DRAG RACING is a type of motor racing in which automobiles or motorcycles (usually specially prepared for the purpose) compete, usually two at a time, to be first to cross a set finish line. The race follows a short, straight course from a standing start over a measured distance, most commonly ¼ mile (1,320 ft (402 m)), with a shorter 3/16 mile 10 feet (1,000 ft (305 m)) becoming increasingly popular, as it has become the standard for nitromethane-powered Top Fuel dragsters and funny cars , where some major bracket races and other sanctioning bodies have adopted it as the standard, while 660 ft (201 m) (1/8 mi) is also popular in some circles. Electronic timing and speed sensing systems have been used to record race results since the 1960s.
The history of automobiles and motorcycles being used for drag racing is nearly as long as the history of motorized vehicles themselves, and has taken the form of both illegal street racing , and as an organized and regulated motorsport . This article covers the legal sport.
* 1 Basics of drag racing
* 2 Racing organization
* 2.1 North America * 2.2 Australia * 2.3 Europe * 2.4 New Zealand * 2.5 South America * 2.6 Caribbean * 2.7 South Asia * 2.8 South Africa
* 3 Classes * 4 Dial-in * 5 History * 6 Historic cars * 7 Glossary * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links
BASICS OF DRAG RACING
Camaro at launch, with Altered Vision in the right lane.
Before each race (commonly known as a pass), each driver is allowed to perform a burnout , which heats the driving tires and lays rubber down at the beginning of the track, improving traction. Each driver then lines up (or stages) at the starting line.
Modern professional races are started electronically by a system
known as a Christmas tree , which consists of a column of lights for
each driver/lane, and two light beam sensors per lane on the track at
the starting line. Current
Once one competitor is staged, their opponent has a set amount of
time to stage or they will be instantly disqualified, indicated by a
red light on the tree. Otherwise, once both drivers are staged, the
system chooses a short delay at random (to prevent a driver being able
to anticipate the start), then starts the race. The light sequence at
this point varies slightly. For example, in
Several measurements are taken for each race: reaction time, elapsed time, and speed. Reaction time is the period from the green light illuminating to the vehicle leaving the starting line. Elapsed time is the period from the vehicle leaving the starting line to crossing the finish line. Speed is measured through a speed trap covering the final 66 feet (20 m) to the finish line, indicating average speed of the vehicle in that distance.
Except where a breakout rule is in place, the winner is the first
vehicle to cross the finish line, and therefore the driver with the
lowest combined reaction time and elapsed time. Because these times
are measured separately, a driver with a slower elapsed time can
actually win if that driver's advantage in reaction time exceeds the
elapsed time difference. In heads-up racing, this is known as a
holeshot win. In categories where a breakout rule is in effect (for
Most race events use a traditional bracket system, where the losing
car and driver are eliminated from the event while the winner advances
to the next round, until a champion is crowned. Events typically use
4, 8, or 16 car brackets. Drivers are typically seeded by elapsed
times in qualifying. In bracket racing without a breakout (such as
A popular alternative to the standard eliminations format is the Chicago Style format (also called the Three Round format in Australia), named for the US 30 Dragstrip in suburban Gary, Indiana where a midweek meet featured this format. All entered cars participate in one qualifying round, and then are paired for the elimination round. The two fastest times among winners from this round participate in the championship round. Depending on the organisation, the next two fastest times may play for third, then fifth, and so forth, in consolation rounds. Currently, an IHRA 400 Thunder championship race in Australia uses the format.
The standard distance of a drag race is 1,320 feet, 402 m, or 1/4
mile. However, due to safety concerns, certain sanctioning bodies
Chief Timer delivering timeslips to competitors after their passes. Blown altered doing a burnout at Interlake Dragways , Gimli, Manitoba.
National Hot Rod Association
National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA) races electric
vehicles against high performance gasoline-powered vehicles such as
On the island of
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (December 2009)
Organized drag racing is rapidly growing in India. Autocar India organised the country's first drag race meet in Mumbai in 2002.
Sri Lanka has seen an immense growth in
Caterpillar-sponsored dragster. Note wide slicks and high-mounted wing, to assist traction.
There are hundreds of classes in drag racing, each with different
requirements and restrictions on things such as weight, engine size,
body style, modifications, and many others.
In 1997, the
FIA (cars) and UEM (bikes) began sanctioning drag racing
in Europe with a fully established European Drag Racing Championship,
in cooperation (and rules compliance) with NHRA. The major European
drag strips include
Santa Pod Raceway in Podington, England; Alastaro
Circuit, Finland; Mantorp Park, Sweden; Gardermoen Raceway, Norway and
Hockenheimring in Germany. The major difference is the nitro-class
distance, which is 300 meters at some tracks, although the
There is a somewhat arbitrary definition of what constitutes a
"professional" class. The
Typical Funny Cars
A typical Comp car.
