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Interesting facts about top fuel drag racing


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#1 NickAu

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 09:01 PM

-One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than the first 4 rows at the Daytona 500. They have over half again as much horsepower in one cylinder as a Dodge Viper has in all ten. No one has ever successfully run one long enough on a dyno to get a horsepower reading. Current estimates are right around 6,000 horsepower.

-Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1-1/2 gallons of nitro methane 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 supercharger. The fuel pump alone requires more horsepower to turn than the average street car produces.

-With 3000 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 throttle.

-The 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitro methane produces a flame front temperature measures 7050 degrees F.

-Nitro methane burns yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, disassociated from atmospheric water vapour 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 the run, the engine is dieseling from compression plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1400 degrees F. The engine can only be shut down by running the car out of fuel. There is no way to cut off the fuel; the engine stops only when it blows or the tank runs dry.

-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 block in 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. To put this in perspective; a top fuel dragster, parked next to a Super Hornet on the steam catapult on the deck of an aircraft carrier, would be in the water and sinking before the Super Hornet was halfway down the deck.

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

-Top Fuel Engines only turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to light!

-Including the burnout, the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under load. They only survive about 80% of the time.

-Redline at 9500 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 second.

-The engine is entirely rebuilt every run, or every 900 revolutions. New pistons and rings, new rods, new rod bearings. Sometimes a new crank. The crew does this in about two hours between rounds.

-The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.441 seconds for the quarter mile. The top speed record is 333.00 mph (533 km/h) as measured over the last 66' of the run.

-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 1320 foot long race course.



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#2 VraiChevalier

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 07:44 AM

Fascinating information! Thanks for posting this NickAu


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#3 mjd420nova

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 01:03 PM

In todays NHRA, due to the high number of accidents involving cars in the run off areas at the end of the track, the measured distance is 1,000 feet versus the quarter mile of 1,320 feet.  This reduces the top speed, decreases the ET, now under four seconds, and allows for a longer run off area.



#4 Condobloke

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 02:45 PM

and seeing Nick also originated from this area......

 

http://www.speedwayandroadracehistory.com/sydney-castlereagh-dragstrip.html


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#5 NickAu

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 03:23 PM

To me drag racing is over a quarter mile 1320 feet not 1000, a sub 4 second pass over 1000 feet means well not much, all the records set over a 1/4 mile stand.



#6 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 07:39 PM

Not built for endurance then !

 

If it's any consolation you don't need nitro-methane to blow the cylinder heads off, ordinary petrol will do just as well if it happens to be a diesel engine and your local refinery makes a small mistake. A haulage company I once worked for had 3.500 gallons of petrol delivered instead of diesel early one morning. Scratch one 6 cylinder diesel engine, and he hadn't even got out the yard !  At least the fuel company paid for the repairs.

 

It does sound more exciting than clogging around Europe with 40 tonnes at a limited 90 km/h though !  ( 57 mph for the non-metric types )

 

Chris Cosgrove






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