Racing 101

Bracket Racing 101: What is It and How Does it Work?

Drag Radials Explained

How a Top Fuel Dragster Works

What You REALLY Should Know About Racing Fuel

Drag Racing, 1st Day on 2 Step

Drag Racing Practice Tree

What is a Junior Dragster?


Drag Racing Glossary Of Terms

From Wikipedia – Terms in BOLD are often used at our local tracks.
  • Back half—distance from the 1/8 mile mark to the 1,000 foot and 1/4 mile mark of the track.
  • Beam—starting line electric eye controlling prestaged and staged lights.
  • Bottle—nitrous system; also known as the jug.
  • Box – a group of cars called to the staging area that have “Delay Boxes” or “Trans-brake” delay timers.  The “No Box” group does not have the delay timers.
  • Blanket—a ballistic cover, typically over the supercharged intake manifold assembly to contain shrapnel, in the case of an explosion.
  • Blow—supercharge; wreck. Said of an engine.
  • Blower—supercharger (occasionally turbocharger); in ’90s, generally grouped as “power adder” with turbocharger and nitrous.
  • Blown—supercharged; wrecked. Said of an engine.
  • Blowover—flipping of a car, due to air under car lifting front wheels. Commonly suffered by dragsters.
  • Breakout—running quicker than dial-in; also “breaking out.” In many classes (Competition Eliminator is the major exception), it is grounds for disqualification if opponent does not commit a foul start, cross boundary lines, or breaks out by a larger margin.
  • Burnout—performed to heat the tires up for better traction.
  • Christmas tree (or tree)—lights used to start a race in addition to showing starting violations.
  • DA—density altitude; a reference to qualities in the air.
  • Delay Box – is a common slang term used in drag racing to describe an on-board timer which is a Transmission Brake Delay Timer.
  • Dial-in (bracket racing)—estimated of expected e.t. for a pass, set before starting, used for handicapping the start.
  • Diaper—an absorbent containment blanket under the engine to prevent/reduce oil contact with the track, in the event of parts breakage.
  • Door-slammer– a group race cars, usually sedan bodied, that still have functional doors for driver access to the vehicle.
  • Dope—(Southern U.S.) car using nitrous or propane injection on diesels.
  • Digger—dragster (as distinct from a bodied car or flopper).
  • First or worst-if both drivers commit a foul, the driver who commits the foul first loses, unless it is two separate fouls, where the loser is the driver who committed the worse foul (lane violation is worse than foul start, and failure to participate in a post-run inspection is worst).
  • Flopper—Funny Car, short for “fender flopper.” Coined by dragster crews in the late 1960s to separate Funny Cars, which had fiberglass bodies with fenders, from dragsters. Erroneously attributed to flip-top bodies of Funny Cars.
  • Fuel—mix of methanol and nitromethane (“pop,” nitro).
  • Fueler—any car running fuel or in Fuel class (most often, TFD or TF/FC)
  • Grenade—wreck an engine (the engine “grenaded”) due to internal failure. Distinct from “popping a blower”.
  • Heads-up racing—where both drivers leave at the same time. Used in all professional (“pro”) classes.
  • Holeshot—getting a significant advantage off the starting line. The other driver gets “holeshotted” or “left at the tree”. A “holeshot win” is any win in a heads-up class where a slower car beats a faster car because of better reaction time.
  • Hook up—good traction between tires and track resulting in increased acceleration and reduced slipping or smoking of tires.
  • James Bond—driver’s reaction time (when he leaves the start line) is seven thousands of a second after the green light (.007). A “James Bond Red” is a reaction time of -.007 seconds (red light), which is disqualification unless the opponent commits a more serious violation.
  • Jr. Dragster -A half-scale version of a Top Fuel dragster designed to be driven by kids ages 8-17 in the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League.
  • Kit—turbo or nitrous kit.
  • Lit the tires—lost traction, causing burning rubber.
  • Meth—methanol injection used in conjunction with gasoline (non-leaded pump).
  • Mill—any internal combustion engine used in a drag car, or hot rod.
  • Nitro—nitromethane (sometimes incorrectly used to refer to nitrous oxide).
  • Nitrous—nitrous oxide system; the gas used in such a system.
  • Overdrive—ratio between the revolutions of the supercharger to the revolutions of the engine, controlling amount of boost; see underdrive
  • Oildown—when a car’s engine or lubrication breaks during a run, leaving a streak of oil and other fluids on the track. This is punishable by fines, point penalties, and/or suspension.
  • Pedalfest—race won by pedalling; or poor track conditions that necessitate pedalling
  • Pedalling—working the throttle to avoid lighting the tires, or as a way to sandbag; “pedalled” it, had to “pedal” it
  • Pro tree—timing lights which flash all three yellow lights simultaneously, and after four tenths of a second, turn green.
  • Put on the trailer—lost (got “put on the trailer”) or won (put the other driver on the trailer). From the obvious, losing drivers trailer their cars home.
  • Quick 8 (Q8)—quickest eight cars in a defined race. Rules appear to differ per location/race.
  • Rail—dragster (as distinct from bodied car or flopper). From the exposed frame rails of early cars.
  • Redlight(ed)—jump(ed) the start, left before tree turned green. This is a loss unless the opponent commits a more serious foul.
  • Red Cherry-jump(ed) the start, left before the tree turned green.
  • Sandbagging—releasing the throttle or using the brakes at the end of the track during a bracket race after dialing a purposely slow time. Considered a dirty trick or tantamount to cheating in amateur classes.
  • Scattershield—metal sheet protecting driver in case of transmission failure.
  • Slapper bar—traction bar
  • Slicks—rear tires with no tread pattern and softer rubber compound, for increased traction
  • Slingshot—early front-engined dragster, named for the driving position behind the rear wheels (erroneously attributed to launch speed).
  • Standard tree—timing lights which flash in sequence five tenths of a second between each yellow light before turning green. Traditional form, before introduction of pro tree.
  • Struck the tires—loss of traction, causing them to smoke.
  • Throttle Stop – a device that is controlled by a timer that closes the throttle to slow the car down to the index (i.e dial in).
  • Throw a belt—losing the drive belt connecting the engine’s crankshaft to the supercharger.
  • Top end—finish line of strip; high part of engine’s rev band.
  • Traction bars—rear struts fixed to rear axle to keep rear axle from twisting, causing wheel hop and loss of traction; slapper bars.
  • Transbrake – a mechanism that selectively places the transmission in first and reverse gears simultaneously, effectively holding the race car stationary as if the foot brake was applied.
  • Trap(s)—the 20 meter (66 ft) timing lights at top end of race track to measure speed & E.T.
  • Trap speed— is the speed measured by the 60 foot speed trap near the finish line, indicating maximum speed reached in a run.
  • Wheel hop—violent shaking of the car as the tires lose and regain traction in quick succession.
  • Wheelie bars—rear struts fixed to rear axle, which protrude out to rear of car to help prevent car’s front from raising too high or flipping over on launch.