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Top Fuel Dragster Facts...

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ACCELERATION PUT INTO PERSPECTIVE

* One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic-inch Hemi engine
makes more horsepower (8,000 HP) than the first 4 rows of cars at the Daytona 500.

* Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes
11.2 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 merely drive the dragster's supercharger.

* 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.

* At the stoichiometric 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for
nitro methane the 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,
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 1/2 way, the engine is dieseling from compression plus
the glow of exhaust valves at 1400 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 block in pieces or split
the block in half.

* Dragsters reach over 300 MPH before you have
completed reading this sentence.

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

* Top Fuel engines turn approximately 540
revolutions from ! light to light!

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

* The redline is actually quite high at 9500 RPM.

* THE BOTTOM LINE: Assuming all the equipment is
paid off, the crew worked for free, & for once, NOTHING BLOWS UP, each
run costs an estimated $1,000 per second.

0 to 100 MPH in .8 seconds (the first 60 feet of the run)
0 to 200 MPH in 2.2 seconds (the first 350 feet of the run)
6 g-forces at the starting line (nothing accelerates faster on land)
6 negative g-forces upon deployment of twin ‘chutes at 300 MPH
An NHRA Top Fuel Dragster accelerates quicker than any other land vehicle on earth quicker than a jet fighter plane . . . quicker than the space shuttle.

The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time record is
4.420 seconds for the quarter-mile (2004, Doug Kalitta). The
top speed record is 337.58 MPH as measured over the last 66'
of the run (2005, Tony Schumacher).

Putting this all 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 & 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 & pass the
dragster at an honest 200 MPH. The 'tree' goes green for both of
you at that moment.

The dragster launches & starts after you. You keep
your foot down hard, but you hear an incredibly brutal whine that sears
your eardrums & within 3 seconds the dragster catches & 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 & not only caught, but nearly blasted you off the road
when he passed you within a mere 1320 foot long race!

That's acceleration !
 

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Spec -

I can candidly say that everything you wrote there was news to me. Most of it is astonishing.

Thanks!

T
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Spec -

I can candidly say that everything you wrote there was news to me. Most of it is astonishing.

Thanks!

T

I just copied it from a Google search. It's fairly old but still quite impressive! I too don't tire of reading it.
 

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Ha, someone should do a KLR comparison! That was astonishing info, thanks for passing it along.
 

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Wow. I had no idea. Thanks for posting that.
 

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Cool stuff. I find most car racing excruciatingly boring, but I can watch drag racing all day, especially the nitro burners. Thanks for posting this. Very interesting piece.

I kind of take Fact #2 with a grain of salt, though. A 747 under full throttle (think takeoff) produces about 30,000HP per engine, for a total of 120,000HP, which is a pretty good basic measure of "energy." Turbofan engines are generally rated by "thrust" rather than "horsepower," but I just had to look up the HP numbers on the 747.

The "Putting This All Into Perspective" part at the end was pretty impressive. Again, thanks.
 

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The whole thing was amazing, but there were two things that I foudn astounding and can't get my head around:


* Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes
11.2 gallons of nitro methane per second; a fully loaded 747
consumes jet fuel at the same rate with 25% less energy being produced.


11.2 gallons per second! Gee whiz, how do they manage that?!


* 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.


I'm not a drag racing fan, but the level of engineering that's going on here is simply impressive.


T
 

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I really can't think of any other motorsport where the technologies, capabilities and results have increased so exponentially as in drag racing. It truly is remarkable.
 

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I really can't think of any other motorsport where the technologies, capabilities and results have increased so exponentially as in drag racing. It truly is remarkable.
I do remember people poo-pooing drag racing, as it was said that there was no future in it once they acheived 1g of acceleration, as it wasn't possible to accelerate faster than that.

T
 

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* Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes
11.2 gallons of nitro methane per second; a fully loaded 747
consumes jet fuel at the same rate with 25% less energy being produced....
Ah! I did some poking at that number. I believe it is an ASCII cut and paste error. The correct number is 1 1/2 gallons per second.

Hell, my KLR could consume oil at that rate....

I'm still impressed.


T
 

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Buried somewhere in this house is a bright yellow "First In The Fours" Eddie and Ercie Hill t-shirt I bought at a Supershops auto store in Tacoma, WA back in 1988. I'm not an NHRA fanatic so don't know why I kept it besides it seeming "historic."

I don't know if it's lore, or fact, but I've heard one of the cylinders went out shortly after the run started and he did it on just 7 cylinders. Wonder if anybody will ever go below 3 seconds? Is it even possible?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I went to the NHRA site and found more!


FUN FACTS

Did you know …

… that the nitromethane-powered engines of NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars produce approximately 7,000 horsepower, about 37 times that of the average street car?

… that one cylinder of the eight cylinders of a Top Fuel dragster or a Funny Car produces 750 horsepower, equaling the entire horsepower output of a NASCAR engine?

… that the gasoline-powered engines of NHRA Pro Stock cars produce about 1,200 horsepower, about eight times that of the average street car?

… that an NHRA Top Fuel dragster accelerates from 0 to 100 mph in less than .8-second, almost 11 seconds quicker than it takes a production Porsche 911 Turbo to reach the same speed?

… that an NHRA Top Fuel dragster leaves the starting line with a force nearly five times that of gravity, the same force of the space shuttle when it leaves the launching pad at Cape Canaveral?

… that an NHRA Funny Car is slowed by a reverse force more than seven times that of gravity when both parachutes deploy simultaneously?

… that NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars consume between four and five gallons of fuel during a quarter-mile run, which is equivalent to between 16 and 20 gallons per mile?

… that NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars use between 10 and 12 gallons of fuel for a complete pass, including the burnout, backup to the starting line, and quarter-mile run?

… that NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars travel the length of more than four football fields in less than five seconds?

… that NHRA Top Fuel dragsters can exceed 280 mph in just 660 feet?

… that from a standing start, NHRA Top Fuel dragsters accelerate faster than a jumbo jet, a fighter jet, and a Formula One race car?

… that a fuel pump for an NHRA Top Fuel dragster and Funny Car delivers 65 gallons of fuel per minute, equivalent to eight bathroom showers running at the same time?

… that the fuel-line pressure for NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars is between 400 and 500 pounds, about 20 times greater than the pressure on passenger-car fuel pumps?

… that depending on size and angle, the large rear wing on an NHRA Top Fuel dragster develops between 4,000 and 8,000 pounds of downforce?

… that the 17-inch rear tires used on NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars wear out after four to six runs, or about two miles? Some brands of passenger-car tires are guaranteed for 80,000 miles.

… that it takes just 15/100ths of a second for all 7,000 horsepower of an NHRA Top Fuel dragster engine to reach the rear wheels?

… that it's desirable for an NHRA Top Fuel dragster to race with its front wheels inches off the ground for about the first 200 feet of the run? This ensures proper weight transfer to the rear wheels, a crucial part of a good launch and quick run.

… that the nitromethane used to power the engines of NHRA Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars costs about $16 per gallon?

Sources: NHRA Communications and Technical Departments, NHRA race teams, motorsports equipment manufacturers
 

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I went to the NHRA site and found more!


FUN FACTS

Did you know …


… that one cylinder of the eight cylinders of a Top Fuel dragster or a Funny Car produces 750 horsepower, equaling the entire horsepower output of a NASCAR engine?


Sources: NHRA Communications and Technical Departments, NHRA race teams, motorsports equipment manufacturers
Can't wait to point this one out to the NASCAR fanatic at work. Thanks.
 
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