Stroud Safety’s Tommy Cunningham is the first to step up when it comes to driver safety in the sport of drag racing. The successful business owner, who also owns and operates Cunningham Machine in Murray, Kentucky, always has his ear to the ground, creating and innovating new products that improve the safety of racers.
In this most recent case, Cunningham and Mark Micke collaborated on a Pro Mod parachute after Micke had told Tommy that he was going after a record in 2023.
“Throughout the summer, we had been in contact. We wanted to make sure there were no safety concerns or anything like that and if we needed to do anything different on parachutes,” explained Cunningham. “So we developed our Pro Mod chute with his record-setting attempt in mind, which is something we’re promoting for PRI, which is just a fireproof back, fireproof lines, with a high-vis spring pilot.
“It’s based on our 430 chute that’s been around forever – we call it a 450, which gets you some fireproofing,” he continued.
Micke did, in fact, achieve his goal of a record run, all the while with the new Stroud parachutes onboard.
Former NHRA Pro Mod world champion Jose Gonzalez wheeled Micke’s twin-turbo Pro Mod Camaro to reset the E.T. world record for a turbocharged Pro Mod in the quarter mile with a 5.359 at 272.94 mph. Gonzalez overtook Khalid Mohammed’s longstanding 5.379-second mark set in 2018.
“Attempts like that, we take them seriously,” stated Cunningham. “[The chute is] set up as a Pro Mod-specific application. We wanted to make sure that in the event something happened on this pass, it was as safe as possible, which led to, why can’t we order that fireproofing on any Pro Mod chute?
“It just evolved that way. It just kind of made sense for us to just make it a standard. Now, if somebody orders a Pro Mod chute, they get a 450 instead of a 430, and it comes with fireproofing.”
Not only is Cunningham paying attention to what is happening in the industry, but he’s also listening to his employees when they have new ideas.
“We manufacture in-house, so it lets us be flexible,” said Cunningham. “We can respond quicker than, say, if we were having a cargo box load made overseas somewhere, a ship; it’s kind of hard to make that flexible.”
In addition to the new Pro Mod parachute on display at the PRI Show, Cunningham explained that Stroud’s new co-branded head and neck restraint will be offered for show-goers to check out.
“The test results are unbelievable for this thing,” stated Cunningham. “It’s just a different approach. We’re going after the concussion forces, not necessarily just head and neck restraints. We’ve been keeping people alive for a long time, but not a whole lot of companies are going after concussions and so that’s the direction we’re going. So we’re slowing the brain down inside the skull as opposed to just keeping the head in a fixed position.”
Stroud Safety will be located at booth number 3801 at the PRI Show. For additional information and to contact Stroud Safety, visit www.StroudSafety.com or call 405-632-2022.