The Slow car
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Date Posted: 12:49:35 12/01/10 Wed
DEFINITION OF ACCELERATION
One top fuel dragster 500 cubic-inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than
the first 4 rows of stock cars at the Daytona 500 It takes just 15/100ths
of a second for all 6,000+ horsepower of an NHRA Top Fuel dragster engine to
reach the rear wheels. 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
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
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 for, 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 4.428 seconds for the quarter mile
(11/12/06, Tony Schumacher, at Pomona, CA ). The top speed record is 336.15
mph as measured over the last 66' of the run (05/25/05 Tony Schumacher, at
Hebron, OH). Putting all of this into perspective:
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 start. 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