It’s Out of the Question: We’re all ears at the drag races


Listen up: Did you know that the NHRA has never conducted a formal study to measure the effects of the most ear-piercing by-product of drag racing?

From a story called “Say What? Underestimate Drag Racing’s Decibel Mightiness at Your Auditory Peril” in the recent issue of ESPN Magazine, it says the lack of documented numbers on ear numbness is “no accident” and that “requests have been politely turned down” because the lack of hard evidence “adds to the mystery that surrounds the sport’s biggest drawing card.”

Don’t ask, but do tell . . .

There’s a chart from the American Academy of Audiology that lists decibel numbers. If the rustling of leaves is a 20, a normal conversation is 60, and a rock concert is 110, a top fuel dragster is pegged at 150 – well above your pain threshold (120) and actually closer to the number of an ear drum rupture (165) and the limit of hearing (194).


Don “The Snake” Prudhomme adds a quote to the piece: “Loud isn’t a strong enough word. It’s so overwhelming your brain can hardly compute what it’s hearing and seeing. It’s damn near a religious experience.”

Hear the problem here?

Fear the serpent, praise the Lord and pass the industrial-sized ear plugs.

Anyone plodding out to Pomona this weekend for the first time to witness the season-ending Winternationals must be warned: Tympanic membranes are a terrible thing to waste.

Safety issues aside surrounding stuff like, oh, dragsters cartwheeling down the down the track, the real deal with around-sound doesn’t seem to be taken very seriously.

And why is that?

This “air of mystery” excuse can’t replace ignorance.

So maybe most of your teeth are gone, making it more difficult to finish off a McRib entre at the finish line. Your cholesterol levels are higher than the octane levels polluting the air you breathe out there. But the feeling in our gut (the one hanging over our oversized belt-buckle) is that you can’t be stupid here.

Beat the drum for ear-drum protection. You get that loud and clear?


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