Top Fuel

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Top Fuel racing is a class of drag racing in which the cars are run on a mix of approximately 90% nitromethane and 10% methanol (also known as racing alcohol) rather than gasoline or simply methanol. The cars are purpose-built for drag racing, with an exaggerated layout that in some ways resembles open-wheel circuit racing vehicles. However, top fuel dragsters are much longer, much narrower, and are equipped with large tires in back and small tires in front, all in order to maximize their straight-line acceleration and speed. Top fuel dragsters are the fastest category of drag racers, with the fastest competitors reaching speeds of 333 mph and finishing quarter mile (402 m) runs in less than 4.5 seconds. The raw speed and power of these cars is such that, at some events, races are run over 1000-foot (304m) distances rather than the traditional 1320 foot quarter mile, particularly when races are held at locations with insufficient room for cars to slow down after having completed the race. A top fuel dragster accelerates from a standstill to 100 mph (160 km/h) in as little as 0.7 seconds (less than one fifth the time required by a production Porsche 911 Turbo to reach 60 mph) and can exceed 280 mph (450 km/h) in just 660 feet (0.2 km). This acceleration subjects the driver to a maximum force of about 5.7 G. Before their run, racers often perform a burnout in order to clean and heat tires. Additionally, the burnout applies a layer of fresh rubber to the track surface, which greatly improves traction during launch. A burnout may cover up to one quarter of the track's distance. At maximum throttle and RPM, the exhaust gases escaping from a dragster's open headers produce about 800-1000 pounds (3.6 kilonewtons) of downforce. The massive foil over and behind the rear wheels produces much more, peaking at around 12,000 lbf (53 kN) when the car reaches a speed of about 324 mph (521 km/h). The engine of a Top Fuel dragster generates 120 dB of sound at full throttle, enough to cause physical pain in some individuals. A sound that intense is not just heard, but also felt as pounding vibrations all over one's body, leading many to compare the experience of watching a Top Fuel dragster make a pass to 'feeling as though the entire drag strip is being bombed'. Prior to a run, race announcers usually advise spectators to cover or plug their ears. Ear plugs and even earmuffs are often handed out to fans at the entrance of a Top Fuel event. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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