Drag Cars, Drag Tech & Drag Racing Action!

ACCUS: Automobile Competition Committee for the United States.

Aftermarket: Generally, replacement parts and high performance products that are non-OEM.

Air Dam: Located in front of vehicle, blocks the flow of air to undercarriage, thus improving stability and preventing lift.

Air Foil: Stabilizer, generally used to create down forces, increasing tire-to-track adherence and stability at higher speeds.

Alternative Fuel: Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), propane is another alternative fuel.

Analog Display: Instrument which shows a physical quantity, such as rpm, voltage etc. via a movable needle on a dial. Most race car drivers feel that the variable position of the needle is easier to read at a quick glance than its digital counterpart.

Arm Restraints: Restraining belts/straps that restrict arm movement during an accident.

Ballast: Material added to drag car chassis to alter weight distribution and/or bring drag car weight up to minimum class requirement.

Bang the Blower: Explosion inside the supercharger that is caused by a flame from the combustion process that accidentally enters the supercharger when air and fuel are present. Usually caused by a stuck or broken intake valve that would be normally closed during the combustion process.

Bell Housing: Bell-shaped enclosure for flywheel and clutch assembly.

Belly Pan: Skin of aluminum or fiberglass that covers the undercarriage of the drag car, assisting in preventing turbulence and air drag.

Bleach Box: Section of the racetrack before starting line where burnouts are performed.

Blower: Mechanically driven compressor (supercharger) that pumps air into engine's induction system at pressures higher than normal atmospheric pressurue.

Blueprinting: Re-machining each engine component to the precise measurements as indicated on factory blueprints.

Breakout: Term used in handicap racing that refers to a competitor that runs an elapsed time quicker that their predetermined dial-in time, the competitor is then disqualified.

Burn Down: An attempt during staging to delay a race against a competitor whose vehicle does not have a radiator, in hopes their engine will overheat.

Burn-Out: Spinning rear tires/slicks at a high RPM in water to heat and clean tire rubber prior to a run, this process increases traction greatly. In the old days Nitro Funny Cars use to do super long burnouts for the fans, super long burnouts are not necessary to get the job done, but are cool to watch.

Burnt Piston: When a cylinder runs too lean and excessive temperatures are produced, a burnt or melted piston results.

Butt-Weld: A weld that fuses together the edges of two pieces of metal.

Bye Run: A single run randomly given to a drag car, because of an unequal number of drag cars in a round.

Carnard: Aerodynamic device that permits airflow over and under it, this type of device will enhance traction and stability due to the extra downforce this device produces.   

CC: Cubic Centimeter is a metric unit of measurement that is equal to approximately 0.061 cubic inch. 

CFM: Cubic Feet Per Minute is a measurement of a carburetors airflow capacity.

CID: Cubic-Inch Displacement

Camber: Wheel tilt angle, wheels tilted inward at the top is negative camber, wheels tilted outward at the top are positive camber.

Caster: Angle between spindle axis and true vertical, when spindle axis tilts rearward at the top, caster is positive. Positive caster makes the vehicle more stable but harder to turn, some drag cars have a ton of positive caster built in.

Catch Can: A container on a drag car that prevents liquid overflow from spilling on the ground. Another name for this device is a catch tank.

Chromoly: Chromium Molybdenum steel tubing is light weight and very strong, it is used in the construction of drag car chassis and roll cages.

Christmas Tree: Electronic starting device that utilizes calibrated lights for visual countdown for drivers.

Chute: Parachute or drag chute, this device assists in slowing the drag car down quickly.

Clevis: Fastening device used in drag car chassis construction.

Competition Area: Staging lanes and drag strip surface.

Cylinder Heads: Part of engine that covers tops of cylinders and pistons, and contains the combustion chamber and valvetrain.

Deep Stage: Vehicle rolls a few inches farther into beams after staging; this causes the pre-stage lights to go out. In this position, a vehicle is closer to the finish line, but is dangerously close to a foul start.

Delay Box: is a common slang term used in drag racing to describe an on-board timer which is a Transmission Brake Delay Timer. The device allows the car to stay stationary at the starting line regardless of how much engine power is applied. When the signal is given to start the race, the delay box shuts off, allowing the launch of the car from the starting line. Delay box use was very controversial in the 1980s and 1990s, as it removed advantages more experienced drivers had. Due to the closed off nature of the delay box, it was also used to conceal circuitry that violated racing regulation. Racing associations have imposed strict limits on delay boxes today, with manufacturers having to submit to an approval process, which has drastically reduced the number of makers of these devices.