* Competition Eliminator This is the
Super Gas Probe.
* Super Gas/Super Rod Super Gas entries, which run on a 9.90 index, are primarily full-bodied cars and street roadsters. No dragsters or altereds are permitted. As in Super Comp, competitors use electronic aids to run as close to the class standard without going under. * Super Street/Hot Rod Racers compete on a fixed 10.90 index. All vehicles must be full-bodied cars and weigh no less than 2,800 pounds except for six-cylinder cars (2,000) and four-cylinder and rotary-powered cars (1,200). Engine and chassis modifications are virtually unlimited. Super Street Mustang
A typical Super Stock car
* Super Stock Super Stock vehicles resemble ordinary passenger cars,
but are actually heavily modified. Entries are classified using
factory shipping weight and horsepower and compete on indexes. The
breakout rule is enforced.
* Stock Stock cars are similar to Super Stockers, but rules
regarding everything from engine modifications to body alterations are
much stricter. Virtually any car is eligible to compete, and entries
are classified using factory shipping weight and horsepower.
* Top Sportsman (
Blown Top Dragster
* Top Dragster (
A complete listing of all classes can be found on the respective NHRA and IHRA official websites. Note dual-plug heads, dual ignition magnetos, and intake snorkel
The UEM also has a different structure of professional categories
To allow different cars to compete against each other, some competitions are raced on a handicap basis, with faster cars delayed on the starting line enough to theoretically even things up with the slower car. This may be based on rule differences between the cars in stock, super stock, and modified classes, or on a competitor's chosen "dial-in" in bracket racing .
For a list of drag racing world records in each class, see Dragstrip#Quarter mile times .
A "dial-in" is a time the driver estimates it will take his or her
car to cross the finish line, and is generally displayed on one or
more windows so the starter can adjust the starting lights on the tree
accordingly. The slower car will then get a head start equal to the
difference in the two dial-ins, so if both cars perform perfectly,
they would cross the finish line dead even. If either car goes faster
than its dial-in (called breaking out), it is disqualified regardless
of who has the lower elapsed time; if both cars break out, the one who
breaks out by the smallest amount wins. However, if a driver had
jump-started (red light) or crossed a boundary line, both violations
override any break out (except in some classes with an absolute break
out rule such as Junior classes). This eliminates any advantage from
putting a slower time on the windshield to get a head start. The
effect of the bracket racing rules is to place a premium on
consistency of performance of the driver and car rather than on raw
speed, in that victory goes to the driver able to precisely predict
elapsed time, whether it is fast or slow. This in turn makes victory
much less dependent on large infusions of money, and more dependent on
skill. Therefore, bracket racing is popular with casual weekend
racers. Many of these recreational racers will drive their vehicles to
the track, race them, and then simply drive them home. As most tracks
host only one
National Hot Rod Association
The organization banned the use of nitromethane in 1957, calling it unsafe, in part through the efforts of C. J. Hart ; the ban would be lifted in 1963.
Smokin' White Owl, built by "Ollie" Morris in 1954
* 1954 — first slingshot , built by
* Back half—distance from the 1/8 mile mark to the 1,000 foot and 1/4 mile mark of the track. * Beam—starting line electric eye controlling prestaged and staged lights. * Bottle—nitrous system; also known as the jug. * Blanket—a ballistic cover, typically over the supercharged intake manifold assembly to contain shrapnel, in the case of an explosion. * Blow—see Blown. * Blower—supercharger (occasionally turbocharger ); in '90s, generally grouped as "power adder" with turbocharger and nitrous * Blown—supercharged, when describing a functioning engine; wrecked, when describing an engine failure. * Blowover—flipping of a car, due to air under car lifting front wheels. Commonly suffered by dragsters * Breakout—running quicker than dial-in; also "breaking out." In many classes (Competition Eliminator is the major exception), it is grounds for disqualification if opponent does not commit a foul start, cross boundary lines, or breaks out by a larger margin. * Bulb(ed)—jump(ed) the start, left before tree turned green. This is a loss unless the opponent suffers a more serious foul. * Burnout—performed to heat the tires up for better traction * Christmas tree (or tree)—lights used to start a race in addition to showing starting violations * DA—density altitude; a reference to qualities in the air. * Dial-in (bracket racing)—estimated of expected e.t. for a pass, set before starting, used for handicapping the start * Diaper—an absorbent containment blanket under the