These are just some basic questions that we hear about drag racing and about the Mopar Challenge Series. Before racing, always refer to the NHRA Rule Book and the rules of the track you would like to race at.
You can also visit the tracks website: Drag racing made easy - http://www.abqdragway.com/id75.html
1. What is Drag Racing?
On a closed, sanctioned, track, known as a drag strip, two cars line up, side by side, and either start out together, or in some types, the slower car is given a head start. This is called bracket racing. See number 17 for information regarding the Challenge Series.
If a driver runs quicker than his or her dial, he or she is said to break out and is disqualified. If both drivers run quicker than their dials, the win goes to the driver who breaks out by the least. A foul start, or red-light, takes precedent over a breakout, so a driver who red-lights is automatically disqualified even if his or her opponent breaks out.
2. Who can race? Do I have to have a muscle car or a race car?
Anybody who meets the driver requirements can race, in any vehicle that can pass tech. All NHRA member tracks (like the ABQ Dragway) require that a driver have a valid state/government-issued driver's license. Learner's permits will not be accepted as a valid driver's license. In addition to a valid driver's license, some classes require that you have a valid NHRA driver's license as well. The Mopar Challenge does not require an NHRA driver's license unless your car runs speeds or time that requires one.
3. In drag racing what is a “tree?”
A “tree” is referring to the “Christmas Tree.” It is the cluster of red, yellow, and green lights that determine when the racers are going to take off. How fast a driver takes off on the green light is called the “reaction time.”
4. What is a hole shot?
A hole shot is when the driver only loses because of their reaction time. It is usually because the driver gets a bad reaction time and they lose by that much time.
5. Are street racing and drag racing the same thing?
No, street racing is just that - street racing, it is done on public roads with no safety equipment, safety personnel, etc, and is illegal. Drag racing is an official sport where you race at a closed, organized drag strip with all required safety equipment, safety staff, etc.
6. What modifications, if any, will I have to make to my car? Does the car have to have special race equipment like roll bars or wheel studs or anything like that?
Newer vehicles, which are more than welcome to race in the Challenge Series, normally have no special requirements.
Basic requirements: must have a battery hold-down; must have radiator overflow bottle; must have a working taillight if racing after dark; must have seat belts. These are the basics for street cars or cars running slower than 13.99. If you run faster than 13.99, refer to the NHRA rulebook. Long wheel studs are required if you run slicks.
7. Who needs slicks and who does not?
You only need slicks if your car has too much power to handle street tires.
8. What type of helmet do I need to race?
For any cars running slicks, a helmet is required, no matter the speed of the car.
For drivers of cars 14.00 or slower – No helmet is required.
For drivers of cars 13.99 or quicker – Snell Rated 2005 or better.
For drivers of cars 9.99 or quicker – Full-face helmet is mandatory.
For drivers of cars 7.49 and quicker – Shield is mandatory.
9. What is the clothing requirement to race?
Helmet (for cars runnin slick or 13.99 or quicker), closed toe shoes, long pants, over the shoulder shirt (no nylon) are the minimum requirements. Based upon the speed of your car, you may be required to have additional safety equipment and clothing.
10. Why do some cars go through the water (called the water box) and some do not?
Cars with street tires go around the water box so that they don't carry water on to the track with the tread of their tires.
Cars with slicks go through the water box to heat up the tires during a burnout to give them more traction during take off.
11. Why do rear drag racing slicks have one white mark?
To see if the wheel is spinning or not.
12. How do you win drag race?
The way that you win a drag race is the first person that leaves the starting line first and can stay in front of the other car until they reach the 1/4 mile mark without going faster than you said you would (dial-in time) which would be called “breaking out.”
13. What are the rules of drag racing?
The basic rules for a drag race: line up next to each other on a sanctioned drag strip, leave when you're supposed to but NOT before, and drive like crazy to get to the other end before the other car does. In ET Bracket Racing, you decide how fast your car will run before you make your first pass, which is called the “dial-in” time. They start the two cars at different times to compensate for dial-in, and the car that runs closest, but not faster than, its dial-in time wins as long as the driver has a better reaction time than his/her opponent.
14. What does sandbagging mean?
It means that a driver gets way ahead of the other car, and lets off of the throttle before the finish line, thus running a slower time than capable. The advantage is a quicker car, racing a slower one.
15. What are the typical classes?
TOP COMP - Open to all chassis combinations. All powerplant combinations. All run field.
SUPER PRO (electronics and 1/4 mile 7.00 – 12.50)
PRO (7.00 TO 14.50)
SPORTSMAN (11.00 TO 19.99)
16. Do I have to sign up for each of the five Challenge Series races or can I race when I feel like?
You do not have to race in each of the five races. However, if you do not, you will not acquire points that are accumulated throughout the Series towards the overall championship at the end of the year.
17. Is the Challenge Series a heads up or a timed race or is there a break out number the racer shoots for?
The Mopar Challenge is a bracket race. Here's how it works. If car A chooses a dial of 16.00 and car B chooses a dial of 14.50, car A will get a 1.5-second head start. If both vehicles cover the quarter-mile in exactly the predetermined elapsed time, the win will go to the driver with the best reaction time, or whoever reacts quickest to the green "go" signal on the Christmas Tree.
18. Can I race different vehicles throughout the Challenge Series or do I sign up just one car?
For the Mopar Challenge Series, you can race more than one vehicle. Points go with the driver, not the car.