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· Super Moderator
758 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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 four rows at the Daytona 500.

* Under full throttle, a Top Fuel dragster engine
consumes 1 gallon 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 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

* 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

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

* 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 if,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=20
from where you just passed him.

Think about it, from a standing start, the
dragster had spotted you 200 mph and not only
caught you, but nearly blasted you off the road when
he passed you within a mere 1320 foot long race course.

That, folks, is acceleration .

· Super Duper Member
248 Posts
Think about it, from a standing start, the
dragster had spotted you 200 mph and not only
caught you, but nearly blasted you off the road when
he passed you within a mere 1320 foot long race course.

That, folks, is acceleration .
That's pretty crazy to picture in your mind. Wow!!

· Back to Civilian Life!!
2,454 Posts
Those facts are awesome and kind of insane when you think about them and actually put through your mind how fast they really are.

· OEM Moderator
10,051 Posts
A very informative post.


· AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs
14,127 Posts
I would drop-kick both of ya.

· The Unseen Mod
4,535 Posts
OH He'll catch you pretty Quick Gene you have to drink that chocolate milk sometime :hehe: :hehe: :hehe: As for Richard I give him 100ft before he inhales that donut. :hehe: :hehe: :hehe:

· Body Type: MULE
1,880 Posts

Could you explain what is is ment by when you say that the engine is only supposed to last or live 900 revolutions under full load.

I guess I am confused as to what that means.


· --------
420 Posts
3 or 4 seconds of burnout and 4.5 seconds of the race means the motor only turns 900 revolutions under hard throttle. This doesn't take into account the revs while idling.

· Registered
59 Posts
I got into a slight argument with a pilot on the USS Nimitz years ago when I was in Highschool and we got a tour of the air craft carrier.

The pilot was explaining the catapult system on the ship, and how the steam catapults launch the aircraft into the air at about 4 G's.

I replied "Is that all?", and and he goes on about how its the hardest acceleration etc etc and I proceeded to give him the heads up about 6-8 G launchs that top fuel cars do.
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