engine to prevent/reduce oil contact with the track, in the event of parts breakage * Dope—(Southern U.S.) car using nitrous or propane injection on diesels * Digger—dragster (as distinct from a bodied car or flopper) * First or worst —if both drivers commit a foul, the driver who commits the foul first loses, unless it is two separate fouls, where the loser is the driver who committed the worse foul (lane violation is worse than foul start, and failure to participate in a post-run inspection is worst). * Flopper—Funny Car, short for "fender flopper." Coined by dragster crews in the late 1960s to separate Funny Cars, which had fiberglass bodies with fenders, from dragsters. Erroneously attributed to flip-top bodies of Funny Cars. * Fuel—mix of methanol and nitromethane ("pop," nitro); race class using it * Fueler—any car running fuel or in Fuel class (most often, TFD or TF/FC) * Grenade—wreck an engine (the engine "grenaded") due to internal failure. Distinct from "popping a blower". * Heads-up racing—where both drivers leave at the same time. Used in all professional ("pro") classes. * Holeshot—getting a significant advantage off the starting line. The other driver gets "holeshotted" or "left at the tree". A "holeshot win" is any win in a heads-up class where a slower car beats a faster car because of better reaction time . * Hook up—good traction between tires and track resulting in increased acceleration and reduced slipping or smoking of tires. * James Bond—driver's reaction time (when he leaves the starting line) is seven thousandths of a second after the green light (.007). A "James Bond Red" is a reaction time of -.007 seconds (red light), which is disqualification unless the opponent commits a more serious violation. * Kit—turbo or nitrous kit * Lit the tires—lost traction, causing burning rubber * Meth—methanol injection used in conjunction with gasoline (non-leaded pump) * Mill—any internal combustion engine used in a drag car, or hot rod * Nitro—nitromethane (sometimes incorrectly used to refer to nitrous oxide) * Nitrous—nitrous oxide system; the gas used in such a system * Overdrive—ratio between the revolutions of the supercharger to the revolutions of the engine, controlling amount of boost; see underdrive * Oildown—when a car's engine or lubrication breaks during a run, leaving a streak of oil and other fluids on the track. This is punishable by fines, point penalties, and/or suspension. * Pedalfest—race won by pedalling; or poor track conditions that necessitate pedalling * Pedalling—working the throttle to avoid lighting the tires, or as a way to sandbag; "pedalled" it, had to "pedal" it * Pro tree—timing lights which flash all three yellow lights simultaneously, and after four tenths of a second, turn green. * Put on the trailer—lost (got "put on the trailer") or won (put the other driver on the trailer). From the obvious, losing drivers trailer their cars home. * Quick 8 (Q8)—quickest eight cars in a defined race. Rules appear to differ per location/race. * Rail—dragster (as distinct from bodied car or flopper). From the exposed frame rails of early cars. * Redlight(ed)—jump(ed) the start, left before tree turned green. This is a loss unless the opponent commits a more serious foul. * Red Cherry-jump(ed) the start, left before the tree turned green. * Sandbagging—releasing the throttle or using the brakes at the end of the track during a bracket race after dialing a purposely slow time. Considered a dirty trick or tantamount to cheating in amateur classes. * Scattershield—metal sheet protecting driver in case of transmission failure * Slapper bar—traction bar * Slicks—rear tires with no tread pattern and softer rubber compound, for increased traction * Slingshot—early front-engined dragster, named for the driving position behind the rear wheels (erroneously attributed to launch speed). * Standard tree—timing lights which flash in sequence five tenths of a second between each yellow light before turning green. Traditional form, before introduction of pro tree. * Struck the tires—loss of traction, causing them to smoke * Throw a belt—losing the drive belt connecting the engine's crankshaft to the supercharger * Top end—finish line of strip; high part of engine's rev band. * Traction bars—rear struts fixed to rear axle to keep rear axle from twisting, causing wheel hop and loss of traction; slapper bars. * Trap(s)—the 20-metre (66 ft) timing lights at top end of race track to measure speed ">
* ^ New Tree implemented for
* ^ "Drag Race Central - Presented by Summitracing.com 1-800-230-3030". Retrieved 17 April 2016. * ^ ":::Drag Racing Online::: ANDRA Nationals at Sydney, Australia - 11/12/2012". Retrieved 17 April 2016. * ^ Its invention is credited to Vic King and Pete Wolley for their X/Gas digger in 1959. Dain Gingerelli, "Midnight Oil!" in American Rodder, 6/94, p.81.
* Robert C. Post. High Performance: The Culture and Technology of Drag Racing, 1950 - 2000. Johns Hopkins University Press , revised edition 2001.
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