As most of you know, Project DeadSpool has undergone quite a bit of wrenching over the last few years. The plan of attack for the 2004 RAM 3500 was to turn it into a fire-breathing, drag racing machine. Well, a few short years later, it is officially to that point. I personally race the truck and it is now reached a pro-level class in the Outlaw Diesel Super Series, Outlaw 5.90.
The Outlaw 5.90 class is the first of four pro categories the ODSS has to offer. In order to race in these classes, an NHRA official comes and certifies your chassis and roll cage. They make sure what you’ve built around you is safe in the event of an accident. They’ll check the thickness of the material you used, as well as bends in the places where need be. Point is, this is a pro class with hoops to jump through to join it.
Once the chassis is certified, however, you’re still not done. You must make a number of passes on a track and travel within a certain elapsed time to actually qualify for a professional license. After that’s over, you’re ready to race…
Well, not quite. When you’re racing or even sled pulling in trucks like these, you really need to take safety seriously. Far too often, there are people getting hurt from skimping on safety equipment.
The Good Stuff
Knowing that I wanted quality equipment I could trust, I reached out to Ben O’Connor Jr, VP of Sales and Marketing at Impact Racing, and we discussed our options. Impact offers a line of different products including helmets, restraints, parachutes, tie-down straps, gear bags, and so much more. I was after one thing, though – restraints.
For years, I’ve used the old faithful latch-and-link style buckles. There was nothing wrong with them, I just simply used those and never knew anything different. Impact offers the newer, quicker Cam-Lock system that is sure to make things easier getting in and out of the truck. After going through all of the options, I decided to go with the 16.5 PRO Series Integrated Cam-Lock Restraint.
These feature integral adjusters at the Cam-Lock end, Impact’s newest Cam-Lock restraints solve the issue of adjuster placement and ease of tightening. Constructed of high-strength polyester webbing for the greatest strength and longevity, Impact’s integral adjuster restraints fit a variety of needs. They are available in the race-proven 2×2-inch configuration and come in five-point, six-point, and seven-point configurations.
If you’re to order your own set, you’ve got two mounting options; A bolt-in version and a snap-in version. I chose to go with the bolt-in option. These belts were easy to install into this aluminum racing seat that I’ve got mounted in the truck. Once I found some heavy-duty hardware to use, I made my connections and adjusted accordingly.
I liked these belts because they adjusted smoothly compared to the old set. It wasn’t such a hassle loosening the belts and adjusting them all the way out after a pass. So, the whole reason behind this was because I needed new belts, right? Why did I need new ones, though? The old style was out of date. They only last two years until they need to be replaced or re-certified, per the NHRA.
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t excited knowing I would have to spend this money, again and again, every couple of years. Then I realized they could be re-certified. Knowing that, I continued my conversation with O’Connor and discussed our options. After explaining to me the process and how they can recheck them, I’m all in. Now, we’ve got a brand new set of restraints. They’re comfortable, easy to operate, and will last for a long time.
O’Connor gave me the rundown on what Impact brings to the table, what options I should consider, and what I can expect.
Diesel Army: For those out there wondering, why Impact?
Ben O’Connor: “Well, we are a true U.S. manufacturer. With the exception of our Sportsman restraints, we build all of our restraints right here in Indianapolis, Indiana. You will also find our polyester webbing to be very soft and pliable, making them very comfortable to wear. Our QSR adjusters are also very easy to use, and the new integrated cam-lock adjusters are a sign of our commitment to constant improvement through technological innovation. Impact restraints can also be re-webbed with new SFI tags, saving the customer from having to pay the full cost of a new set of restraints. Over the course of several years, this can result in our high-quality, U.S.-manufactured restraints being a less expensive alternative to even many of the imported options on the market.”
DA: How long does it usually take to re-certify a set of belts?
BO: “The typical turnaround time to re-web and tag a set of restraints is a week or less depending on when we receive them. It is important to note that we do not ‘re-tag’ the existing restraints. The webbing over time can degrade and should never be reused. Instead, we cut of all of the existing webbing, fully inspect new hardware, and then sew on the new webbing and SFI tags.”
DA: In your opinion, when do you think the Cam-Lock will fully takeover the restraint industry? Do you see the latch-and-link style going away?
BO: “I think the latch-and-link style buckle systems will always have a place in racing. They provide an economical failsafe solution. On the negative, they are somewhat more cumbersome to use for the beginner. They require feeding the tang through three separate loops and holding everything together with one hand, then moving the lever to latch everything together. Our Cam-Lock system is much easier. With our design, you simply push the tabs in until they click, much like a seat belt in an average car.
Thanks to Ben at Impact for all of the advice and help on choosing the correct system for the truck. I am excited to use these belts every time I strap in. If you’re looking for anything safety-related, be sure and check out the guys over at Impact Racing. For more reviews, part installs, truck features, and event coverage, stay tuned right here to Diesel Army.