The Art of NHRA Drag Racing!
When you are at an NHRA drag race, you will see firsthand how a drag racer performs. You will notice how they focus on exact timing, and when I say exact timing, I do mean exact timing of accelerating at speeds that can be over 300 mph, (which is close to what a jet airplane can take off with) to reach their fastest speed in only a 1,000-foot distance. Moreover, reaching over 300 mph in 1,000 feet is an amazing thing to watch and experience as the power of these machines are so powerful it causes car alarms in nearby parking lots to sound from the vibration in the ground.
The art of these top performing machines getting the BIG WIN starts with good mechanics that know what it takes to get that racing machine to its top speed in that short distant, and not breakdown. The racers then have to get through the Eliminations.
What happens once the racer bring their dragster to the staging beams, they are paired up with another dragster, and must have total concentration and focus on the Christmas Tree lighting system in the center of the dragstrip at the start line. At this point of the competition, as you can imagine, the adrenalin for the racer is extremely high!
This is when they have to focus completely on those lights on that Christmas Tree. The reason why the Christmas Tree lights are so important to the racer is because as soon as the lights start with the blue at the top, they have about seven inches from the starting line. Once both of the dragsters are staged, then the amber light flashes, then the lights quickly goes to the green, which means, “GO”, and go fast!
These racers have to hit the peddle to the medal with no error in acceleration for speed, they have to stay focus in keeping the dragster strait so they don’t crash, and timing has to be very, very fast to win. All of these are all a critical part of drag racing as the race begins in a split second on that green light, and timing of acceleration has to be perfect because if a red light shows, it is not good as that signifies that a racer left before the green light and that is an immediate disqualification.
Therefore, Drag Racing is truly an art of speed. It is about extreme concentration and complete focus, it is about split second timing of acceleration and reaching the highest speed, they can in at approx. 1,000 feet. It is about the “WIN”!
The racer that gets the “WIN” is determined actually, by which dragster crosses the finish line first. This is a combination of a couple of factors: one being the reaction of acceleration and timing to the green light on the Christmas Tree, also known as the reaction time, and the car's actual performance over the total racing distance. Then you have the racing distance that is measured in elapsed time, which means it is measured in seconds and milliseconds. Therefore, if you really think about that, these cars are so fast they are not in minutes, it is seconds!
A racer can also get a holeshot win. This is because each lane is timed independently. This advances the dragster with a slower elapsed time, but a better reaction time, and at the end of the day, it is still about who gets to that finish line first and who gets the “WIN”
To give an idea of what the results can be from a racer who is focused, has perfect timing and acceleration in a Top Fuel or Funny Car dragster and has a great machine with great mechanics. Check this out. This year, 2017, Leah Pritchett set the Top Fuel elapsed-time national record with a 3.658-second pass at 329.34 mph during the 33rd annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
Brittany Force while racing in Topeka, Kansas in May 2017 got the National speed record in Top Fuel of 333.66 mph.
Then this year in the Funny Cars at the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Robert Hight had an amazing performance with a starburst speed of 339.87 mph on his No. 1 qualifying pass during the opening day.
As a Drag Racing Fan, this is cool stuff with amazing performances and speeds. You just gotta love it!