Galen Wolffit (wolffit) wrote,
Galen Wolffit
wolffit

And now for something far more interesting...

Top Fuel Dragster Facts
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic inch (8.4 Liter) engine makes more horsepower
than the first 4 rows at the Daytona 500.

* Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1-1/2 gallons of
nitromethane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same
rate with 25% less energy being produced.

* For perspective, a stock Dodge "Hemi" V8 engine cannot produce enough power to TURN the
dragsters supercharger (an air pump that fits on top of the engine).

* 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 (stoichiometry: methodology and technology by which
quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions are determined)
1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitromethane the flame front temperature
measures 7,050 degrees F.

* Nitromethane 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 half 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 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
this sentence.

* Top Fuel Engines turn only around 540 revolutions from start to finish!

* Including the burnout the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under
load.

* The redline is actually quite high at 9500rpm.

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:
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 past 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 1320 foot long race course.

That is all.

- Keman
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