Dial-In: In bracket racing, to set the Christmas Tree with the interval between starting times for drag cars with different indexes, and to set-up the drag car to hit the predicted E.T. as close as possible.

To set-up a drag car with the best possible combination for maximum performance.

Dial Under: Under NHRA rules, an option allowed in Stock and Super Stock classes to select a time under the national index for that class. Applied in handicap eliminations where breakout rule is in effect.

Diaper: Absorbent blanket made from a ballistic material that surrounds oil pan to contain oil and parts in case of an engine explosion. Diapers are required on Top Fuel, Funny Car, Top Alcohol Dragster, and Top Alcohol Funny Car.

Digital Display: Display that indicates values, such as rpm, mph, voltage in an electronic LED readout format rather than a movable needle. Digital displays are harder to read at a quick glance.

Displacement: Maximum engine cylinder piston sweep volume (bore & stroke) during a complete cycle, expressed in cubic inches, cubic centimeters or liters.

Doghouse: Section of firewall on a supercharged Funny car that surrounds supercharger and related components.

DOT: Department Of Transportation.

Down-Track RPM Controller: Ignition-control device that limits engine RPM in an attempt to control E.T.'s. This device may be prohibited by some drag racing sanctioning bodies.

Dropped Cylinder: Refers to a cylinder that runs too rich, thus preventing the spark plug from firing.

Ferrous: Metals that contain iron, aluminum is a non-ferrous metal.

FIA: Feration Internationale de l'Automobile.

Four Link: Rear suspension utilizing parallel upper and lower control arms, there are four mounting points on rearend and drag car frame.

Full Tree: Used in Competition, Super Stock, and Stock, for which a handicap starting system is used to equalize competition. The three amber bulbs on the Christmas Tree illuminate consecutively five-tenths of a second apart, followed five-tenths later by the green starting light. A perfect reaction time would be .500.

Gusset: Triangular reinforcement piece that adds extra strength to roll bars, roll cages and drag car frames. This piece is welded in place.

Halon 1301: Freon fire extinguishing agent. Halon 1301 will extinguish a fire at about a 5% concentration, a concentration of about 9% will become toxic to humans. Halon 1301 is stockpiled across the country. There is plenty around and it is readily available. Expect Halon 1301 to be around for at least another 10 years or so. The manufacture of this chemical has been banned by international treaty but the use of it has not. Halon can still be manufactured for critical uses such as the military.

Hemi: A Hemi engine has a hemispherical (dome) shaped cylinder-head combustion chamber.

Holeshot: When a driver reacts quicker to the Christmas Tree to win a race against a competitor with a quicker elapse time.

Hydraulic: When a cylinder fills with too much fuel, thus prohibiting compression and causing a mechanical malfunction, usually a very explosive one.

Interval Timers: A secondary timing system that records elapsed times at 60, 330, 660, and 1,000 feet. Drag racers can use this valuable information for tuning purposes.

Ladder Bar: Traction device that has three attaching points total, two points on rear axle housing and one point on the frame.

Lexan: Lightweight, durable, thermal-resistant plastic material used in place of glass or where a transparent material is needed. Lexan is a tradename of General Electric.

Magnaflux: A non destructive test that checks for cracks in iron or steel. Here is how it works, part is subjected to a strong magnetic field while dry magnetic particles are sprinkled on the surface, a crack acts as a new magnetic pole and thus causing the particles to collect at that particular point on the part.

Magneto: Electrical device that both generates and distributes current to the spark plugs. Magneto's do not need a battery to operate, plus another interesting magneto fact is that the intensity of the voltage output will increase with engine speed.

Methanol: Pure methyl alcohol is produced by synthesis and is used in Top Alcohol Dragsters and Funny Cars.

MIG: Metal Inert Gas arc welding.

Nitromethane (Nitro): CH3NO2 , highly combustible racing fuel. Nitromethane is also a powerful paint solvent.

