You’ve probably never thought much about drag racing, but believe it or not, more people have gone to space than raced in a Top Fuel drag car. Drag cars are some of the fastest accelerating vehicles in the world. It takes about four seconds to get a drag car to launch from start to top speed, that’s almost as equal as traversing a football field in a second.
Drag races are simple; they are ideally a test of acceleration from start to finish. However, the world of drag racing isn’t as simple as the basic understanding of drag racing. So much goes on before these road rockets blast off. If you’ve been wondering, here are ten things you did not know about Drag racing.
10 Before the Starting Line
While the staging line might look like a place to relax as you prepare for the race, it's ironically where most of the magic happens. At the staging line, the drive and engineers make final-minute adjustments that greatly determine whether they win or lose.
9 The Basics of Drag Racing
There are several categories of drag races, with different styles. Drag races can be simple or complicated, it all depends on how you look at it, but at the bare minimum, it’s all about performance, acceleration and crossing the finish line first.
8 Engines Mount with Hose Clamps
Surprisingly, Top Fuel and Funny cars use hose clamps as engine mounts. Once the engine is in a proper position, they just fit the hose clamp on, and it’s good to go. It’s not very exotic, but rather simple, and in drag racing, simplicity, experience, and tradition rule.
7 Not your Typical Braking System
These brakes are so effective that it’s a requirement to have them on Top Fuel, Pro Stock and Funny Car by the NHRA. A downside to these performance brakes is that they won't work well until they reach optimum temperature.
6 Drag Cars are Constantly Tuned
Based on the information they get; they will make final-minute adjustments to their vehicle to ensure it makes the perfect run. These adjustments can be as simple as changing the blower pressure or as complicated as adjusting the clutch settings right at the staging lanes.
5 Funny Cars don’t have transmissions
So how do they reverse? Well, Funny Cars have a component known as the reverser, once activated, the vehicle is able to pull back up the track. Due to extreme strain put on the clutch, they need rebuilding after each run.
4 The Burnout
A good burnout distance will get you right at the 300 ft cone. Burnouts are exciting to watch, they generate plumes of smoke and might seem like a waste of tire tread, but it's for a good cause.
3 The Spindle Stagger
So, where exactly is the starting line? In drag racing, there’s two. First, there are the staging lights, when the wheel enters, it blocks the beams, triggering the stage lights on the tree of lights, as the wheel rolls across the starting line unblocking the beam, it shuts off the staging light starting the E.T clock.
2 The Christmas Tree
Right after pre-staging and staging lights go off, one of the two sequences is used to signal the start of a race. The entire drag race Christmas tree is where the three amber lights in quick succession are used to signal a count down for a drag racer before takeoff.
1 Three types of Drag Races
There are hundreds of other classes of drag cars available. Also, Drag race competitions are divided into a traditional bracket system, where two cars race against each other. The loser gets eliminated while the winner proceeds to the next round.