View Full Version : Acceleration

04-19-2006, 01:34 PM
"Acceleration" Defined

One top fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than the first 4 rows of stock cars at the Daytona 500.

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's supercharger. With 3,000 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 (stoichiometry: methodology and technology by which
quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions are determined) 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture of nitro methane, the flame front temperature measures 7,050 deg 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 halfway, the engine is dieseling from compression, plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1,400 deg 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.

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.

Dragsters reach over 300 miles per hour before you have completed reading this sentence. 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 9,500 rpm. Assuming all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP,
each run costs an estimate $1,000.00 per second.

The current top fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.441 seconds forthe quarter mile (10/05/03, Tony Schumacher). The top speed record is 333.00
mph (533 km/h) as measured over the last 66' of the run (09/28/03 Doug Kalitta).

Putting all of this into perspective, picture this scenario: 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
You run the 'Vette hard up through the gears and blast across the starting line and pass 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 1,320 foot long race course.

... and that my friend, is ACCELERATION!

04-19-2006, 01:48 PM
I lived in South Carolina for a year and attended the Augusta Nationals Drag-boat races. Top fuel on water.....the 1st run had me standing, watching in awe and amazement at the shear display of power :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:

Although I have never seen top fuel cars, I hear it is even more impressive.

04-19-2006, 02:13 PM
I have been goin to the NHRA FRAM Nationals here in Nor Cal at "Sears Point" now Infineon Raceway for the past 8 years. I can say honestly that is the most intense display of power I have ever witnessed other than an air show. Just the sight of burning aluminum flying out of the headers, the burning of you eyes from the nitro, & the sheer explosion of sound during burnouts & take-off...WOW! It does it for me..Gotta love it!

04-19-2006, 02:27 PM
Power and $$$. It is amazing how many things in life this fits, but it is not how fast you "want to" or "can" go. It is how fast can you afford to go. That kind of power and speed takes awsome amounts of money :cool:

04-19-2006, 08:56 PM
Ok so I might be a red neck, but your rail cars are all fine and good.Here in the mid-west(and as far as I know, alot of other 'rural'areas) They take 4 or 5 of those engines, mount them every witch way but straight on this thing called a Modified Tractor, and pull a weighed seld down a 300 ft. dirt track!
Oh and the really wild ones mount a turbine engine or two just for fun!

Bowling Green Ohio hosts the NTPA Nationals every fall and I can promise anyone who loves horsepower, will be in love, once ya get past the dirt in your beer!!! Ya can set in lawnchairs about 40' from the tracks and the dirt flies alot farther than that!!

04-19-2006, 09:02 PM
Twieder, when ever I see or think about tractor pulls one thing comes to mind:


04-19-2006, 09:18 PM
Like they say about drag racing- "If you go straight, it's fun. If you don't, it's exciting".

04-19-2006, 09:52 PM
I heard once that the top fuel dragsters never really catch a grip going through the quater, and if they did grip when they left the green light the acceleration from 0-300 m.p.h would put enough G-force on them to kill them. I don't know weather this is true or not but another supossible statment about these amazing machines. The first I seen one run was in Gainsville, FL. and TV just does not do them justice.

Workin' 4 Toys
04-19-2006, 10:26 PM
As already mentioned, the nitro EYE BURN while in the pits is incredible. I have been going to Route 66 NHRA meets since it's opening.
I enjoy the pits more than the races, but I am sitting in the stands when I know they are rolling out the Funny cars and rails.
The power is so outrageous it blurs your vision for that 4 seconds.

04-19-2006, 11:50 PM
Is that the strip in/near Joliet?

04-20-2006, 12:41 AM
WOW, great facts, never knew how powerful they were.

04-20-2006, 12:43 AM
As already mentioned, the nitro EYE BURN while in the pits is incredible. I have been going to Route 66 NHRA meets since it's opening.
I enjoy the pits more than the races, but I am sitting in the stands when I know they are rolling out the Funny cars and rails.
The power is so outrageous it blurs your vision for that 4 seconds.

Serious power. :worthy: I remember the eye burn while watching from the fence near the starting line, about 100 feet away. How do the crew members and race officials at the starting line stand it? They are right next to or behind the dragster, and don't seem to be wearing any eye protection or gas masks. Do they just get used to it??? That stuff is like tear gas!