NHRA Drag Racing

Top Fuel Dragsters

* One dragster’s 500-inch Hemi makes more horsepower than the first 8 rows at Daytona.

* Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1 1/2 gallons of nitro per second, the same rate of fuel consumption as a fully loaded 747 but with 4 times the energy volume.

* At stoichiometric (exact) 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture (for nitro), the flame front of nitromethane measures 7050 degrees F.

* Nitromethane burns yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric water vapor by the searing exhaust gases.

* If all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs $1000.00 per second.

* Dragsters reach over 300 miles per hour before you have read this sentence.

Did you know …

… that an NHRA Top Fuel dragster leaves the starting line with a force nearly five times that of gravity, the same force of the space shuttle when it leaves the launching pad at Cape Canaveral?

… that the 17-inch rear tires used on NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars wear out after four to six runs, or about two miles? Some brands of passenger-car tires are guaranteed for 80,000 miles.

… that two Top Fuel dragsters off the line registered a 2.3 on the Richter scale

Sources: NHRA Communications and Technical Departments, NHRA race teams, motorsports equipment manufacturers

Top Alcohol Dragsters

Top Alcohol Dragsters may look like Top Fuelers, but they have significant differences…

  • They can run in the 5.1s at more than 280 mph
  • Can accelerate from 0-100 in 1 second. Drivers can experience as much as 4 G during the initial acceleration of the car
  • Allowed to use superchargers if no nitromethane is added to the alcohol fuel mixture
  • If not using nitromethane, generally burn methanol, although a few burn ethanol
  • Engines are slightly larger than Top Fuel, generally around 531 CID (8.7 liter)

Source: Ultimate Car Page