A dragstrip is a facility for conducting automobile and motorcycle acceleration events such as drag racing. Although a quarter mile (1320 feet, 402 m) is the best known measure for a drag track, many tracks are eighth mile (201 m) tracks, and the premiere classes will run 1,000 foot (304.8m) races. The race is begun from a standing start which allows three factors to affect the outcome of the race: reaction time, torque, and traction.
A dragstrip is a straight, purpose-built racetrack, typically an eighth, ten feet longer than three-sixteenths, or a quarter of a mile long (660/1,000/1320 feet, 201/304.8/402 metres), with an additional shutdown area to allow vehicles room to stop after crossing the finish line. Common features also include a 'water box' where vehicles and motorcycles start their burn-outs to clean and heat up their tires to improve traction. There is a set of lights known as a 'Christmas Tree' that counts down to the start. There are also return lanes for the vehicles to return from the end of the track to the pit area.
Vehicle equipment requirements
Like all other motorsports, drag racing has many safety requirements for the vehicles that compete. These can be found in the applicable governing body's rule book. Most rules do not apply until the vehicle exceeds a specified time, such as 10.99 seconds. This allows anyone with a regular production vehicle to take part for very little cost, and encourages participation of many people who cannot afford a proper racing vehicle.
Quarter mile times
Acceleration times differ even between identical vehicles due to widely varying factors - vehicle tune, elevation, driver/rider differences, payload, track surface conditions, weather conditions.
|Vehicle||Elapsed time[clarification needed]||Notes|
|Rocket dragster||3.2 sec @ ~390 mph (630 km/h)||Kitty O'Neil, 1977 in the Mojave Desert|
|Top Fuel Dragster||4.503 sec @ ~332.02 mph (534.33 km/h)||Larry Dixon, 30 March 2012, Willowbank Raceway |
|Top Fuel Dragster (1000 foot)||ET: 3.701 sec @ ~328.78 mph (529.12 km/h)||Antron Brown, 8 October 2012, Maple Grove Raceway, Mohnton, PA |
|Speed: 3.802 sec @ ~332.18 mph (534.59 km/h)||Spencer Massey, 15 April 2012, Concord, NC |
|Top Fuel Funny Car (1000 foot)||3.901 sec @ ~325.69 mph (524.15 km/h)||Jack Beckman, 22 August 2015, Brainerd International Raceway |
|Top Alcohol[clarification needed]||5.2 sec @ ~250 mph (400 km/h)|
Top Doorslammer in Australia
|5.745 sec @ ~252.24 mph (405.94 km/h)||John Zappia, 8 June 2013, Willowbank Raceway|
|Pro Stock||6.455 sec @ ~214.48 mph (345.17 km/h)||Jason Line, 29 March 2015, at zMax Dragway|
|Top Fuel Bike||5.799 sec @ 245.36 mph (394.87 km/h)||Larry McBride, March 2006, Valdosta, Georgia |
|Pro Stock Motorcycle||6.750 sec @ ~199.26 mph (320.68 km/h)||Eddie Krawiec, 10 March 2012, at Gainesville Raceway |
|Electric Motorcycle||6.94 sec @ ~201.37 mph (324.07 km/h)||Larry McBride, 4 May 2012, at Virginia Motorsports Park |
NOTE: Nitro Funny Car records set at 1,000 ft (300 m), which since 2008 (NHRA in the US) and 2012 (FIA internationally) is the official distance for both Top Fuel and Funny Car in the respective sanctioning bodies. In Australia, ANDRA maintains records does for selected Top Fuel races at certain circuits.
All official records must be backed up within one percent during the same race meet in order to be claimed. The official records for terminal velocity and elapsed time are different in the professional car categories, and only the elapsed time run (and respective speed of that run) is listed. There have been some cases where a car has run faster than the official record, but because they were not backed up within one percent during the same meet, they are not recognised by the NHRA or ANDRA. The Top Fuel record is the official quarter-mile record in ANDRA, the only sanctioning body that races quarter-mile drag racing for the category.
- "Dixon sets new Australian record as Read doubles up". Australian National Drag Racing Association. Archived from the original on 8 September 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- NHRA Archived 4 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Top Fuel Dragbike racing, fastest speed". Guinness Book of World Records. Retrieved 2015-07-02.