Drag racing

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Drag racing is a competition in which vehicles compete to be the first to cross a set finish line, usually from a standing start, and in a straight line. First gaining popularity in the USA after World War II, the sport steadily grew in popularity and spread across the globe. By 2009, there were hundreds of dragstrips in operation, mainly in developed countries.

Most drag races begin with a standing (stationary) start and are just 1/4 mile long (1,320 ft (400 m)). Fastest pass to date is 3.58 seconds set by Sammy Miller in his Vanishing Point rocket car. Elapsed times (e.t.s) times range between mid-4 seconds to 23 seconds, with finishing speeds (trap speeds) ranging from 60 mph to over 330 mph (530 km/h), depending upon the type of vehicle. The faster vehicles need a parachute (mandated by rules) to slow down, an innovation credited (indirectly) to cartoonist Tom Medley.[1]

Contents

Basics of drag racing

Before each race (also known as a pass), each driver is allowed to perform a burnout, which heats the tires and lays rubber down at the beginning of the track, improving traction. Each driver then lines up (or stages) at the starting line. Informal drag races can be started by any means, including flag-waving and arm-dropping. These methods are more likely to be seen in an unorganized setting, being most popular with illegal street racing. Sanctioned races are started electronically, with a series of vertically-arranged lights known as a "Christmas tree" or just "tree". The Christmas tree consists of a column of lights for each driver/lane. In each column, the top two lights are small amber lights connected to light beams on the track, which when broken by the vehicle's front tire(s) indicate that the driver has pre-staged (approximately 7 inches (180 mm) from the starting line) and then staged (at the starting line).[2]

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