Nitrous Oxide: N2O, non-flammable, non-explosive gas that acts as an oxidizing agent with gasoline or methanol to improve the rate and efficiency of combustion, thus increasing engine horsepower.

Nomex: Fire-resistant material used in driver fire suits and other racing safety products.

Pilot Chute: Spring-loaded device that pulls out the main parachute.

Pits: The place where drag cars are worked on, fans can also meet their favorite drivers and get autographs.

Pre-Stage: The front wheels are positioned approximately seven inches behind the starting line so the top small yellow lights on driver’s side of Christmas Tree are illuminated. The next step is to stage the vehicle and be ready to race.

Pro Tree: Used in heads-up competition in the following classes: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street. All three large amber lights on the Christmas Tree illuminate simultaneously, followed four-tenths of a second later by the green starting light.

Reaction Time: It's the amount of time measured in thousandths of a second that it takes the driver to react to the light and apply the throttle. In other words, the amount of time elapsed from the moment the green light flashes and when the drag car trips the starting beam. Drag races are won or lost on the starting line, so practice on improving your reaction times with a practice tree. It has been proven that the average human reaction time from when you see the light until you hit the throttle is 22/100 of a second.

SFI Foundation: Independent organization that is responsible for developing minimum performance specifications for different types of racing equipment.

Sixty-Foot Time: A measure of time it takes a drag car to cover the first 60 feet of the drag strip. It is the most accurate measure of the launch from starting line and could determine how quick the rest of the run will be.

Slicks: Designed for maximum traction when hot. Slicks have no tread for a broad, flat surface that produces maximum tire contact. Another feature that produces maximum bite is the varying compounds of extremely soft rubber that will get super sticky when heated.

Slider Clutch: Multi-disc clutch designed to slip until a predetermined rpm is reached; thus decreasing shock load to the drive wheels. Most drag races are won or lost based on Slider Clutch set-up. Most Slider Clutches utilize pneumatic timer control systems and centrifugal force to apply clutch disc pressure.

Slingshot: Dragster with cockpit behind rear wheels. This is an old term use by drag racers in the early years of the sport.

Speed Trap: Final 66 feet to the finish line where speed is recorded.

Spoiler: Aerodynamic device that is usually located on the trunk lid area of vehicle, this device increases downforce, which improves traction and vehicle stability.

Stage: Positioning front wheels correctly on the starting line so the small yellow lights below the pre-stage lights are illuminated. Once both drivers are properly staged, the calibrated countdown can begin.

Staging: Area of racetrack that leads to racing surface, where drag cars line up or paired up before making a run down the strip.

Throttle Stop: Throttle stop device is connected to the accelerator linkage, system then actuates a timed pneumatic closure of the induction system, thus shutting down the motor at a particular point during the run before returning to full power.

A simpler explanation: A throttle limiting device that reduces RPMs during a burnout or a run.

TIG: Tungsten Inert Gas arc welding. A separate filler rod and torch. This welding system works the best on chrome moly or mild-steel.

Transbrake: A transbrake allows a drag car to remain stationary even though the motor is under power. It functions by engaging 1st and reverse gear at the same time. Since both gears have the exact same ratio, but in opposite directions, the drag car cannot move. Transbrake can be released with a conveniently located button, which releases reverse gear. Transbrakes can be very hard on transmissions, but they get the job done.

Wedge: Engine combustion chamber design resembling a wedge shape.

Weight Transfer: Drag cars are set up to provide a desired weight transfer to rear wheels. When acceleration occurs, the front wheels lift and weight shifts to rear wheels, which makes them less likely to spin, this is critical to proper traction and lower elapse times.

Wicker Bill: A long, narrow spoiler made of steel, aluminum or carbon fiber on the trailing edge of the rear spoiler which varies in height, creating downforce. Teams will use different sized wicker bills to create more or less downforce. The larger (higher) the wicker bill, the greater the downforce, and vice versa for smaller wicker bills.

Windscreen: Deflects wind and debris from driver.

Wheelie Bars: Bars with approved wheels to prevent excessive front wheel lift. Pro Stock tuners will paint white shoe polish on the wheelie wheels, this will indicate how well the car launches via the white stripes left behind on the track.

Wing: Aerodynamic device that is mounted where airflow passes over and under the device. Used to create downforce, which improves traction and vehicle stability.





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