Ever wonder why a Top Fuel dragster gets a rebuilt engine after each run?
Stay with this - even if you aren't a 'car nut', this is stunning.
* One Top Fuel dragster outfitted with a 500 cubic-inch replica Dodge
(actually Keith Black, etc) Hemi engine makes more horsepower (8,000 HP)
than the first 4 rows of cars at NASCAR's Daytona 500.
* Under full throttle, a dragster engine will consume 11.2 gallons of nitro
methane per second; a fully loaded Boeing 747 consumes jet fuel at the
same rate but with 25% less energy being produced.
* A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine (obviously not a Hellcat Hemi) 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 lockup at full throttle.
* At the stoichio metric 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. Which is typically the
output of a small electric arc welder in each cylinder.
* Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After 1/2 way
thru the run, the engine is 'dieseling' from compression and the glow of the
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 enough force to blow the cylinder
heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half !!
* Dragsters reach over 300 MPH+... before you have completed reading this
* In order to exceed 300 MPH in 3.7 seconds, a dragster must accelerate an
average of over 4 G's.
*In order to reach 200 MPH well before reaching half-track, at launch the
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
* The redline is actually quite high at 9500 RPM.
* THE BOTTOM LINE: Assuming all the equipment is paid for, the pit crew is
working for free, & NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run will cost 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…or snapping your fingers!!
The top speed record is 337.58 MPH as measured over the last 66' of the run
(2005, Tony Schumacher).
Let's now put this all into perspective:
Imagine this...........You are driving a new $120,000 Viper T/A.
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 Viper hard, on 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 exact moment. The dragster departs & starts
after you. You keep your foot buried hard to the floor, and suddenly you
hear an incredibly brutally screaming whine that sears and pummels your
eardrums & within a mere 3 seconds the dragster effortlessly 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.....and it not only caught, but nearly blasted you off
the planet when he passed you within a mere 1000 foot long race !!!!
That, my friends.....is acceleration!
- Author Unknown. Updated with latest NHRA record holder information and added the
quickest Gen 5 Viper for reference.