A friend sent this to me. While it's not about Camaro's of Firebirds, I
thought we might have a few Drag race fans here that would enjoy this.
A LESSON IN ACCELERATION:
First, some useful info:
* One NHRA Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more
horsepower than all the cars in the first 4 rows at the Daytona 500.
* Under full throttle, a Top Fuel dragster engine consumes 1½ 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 426 Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to 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 lock at full throttle.
* At the stoichiometric 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. This is the output of
an arc welder in each cylinder.
* 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 the
* 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 at
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 this sentence.
* 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 off, the crew
worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs an
estimated $1,000.00 per second. The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time
record is 4.441 seconds for the quarter mile (10/05/03, Tony Schumacher).
The top speed record is 333.00 mph (533 km/h) as measured over the last
66' of the run (09/28/03 Doug Kalitta).
Putting all of this into perspective for you bikers: You are riding the
average $250,000 Honda MotoGP bike. 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 RC211V hard up
through the gears and blast across the starting line and past the
dragster at an honest 200 mph (293 ft/sec). The 'tree'goes green for both
of you at that moment. The dragster launches and starts after you.
You keep your wrist cranked 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 1320 foot long race course.
That, folks, is acceleration