Drag Racing

Beginners guide to Drag racing.

A Drag strip is made up of a 1/4 mile long piece of tarmac that has sensor place on it and various intervals capable of measuring the progress of the vehicle traveling on it. A set of lights known as the Christmas tree or simply ‘tree’ is used to guide the competitors into the correct position and to start the race. Once the two vehicles are in the correct position, or ‘staged’ the race can begin, a sequence of 3 vertical amber lights, shortly followed by a green will show, the race begins on the green.

Sensors placed along the length of the track record the times as the vehicle passes it, on the track at Crail Raceway we record:

  • RT Reaction time the time taken to leave the line from the green light coming on
  • 60′ Sixty foot time The time taken to cover the first 60 feet of the track
  • 1/8 ET – 1/8 Elapsed time – The time taken to cover 1/8 mile from leaving the start line.
  • 1/8 TV – 1/8 Terminal Velocity – The speed at which you cross the 1/8 mile.
  • ET Elapsed time The time taken to cover the 1/4 mile from leaving the start line
  • TV Terminal Velocity The speed at which you crossed the finish line.

The winner is the person that crosses the finish line first; this may not be the person that has the fastest ET; if you react faster than your opponent to the Christmas tree, you can score a ‘holeshot’ win.

Check out the official NHRA website for a useful glossary of drag racing terms.