-One Top Fuel dragster's 500-inch
Hemi makes more horsepower then the first 8 rows at the NASCAR
-Under full throttle, a dragster
engine consumes 1 1/2 gallons of nitro per second, the same rate
of fuel consumption as a fully loaded 747 but with 4 times the
-The supercharger takes more
power to drive then a stock hemi makes.
-Even with nearly 3000 CFM of
air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel
mixture is compressed into nearly solid form before ignition.
Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock.
-Dual magnetos apply 44 amps
to each spark plug. This is the output of an arc welder in each
-At stoichiometric (exact) 1.7:1
air/fuel mixture (for nitro), the flame front of nitromethane
measures 7050 degrees F.
-Nitromethane 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.
-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 off its fuel flow.
-If spark momentarily fails early
in the run, unburned nitro builds up in those cylinders and then
explodes with a force that can blow cylinder heads off the block
in pieces or blow the block in half.
-Dragsters twist the crank (torsionally)
so far (20 degrees in the big end of the track) that sometimes
cam lobes are ground offset from front to rear to re-phase the
valve timing somewhere closer to synchronization with the pistons.
-To exceed 300mph in 4.5 seconds
dragsters must accelerate at an average of over 4G's. But in
reaching 200 mph well before 1/2 track, launch acceleration is
closer to 8G's.
-On the tracks with shorter shorter
shut-down area, many drivers shut off before the finish line,
or even dual parachutes will not stop the car.
-If all the equipment is paid
off, the crew worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP,
each run costs $1000.00 per second.
-Dragsters reach over 300 miles
per hour before you have read this sentence.