Although the tire tracks of its history are clear, the origin of the term "drag racing" is not. The theories are almost as many and varied as the machines that have populated its ranks for five decades. Explanations range from a simple challenge ("Drag your car out of the garage and race me! ") to geographical locale (the "main drag" was a city's main street, often the only one wide enough to accommodate two vehicles), to the mechanical (to "drag" the gears meant to hold the transmission in gear longer than normal).
The first "dragsters" were little more than street cars with lightly warmed-over engines and bodies chopped down to reduce weight. Eventually, professional chassis builders constructed purpose-built cars, bending and welding together tubing and planting the engine in the traditional spot, just in front of the driver; the engines, and the fuels they burned, became more exotic, more powerful, and, naturally, more temperamental. Like almost all racing cars, they have undergone tremendous evolution as racers upgraded, experimented, theorized, and tested their equipment.
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Safety and innovation paved the way to rear-engined Top Fuel cars in the early 1970s, and once drag racing legend Don Garlits - himself a victim of the front-engined configuration when his transmission, which was nestled between his feet, exploded in 1970, severing half of his right foot - perfected the design, the sport never looked back. Today's Top Fuel dragsters are computer-designed wonders with sleek profiles and wind-tunnel-tested rear airfoils that exert 5,000 pounds of down force on the rear tires with minimal aerodynamic drag.
It started out as a wild activity practiced by hoodlums in hopped-up cars, but over the course of a few decades, drag racing would ultimately transform itself into one of the world's most popular motor sports. Drag races after World War II were held on military runways, growing out of speed runs (sanctioned and otherwise) on California's dry lakes. Many recognize Goleta Air Base north of Santa Barbara, California as the site of the first organized drag race in 1949. These early drag strips were temporary facilities with no safety barriers or grandstands—just pavement, people and fast cars.
Thousands of spectators turned out to watch early racers run 10-second elapsed times (E. T. s) on the measured quarter-mile—a distance chosen because it was about the length of a city block. Most cars were driven to the track or towed to the races on open trailers. Corporate sponsorship and glistening transporter trucks were far in the unimaginable future Drag racing is best described as a tournament consisting of a two-car straight-line race. It is an all-out acceleration contest from a standing start between two vehicles over an exact distance.
Professional drag strips are available for public use all over the world, but the illegal street racing culture has popularized drag racing nowadays in such a way that most common folks think of drag racing as a bunch of sticker-clad street cars causing mayhem at night. Well, whatever gets you going; it is a fact that the launch becomes the deciding factor in any drag race where the machinery is equal . The race may depend on the launch, but it also depends on how much you know about your car. Every car has its own launching method, and the techniques detailed here will help you determine what is best for your car.
All you need to do is experiment with your car, and be aware of any changes to your setup, tarmac quality or weather conditions that could change what you thought was the best method. Pretty much the only hard and fast rule is to practice in various conditions. Drag racing is definitely hard on your car, but to become consistent in your driving, you will have to sacrifice some hard-earned cash for tires, repairs and modifications . With the onset of summer, police across the country are getting ready to deal with this potentially deadly pass-time for young people.
Across the country lawmakers and police are looking for new ways to prevent the drag races. In Florida, the legislature has approved a bill that would send repeat offenders to jail for up to a year and confiscate their cars. In Los Angeles, police are visiting schools and universities to talk about the dangers of drag racing. And the town of Gastonia, North Carolina is now working on a plan to combat drag racing. Police there say a drag racer lost control of his car and hit five pedestrians . Many Americans, young and old alike, admit they speed at times.
But street racing and driving totally too fast is especially deadly for young, inexperienced drivers. Speed cheats them of the time needed to react to road hazards and keep from crashing. Not that many teens, no matter how bright they are, are "street smart" when it comes to speed. For example, few understand how long it takes to being a speeding car to a full stop, no matter how powerful its braking system is . For the record, automotive engineers agree that it takes 268 feet or about the length of a football field for a car going just 50 mph to come to a full stop. At 70 mph, a car or truck would travel almost TWICE that distance.
Just imagine what little stopping power a car driven 90 mph has ! The moral of this story is that Drag Racing, is an enjoyable American past time, but only when in a controlled environment. The race may depend on the launch, but it also depends on how much you know about your car. Every car quality or weather conditions that could change what you thought was the best method. Pretty much the only hard and fast rule is to practice in various conditions. Drag racing is definitely hard on your car, but to become consistent in your driving, you will have to sacrifice some hard-earned cash for tires, repairs and modifications.
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