How To Get Into Drag Racing
Drag racing has probably been around since the wheel was invented. It’s racing in its most simple form: Get from Point A to Point B faster than the other guy. If you’ve just purchased a project car and want to hone your skills at the track, follow these simple tips to get started. Just remember: Do all your racing at your local drag strip. Street racing is for asshats.
Anything with wheels and a motor can drag race, from a lowly Geo Metro to a Dodge Challenger Hellcat and anything in between. If you want to get serious about drag racing, we recommend that you have at least one other car for daily driving. Racing your daily can and will leave you stranded.
Next, you’ll have to decide how fast you want to go. If you’ve gone with the traditional rear-wheel drive V8 car, you can usually boost the power up to around 500 horsepower before you’ll have to start changing out your stock parts for stronger ones that can handle the power, from the engine internals to the transmission and all the way back to the driveshaft, rear-end and axles. None of this will be cheap, and if you cut corners by buying cheap stuff, it’s just going to let you down.
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Although it’s a simple sport, drag racing can be extremely dangerous without proper attention to safety. You should always have a coolant overflow bottle for your radiator, seatbelts or a harness, a hold-down for the battery, and a neutral safety switch at the very least. Once your car starts running the quarter mile faster than 11.5″, you should at least invest in a roll bar, and anything faster than 10″ will get you kicked out if you don’t have a full roll cage and a window net. It should also go without saying that you should wear a helmet at all times, and you can invest in a fire-resistant racing suit to be even safer.
Always bring a jack with jack stands, an impact wrench, an air compressor, a tire pressure gauge, and a tool box to the drag strip. You’ll be pushing your car to its very limits, so breaking something is inevitable. Having the proper tools with you in the pit can mean the difference between packing up and heading home or getting back out there on the track.
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Keep in mind that you’re getting into drag racing to have fun. You probably won’t ever win enough money to offset the cost of running, fixing, and upgrading your drag car. Be respectful to everyone at the track and don’t be a sore loser; use it as an opportunity to learn from the veterans. As long as you’re safe and respect the rules of the track, drag racing will be a rewarding experience and make you a better driver in no time.