New NHRA rule on laptop computers


New Member
Feb 25, 2004
Could someone clear up something for me please? I was recently informed that a new NHRA rule prohibits the use of laptop computers in the staging area. Is this common knowledge around here? Does anyone have access to the actual language of the rule? Does this include OTC's? Are there any loopholes? I was in the process of buying a DirectScan, but if this is true what options are left, besides my less than sufficient Scanmaster?
NHRA announces major rule changes for 2006

Computer use
"During competition, NHRA prohibits the use of a portable computer while the vehicle is in operation. Such items as a laptop, PDA, Palm Pilot, programmer, and the like may not be installed or located in a vehicle at any point beyond the staging-area ready line. All functions or values must be preset prior to this point."

right from NHRA website
"During competition". I wonder if that applies to time trials and test and tune sessions? :confused:
The reason the NHRA prohibits computers is perhaps not what you think. Simply put, they don't want cars to become drones - with the human element (tuning, driving, etc.) marginalized. They fear that racing will no longer be racing as we know it, that the guy with the best computer, computer skills, and program will win, and the grease under the nails guys, and their money, will go away. Funny, but doesn't the guy with the best computer (and the most money) win already?

Hell, million dollar TF/Ds use air driven solenoids for clutch engagement. Go figure? Pro Stocks run 500 CI motors with 4 barrel carbs. Yeah, there's lots of those coming out of the Big 3 these days. You get the idea.

If you're not in NHRA competition who cares. But if you are and the guy in the next lane in the T bucket bitches, oh well...

Oh, their biggest fear is your car will detect the last yellow, and leave on its own. Believe it.

Tune the car in the staging lanes and use your datalogger. No need to tune the car after the burnout IMHO.