Drag Racing is a straight-line acceleration
contest between two vehicles over a measured
distance. General standard distances accepted
worldwide are quarter-mile (1,320 feet) and
eighth-mile (660 feet). The objective is for one
vehicle to get to the finish line first.
drag racing event is comprised of a series of
two-vehicle, tournament-style eliminations.
Vehicles in competition are divided into a
variety of classes. All classes have specific
rules and guidelines that determine eligibility.
starting line device utilizing a set of lights,
often referred to as a ‘Christmas Tree’, is used
to initiate the race. In professional category
racing, a .400-second flash of amber lights
precedes the important green light, which
signals the start of the race. If a driver
leaves the starting line before the green light
activates, a red light illuminates, signaling a
foul start. The offending driver is disqualified.
driver can win the race despite slower elapsed
time and speed totals. In some rare instances, a
winning driver can use a quicker reaction time
to the green starting light, to overcome an
opponent’s greater performance advantage on the
sportsman categories operate on a handicap
system, which allows slower vehicles the ability
to compete on an even playing field with quicker
and faster counterparts. During eliminations
drivers make elapsed time performance
predictions (called a "dial-in"). The slower
vehicle will receive an advantage at the start,
equal to the difference between the two vehicles’
most cases, the vehicle that gets to the finish
line first wins. However, if a vehicle goes
quicker than their performance prediction, it is
determined to ‘breakout’ and thus be
disqualified. If both vehicles run under their
projected elapsed time, a "double breakout"
occurs, then the driver running closest to his
or her dial-in is the winner. In other instances,
such as a foul-start, crossing the center-line
or making contact with an outside track boundary,
drivers are automatically disqualified.
Records for elapsed time and speed are
maintained in all classes. IHRA rules require a
record run to be backed up with another run
within one percent of the record time or speed
at the same event to be considered a record.
Thus, drivers can have the quickest or fastest
run in IHRA history in a certain class and not
officially establish the World Record. For
example, Paul Romine’s 4.709 second elapsed time
at the 1997 Prolong Super Lubricants / Ohio
Lottery World Nationals at Norwalk Raceway Park
was considered one of the quickest IHRA Top Fuel
ETs in history. However, he failed to back that
run up within the required one percent at the
World Nationals, and it is not the IHRA Top Fuel
ET World Record.