WHAT IS A DRAG RACE?
A drag race is a contest between two vehicles racing side by side in a straight line at a designated, controlled racetrack, usually on a quarter-mile. In most drag racing categories, the first vehicle to the finish line wins. In some cases, such as Jr. drag racing, the course is an eighth-mile instead of a quarter-mile.
A drag racing event is made up of a series of individual two-car races called eliminations. Winners of each two-car race advance until only one winner remains.
NHRA offers two types of drag racing: heads-up and handicap. Heads-up racing is the easiest to understand because both cars leave the starting line at the same time, and the first to cross the finish line wins. Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Top Alcohol Dragster, and Top Alcohol Funny Car race heads-up.
In handicap racing, the object of the game is to predict how many seconds it will take your car to get to the finish line, then try to run as close to that number as possible without going quicker, or "breaking out." The driver who comes closest is the winner. Handicap racing allows cars of different speeds to race one other because the slower car gets a head start. In some categories, the driver chooses his or her own handicap, or dial-in/dial-under. These are Super Stock, Stock, E.T. bracket, and Jr. Dragster classes. In other categories, the class handicap is predetermined and may not be changed. These classes are Comp, Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street. In Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street, breakout rules apply.
Electronic timing and speed sensing systems have been used to record race results since the 1960s.