Drag Racing Essay, Research Paper
A day at the drag strip can be fun for everyone from the little boys who love the smell and sound of high-speed cars to their fathers who grew up with the muscle car era. This may also be very confusing if you don’t know the classes and rules of the races. The biggest drag racing league is the NHRA, National Hot Rod Association. Everything in the race must be fair and very exact. To do this the NHRA uses a classification system. Class eligibility is based on various requirements and specifications, including type of vehicle, engine size, vehicle weight, allowable modifications, and aerodynamics. The four Professional categories are Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Bike.
Top Fuel dragsters, the fastest-accelerating vehicles in the world, are the most recognizable of all drag race cars. These cars are limited to a 25-foot body and are very low to the ground. This is important because they are capable of covering the quarter-mile in less than 4.5 seconds at speeds in excess of 330 mph. A supercharger, fuel injection, or a nitro methane-burning engine may power these long narrow “missiles”. In this class, it is easy for the cars to produce more than 6,000 horsepower.
The second fastest class, Funny Cars, usually don’t look anything like the production vehicles on which they are based. The bodies of these cars may be constructed out of composite carbon fiber. This is a lightweight semi durable material. The reason why these cars may be made of this is because they aren’t as powerful as the Top Fuelers. This class also may be supercharged, fuel-injected, or nitro methane burning. The limitation of horsepower, however, is greater. They must be under 6,000 to qualify in this class. With less horses behind the wheel and less aerodynamic designs most of these cars will travel the quarter-mile in less than five seconds at speeds more than 320 mph.
My favorite class, Pro Stock cars, on the other hand, looks like their showroom counterparts, but that’s where the similarity ends. This class is reserved for 1990 or later two-door coupes and sedans that are limited to 500 cubic inches. These cars must have a milder powerhouse though. They must be carbureted, gas- burning cars. Other than that, there really aren’t many more limitations. Most drivers make use of extensive cylinder-head and manifold modifications and radical chassis and suspension changes that let them get that six-second elapsed time that they worked hard for.
The insane class, Pro Stock Bikes, is Pro Stock’s two-wheel cousins. The class is open to any 1985 stock-appearing, carbureted, gas-burning motorcycle. They are powered mostly by highly modified two- and four-valve engines and can cover the quarter-mile in 7.2 seconds at speeds of 190 mph. Their 70-inch chassis are also made from a composite carbon fiber. I think that this would be the most outrageous class to race in.
If you know your classes and rules of the classes, it’ll make your day at the drag strip more enjoyable and meaningful. With cars such as these there will never be a boring time watching drag racing. We must also appreciate the NHRA for making a hobby and a career fair for everyone. They made this possible by creating the four major classes of drag racing, Top Fuel, Funny Cars, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Bike.