Drag racing terms
|Used primarily on Pro Stock Motorcycles, it settles "negative air" around carburetors the way a hood scoop does on a car.
|The same as a wing — a stabilizer, generally used to create downforce, which increases stability and tire-to-track adherence at high speeds.
|When a driver lets off the throttle to regain traction or to avoid or stop tire shake.
Bang the blower
|An explosion inside the supercharger caused by a flame from the combustion process accidentally re-entering the supercharger, where fuel and air are present. Generally caused by a stuck or broken intake valve that normally would be closed during the combustion sequence.
|Used only in handicap racing. Refers to a vehicle running quicker than the racer has predicted, or “dialed.” The racer who breaks out loses unless his or her opponent breaks out by more or commits a more serious foul, such as leaving too soon (see “Foul Start”) or crossing the centerline.
|The bottom spot in the field, usually the No. 16 qualifying position. Also called the “bubble.”
|When a racer is moved from a higher qualifying position to a lower one after another competitor improves.
|When a cylinder runs lean (too much air in the air-to-fuel mixture) and excessive heat burns or melts the piston.
|Spinning the rear tires in water before a run to heat and clean them and put rubber on the track for better traction.
|Also called the Tree, the electronic starting device between the lanes on the starting line.
|Short for parachute, this device helps slow the car at the end of a run.
|The bell-shaped housing, or bellhousing, used to encase the clutch and flywheel.
|The progression of clutch-disc engagement controlled by an air-timer management system.
|To roll a few inches farther into the stage beam, indicated by the pre-stage lights on the Christmas Tree turning off. In that position, a racer is closer to the finish line and also closer to a foul start (red-light).
|Used in Super Stock and Stock, when a driver selects, or dials, an elapsed time quicker than the national index. Drivers select a dial-under, or e.t., that they think their car will run based on previous performance.
|An absorbent blanket made from ballistic material, often Kevlar, that surrounds the oil pan to contain oil and parts in case of an engine explosion; required for Top Fuel, Funny Car, Top Alcohol Dragster, and Top Alcohol Funny Car.
|Another word for dragster.
|Did not qualify.
|When a cylinder runs too rich (too much fuel in the air/fuel mixture) and prevents the spark plug(s) from firing.
|When a spark plug fails to ignite, substantially decreasing total power output by the engine. A dropped cylinder is often distinguishable by raw fuel spewing from an exhaust header.
Elapsed Time (e.t.)
|The time it takes a vehicle to travel from the starting line to the finish line.
|The portion of an event that determines a race winner, usually Sunday. Vehicles are raced two at a time, resulting in one winner and one loser. Winners continue to race in a tournament-style competition until only one remains.
|Another word for a Funny Car.
|Also known as a red-light. When a vehicle leaves the starting line before the green light, indicated by the red light on the Tree. When a foul start occurs in eliminations, the racer is eliminated from further competition at the event (unless his or her opponent commits a worse infraction). A red-light in qualifying has no impact on the racer’s attempt; his or her time still counts toward qualifying for the event.
|Used in Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Top Dragster, and Top Sportsman for which a handicap starting system equalizes competition. The three amber lights flash consecutively five-tenths of a second apart, followed five-tenths later by the green light.
|Path of traction laid down by other vehicles that have gone down the racetrack; for example, “in the groove.”
|The head start given to the slower car in a race featuring two vehicles of varying performance potentials. Used in Comp, Super Stock, Stock, Top Dragster, and Top Sportsman.
A fine-tuned exhaust system that routes exhaust from the engine; replaces conventional exhaust manifolds
|A Hemi engine has a hemispherical shaped cylinder-head combustion chamber, like a ball cut in half
|Tire; for example, “He was smokin’ the hides.”
|When a racer with an e.t. slower than that of his or her opponent wins an eliminations round because he or she had a better reaction time, or left the starting line first.
|When a cylinder fills with too much fuel, thus prohibiting compression by the cylinder and causing a mechanical malfunction, usually an explosive one
|An e.t. assigned by NHRA as a predictor of performance for vehicles in that class. Indexes allow various classes of cars in the same eliminator to race competitively.
|Elapsed time clocks at 60, 330, 660, and 1,000 feet that record the e.t. from the starting line to those intervals.
|When a car gets out of the groove; for example, “He got loose at about 60 feet.”
|Gas pedal or throttle.
|Pure methyl alcohol produced by synthesis; used in some Top Alcohol Dragsters and all Top Alcohol Funny Cars.
|Known as “nitro,” CH3NO2 is the result of a chemical reaction between nitric acid and propane. Primary fuel for Top Fuel dragsters, Funny Cars, and injected nitro dragsters in Top Alcohol Dragster.
|When a race car deposits oil from the engine onto the racing surface, causing a delay.
On the Trailer
|Where a race car is put after losing or not qualifying; for example, “He was on the trailer after round one.”
|When a racer is approximately 7 inches behind the starting line and the top half of the circle of small blue lights atop his or her side of the Christmas Tree is illuminated.
|Used in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street, and Pro Mod, all of which feature heads-up (no handicap) competition. The three large amber lights flash simultaneously, followed four-tenths of a second later by the green light.
|Another name for a dragster.
|The time it takes for a vehicle’s front tires to clear the staging beam after the green light comes on; measured in fractions of a second. A perfect reaction time is .000.
|See “Foul Start.”
|A team of men and women responsible for transporting equipment from race to race, preparing and maintaining the racing surface, and providing support in an emergency. The NHRA Safety Safari is presented by AAA.
|Located beyond the shutdown area; used to help stop errant race cars.
|Area past the finish line where race vehicles come to a stop and racers are picked up by their crews.
|The time it takes a vehicle to cover the first 60 feet of the racetrack. It is the most accurate measure of the launch from the starting line and is the interval most critical to a quick e.t.
|Racing tire that does not have tread.
|A multi-disc clutch designed to slip until a predetermined rpm is reached; decreases shock load to the drive wheels.
Smoked the Tires
|When a car loses traction; also “blew the tires off” or “hazed the tires.”
|The final 66 feet to the finish line where speed is calculated.
|When the front wheel or wheels of the vehicle are on the starting line. Once the racer is staged, the calibrated countdown of the amber lights leading to the green starting light may begin anytime.
|Slang term for the finish line.
|A crank-driven air/fuel-mixture compressor, also called a blower. It increases atmospheric pressure in the engine to produce more horsepower.
|Official NHRA trophy.
|Given to the racer or crew after a run, it lists the reaction time, interval times, elapsed time, and speed.
|A severe vibration that usually occurs at the beginning of the run and is the result of losing traction.
|A racer whose reaction time is significantly slower than an opponent’s is said to have been Treed.
|An exhaust-driven intake air compressor (see supercharger).
|NHRA founder (1913-2007), for whom The Wally is named.
|An engine with a combustion chamber resembling a wedge in shape
|Critical to traction. Vehicles are set up to provide a desired weight transfer to the rear wheels. Upon acceleration, the front wheels lift and the weight shifts to the rear wheels, which makes them less likely to spin.
|Used to prevent excessive front-wheel lift.