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Drag Racing

In drag racing, the objective is to complete a certain distance, traditionally ¼ mile (400 m) (though 1/8 mile {200m} has become popular since the 1990s), in the shortest possible time.

The vehicles range from the everyday car to the purpose-built dragster. Speeds and elapsed time differ from class to class. Average street cars cover the ¼ mile in from 15 to 20 seconds whereas a top fuel dragster takes 4.5 seconds or less, reaching speeds of up to 530 km/h (330 mph).

Drag racing was organized as a sport by Wally Parks in the early 1950s through the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association), the largest motorsports sanctioning body in the world. The NHRA was formed to discourage street racing.

Launching, a top fuel dragster will accelerate at 4.5g (44m/s²), and when braking parachutes are deployed, the deceleration is 4g (39 m/s²), more than the Space Shuttle experiences. A top fuel car can be heard over 8 miles (13km) away and generate a reading of 1.5 to 2 on the Richter scale.

Drag racing is two cars head-to-head, the winner proceeding to the next round. Professional classes are all first to the finish line wins.

Sportsman racing is handicapped (slower car getting a head start) using an index (a lowest e.t. allowed), and cars running under (quicker than) their index "break out" and lose. The slowest cars, bracket racers, are also handicapped, but rather than an index, they use a "dial-in".

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