The 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has their First Eliminations Today!

NHRA LOGO

Hellz yeah! I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the sports world. The last few days I’ve seen NHRA updates on Facebook and Twitter but thought there was just some testing going on.

Nope! They’re RACING this weekend in Pomona, California for the Circle K NHRA Winternationals! I just saw that all three John Force Racing Funny Cars are in. That’s John Force, Robert Hight and the lovely Courtney Force; qualified 1,2 and 7 respectively.

John broke national records for Elapsed Time (3.966 seconds) and Speed (324.12 MPH)! WOW! That is 5 MPH faster than 2nd place Robert. What a great way to begin his title defense!

Oh yeah… and John’s other daughter Brittany qualified 8th in Top Fuel Dragster!

Speaking of John Force Racing… as I mentioned in August, Ford and Castrol, long time sponsors, are both leaving the team after this season. He’s now forced to find about $10 million a year to keep the team going. They announced the other day that Peak Antifreeze and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid have joined the team as associate sponsors. The press release didn’t mention the dollar amount, but being an associate sponsor doesn’t pay that much!

John Force Peak

L to R: Robert Hight, Brittany, Courtney, John and some dude from Peak Antifreeze

John Force had this to say:

We are excited to add PEAK and BlueDEF to the John Force Racing team. We pride ourselves on treating all of our sponsors like family for more than three decades. Bringing PEAK and BlueDEF into the family will make us stronger in 2014 and for many years to come. We have had a lot of conversations about the future and I know this will be a great deal for everyone.

With Ford leaving though, the John Force Funny Cars will not return next year as “Mustangs.”

Mustang Funny Car

This saddens me greatly because I’m a Ford guy…. and if he jumps in bed with Toyota I may not follow the team any more. I realize it’s just a different wrap on the car, but still, Toyota? Nope!

Anyway, keep your eyes on Courtney this year as a potential Champ… did I ever mention that we met her a couple years ago?

Courtney Force & Alexis

I so wanted to get a picture with her, but the kids come first!

Courtney won this Pomona race last year…

Courtney Force Winternationals Win

… and went on to win another at New England. She really developed some consistency in the second half of the season, going to the semifinals 4 times and runner up once in the final 11 races!

It kinda sucks, though… they’re racing right now at Pomona (Started at 11:00 PST), but the coverage is on a six hour tape delay, so I gotta avoid Twitter and Facebook because of potential spoilers ’til 8:00 when ESPN2 airs it!

In the meantime, here are some drag racing fun facts:

One Top Fuel Dragster’s 500-inch Hemi makes more horsepower than the first 4 rows of NASCAR race cars at Daytona. That’s 8 cars!

Fun Hemi fact: Ford was running engines with hemispherical combustion chambers long before Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth ever did. Chrysler just marketed it first!

These cars don’t run on gasoline, but 90% nitromethane…

Nitromethane2

… and 10% methanol. If you’re within 50 feet of one of these cars while they’re running, the fumes burn your nose, mouth and eyes like you wouldn’t believe… It’s freakin’ awesome!

Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1 1/2 gallons of nitromethane per second, the same rate of fuel consumption as a fully loaded 747 but with 4 times the energy volume.

The supercharger takes more power to drive than a stock Hemi makes.

Even with nearly 3000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into nearly-solid form before ignition. Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock.

Dual magnetos apply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of an arc welder in each cylinder.

At stoichiometric (exact) 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture (for nitro), the flame front of nitromethane measures 7050 degrees F.

Brittany Force Night

Nitromethane burns yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric water vapor by the searing exhaust gases.

Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After half track, the engine is dieseling from compression-plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1400 degrees F. The engine can only be shut down by cutting off its fuel flow.

If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in those cylinders and then explodes with a force that can blow cylinder heads off the block in pieces or blow the block in half.

Antron Brown Explosion

Dragsters twist the crank (torsionally) so far (20 degrees in the big end of the track) that sometimes cam lobes are ground offset from front to rear to re-phase the valve timing somewhere closer to synchronization with the pistons.

A Top Fuel dragster leaves the starting line with a force of 5 Gs, the same force of the space shuttle when it leaves the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

If all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs $1000.00 per second.

A Top Fuel dragster accelerates from 0 to 100 mph in less than .8-second, almost 11 seconds quicker than it takes a production Porsche 911 Turbo to reach the same speed…

A Funny Car is slowed by a reverse force more than 7 Gs when both parachutes deploy simultaneously.

Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars use between 10 and 12 gallons of fuel for a complete pass, including the burnout, backup to the starting line, and thousand foot run.

NHRA Top Fuel dragsters can exceed 280 mph in just 660 feet.

From a standing start, Top Fuel dragsters accelerate faster than a jumbo jet, a fighter jet, and a Formula One race car.

A fuel pump for a Top Fuel dragster or Funny Car delivers 65 gallons of fuel per minute, equivalent to eight bathroom showers running at the same time.

The fuel-line pressure for Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars is between 400 and 500 pounds, about 20 times greater than the pressure on passenger-car fuel pumps.

Depending on size and angle, the large rear wing on a Top Fuel dragster develops between 4,000 and 8,000 pounds of downforce.

The 17-inch rear tires used on Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars wear out after four to six runs, or about two miles. Some brands of passenger-car tires are guaranteed for 80,000 miles.

It takes just 15/100ths of a second for all 7,000 horsepower of a Top Fuel dragster engine to reach the rear wheels.

It’s desirable for a Top Fuel dragster to race with its front wheels inches off the ground for about the first 200 feet of the run. This ensures proper weight transfer to the rear wheels, a crucial part of a good launch and quick run.

The nitromethane used to power the engines of Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars costs about $30 per gallon.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday folks!

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