Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by Santini, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Santini

    Santini Formula Junior

    Oct 1, 2003
    North Carolina
    A Definition of Acceleration.

    * One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower
    than the first 4 rows of NASCARS at the Daytona 500.

    * Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1-1/2 gallons of
    nitromethane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the
    same rate with 25% less energy being produced.

    * A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the
    dragster's supercharger.

    * With 3,000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on
    overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into a near-solid form before
    ignition. Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full

    * At the stoichiometric (stoichiometry: methodology and technology by
    which quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions are
    determined) 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitromethane, the flame front
    temperature measures 7,050 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..

    * Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of
    an arc welder in each cylinder.

    * Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After
    halfway, the engine is dieseling from compression, plus the glow of
    exhaust valves at 1,400 degrees F. The engine can only be shut down by
    cutting the fuel flow.

    * If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up
    in the affected cylinders and then explodes with sufficient force to
    blow cylinder heads off the engine block into pieces or split the block
    in half.

    * In order to exceed 300 mph in 4.5 seconds, dragsters must accelerate
    an average of over 4G's. In order to reach 200 mph (well before
    half-track), the launch acceleration approaches 8G's.

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

    * Top Fuel engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to

    * Including the burnout, the engine must only survive 900 revolutions
    under load.

    * The redline is actually quite high at 9,500 rpm.

    * Assuming all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked for free, and
    for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs an estimated $1,000.00 per

    * The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.441 seconds for
    the quarter mile (10/05/03, Tony Schumacher). The top speed record is
    333.00 mph. (533 km/h) as measured over the last 66' of the run
    (09/28/03, Doug Kalitta).

    Putting all of this into perspective:

    You are driving the average $140,000 Lingenfelter "twin-turbo" powered
    Corvette Z06. Over a mile up the road, a Top Fuel dragster is staged and
    ready to launch down a quarter mile strip as you pass. You have the
    advantage of a flying start. You run the 'Vette hard up through the
    gears and blast across the starting line and past the dragster at an
    honest 200 mph. The 'tree' goes green for both of you at that moment.
    The dragster launches and starts after you. You keep your foot down
    hard, but you hear an incredibly brutal whine that sears your eardrums
    and within 3 seconds, the dragster catches and passes you. He beats you
    to the finish line, a quarter mile away from where you just passed him.
    Think about it, from a standing start, the dragster had spotted you 200
    mph and not only caught, but nearly blasted you off the road when he
    passed you within a mere 1,320 foot long race course.

    ... and that my friend, is ACCELERATION!
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  3. tw1nturb0

    tw1nturb0 Karting

    Feb 2, 2004
    I never would have thought they were THAT powerful. That's some SERIOUS science and technology going into the development of these machines. Wow.
  4. Santini

    Santini Formula Junior

    Oct 1, 2003
    North Carolina
    I don't know how a human being can control that much energy down the 1/4 mile. 8Gs at launch?? :eek:
  5. Prova7

    Prova7 Formula Junior

    Nov 17, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Full Name:
    Top Fuel is great. "Plain Ole Amer'can" tech at it's best.

    If you have never seen Top Fuel in person you must see it. TV gives you absolutely no idea how fast these cars really are; your brain cannot comprehend it even in person. When two of those cars take off you'd swear you were being bombed ;)
  6. AnotherDunneDeal

    AnotherDunneDeal F1 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
    N.Richland Hills, Tx
    Full Name:
    James Dunne
    When my buddy Eddie Hills top fuel engine let go at Dallas two years ago there was nothing left in the frame and the engine block was just a hulk. Eddie was the first man to go in the 4's in top fuel. Been in the NHRA Hall of Fame. He is the only man who held top fuel records on water and land at the same time. Can you say 5000 hp minimum to be competitive?
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  8. formula1joe

    formula1joe Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    Full Name:
    Joe Bennett
    Now, how can I get a top-fuel engine to last 2 hours for a F-1 race?
  9. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    But only the first 3 rows at the short tracks. A current unrestricted NASCAR 355 CID engine makes 850-875 HP*, the Daytona, Darlington, Atlanta restrictors limit HP to the 620 range.

    * this is after they were restricted from using more than 14:1 compression years ago.

    The things IDLE at pints per second.

    True, but misleading. Any engine with more than 100 HP can drive the supercharger, however, it does take more than 1000 HP to move as much air as the TF engine consumes.

    {QUOTE]* In order to exceed 300 mph in 4.5 seconds, dragsters must accelerate
    an average of over 4G's. In order to reach 200 mph (well before
    half-track), the launch acceleration approaches 8G's.[/QUOTE]

    Note: the TALL sidewalls enhance linear tractive abilities.

    These engine turn more revolutions during warmup and staging than in the race.

    Right up there with F1 cost structure. $300,000,000/year is about $1M/day. Dragsters only do 5 runs per day, and only on the weekends. F1 budget is consumed continuously, day in and day out. You could run the entire class of Top fuel teams, both dragsters (16)and funny car(16), on the cost structure of the smallest F1 team.
  10. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran

    Sep 3, 2002
    Toronto / SoCal
    Full Name:
    Rob C.
    Thank you for posting this information. I had read bits and pieces of it over the years but to have it all in one place is a fantastic resource.
  11. smsmd

    smsmd Karting

    Nov 12, 2003
    San Jose, California
    Full Name:
    Steven Scates MD
    There is a pretty good article on drag racing economics in Robb Report Worth this month. The article claims that the costs are not that bad by racing standards-about 3000K/run. The cars are much less expensive than F1. It sounds like you could be competitive at about 1-3M/year.
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  13. vincent355

    vincent355 F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 8, 2003
    Wine Country
    Full Name:

    i agree, it's definitely worth checking out. I went once and it is amazing what these cars do.

  14. AnotherDunneDeal

    AnotherDunneDeal F1 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
    N.Richland Hills, Tx
    Full Name:
    James Dunne
    When Eddie Hill lost Pennzoil as his sponsor and Matco tools also, he lost about $3M in sponsorship money. He decided that he could no longer be competitive on less than that. He said he could be selective on a $1M budget if he was going to run a "twilight" season the year before he retired. Unfortunately two massive engine explosions on consecutive weekends caused back damage to him and he had to make the decision to retire earlier than intended.

    One thing about drag racing is that there are so many different classes that almost anyone can find one that will fit within their budget and can find a number of tracks to race on. You can also do it much longer. Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Eddie Hill, Chris Karamesines and the like raced top fuel well into their 60's and Chris into his 70's.

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