they lay their headers back they are blowing on the tires.

  8. Gary Perkinson

    I’m not exactly clear on WHY the NHRA made the ruling–was it for safety reasons, or for unfair advantage reasons?

  9. Ted

    Single mag, make the cars look like what they’re portraying, and run the 1/4 mile again. NHRA is choking on itself. Not every run has to be a record run to win, and the costs of running a car to the costs of admission have become beyond the reach of a huge percentage of racers and fans. Just my two cents……..

  10. Tim Keseluk

    If they want to make a change how about returning to the days when Funny Cars actually had to resemble a real production car. The blobs they have morphed into now are a perversion.

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