With the NHRA Winternationals in my backyard, I thought I'd pass this along.
a.. One Top Fuel dragster's 500-cubic-inch Hemi engine makes more
horsepower than the first four rows of the Daytona 500.
b.. A stock Dodge Hemi V-8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the
c.. 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.
d.. At the stoichiometric 1.7:1 air-fuel mixture for nitromethane, the
flame front temperature measures about 7000 degrees Fahrenheit.
e.. Nitromethane burn yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the
stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, separated from atmospheric water
vapor by the searing heat of the exhaust gases.
f.. The dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This output is
the equivalent of an arc welder in each cylinder.
g.. Spark plug electrodes can he totally consumed during a single pass.
After half-distance, the engine is dieseling from compression plus the glow
of exhaust valves at 1400 degrees Fahrenheit. The engine is shut down by
cutting the fuel flow.
h.. If a spark plug fails early in the run, unburned nitro can build up in
the affected cylinder and explode with sufficient force to blow the cylinder
head off in pieces or split the cylinder block in half.
i.. In order to exceed 300 mph in 4.5 seconds, Top Fuel dragsters must
accelerate at an average of more than 4 g's. In order to reach 200 mph
before half-distance, the launch acceleration approaches 8 g's. A Top Fuel
dragster reaches more than 300 mph before you have completed reading this
j.. With a redline that can be as high as 9500 rpm, Top Fuel engines turn
approximately 510 revolutions from light to light. Including the burnout,
the engine needs to survive only 900 revolutions under load.
k.. Assuming that oil of the equipment is paid off, the crew works gratis,
and nothing breaks, each run costs an estimated $1000 per second.
l.. The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.441 seconds for
the quarter-mile. (October 5, 2003, Tony Schumacher). The top speed record
is 333.25 mph as measured over the last 66 feet of the quarter mile November
9, 2003, Doug Kalitta).
a.. Putting all of this into perspective: you are driving the average
$140,000 Lingenfelter twin-turbo Corvette Z06. More than a mile up the
road, a Top Fuel dragster is staged and ready to launch down a measured
quarter-mile as you pass. You have the advantage of a flying start. You run
the Vette 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, but you hear a brutal whine that sears your ear drums, and within
three seconds, the dragster catches you and beats you to the finish line, a
quarter-mile from where you just passed him. From a standing start, the top
fueler spotted you 200 mph and not only caught you but nearly blasted you
off the road when he passed you within a mere 1320 feet.