The Ultimate NHRA Drag Racing Quiz

By: Dave Davis
The Ultimate NHRA Drag Racing Quiz
Image: Colin Anderson Productions pty ltd / Stockbyte / Getty Images

About This Quiz

They come in many different shapes, sizes and classes — from Top Fuel Dragsters to Nitro-burning Funny Cars — but the vehicles in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) have only one purpose: to burn down the track as fast as possible. No finesse or maneuvering — just raw power down the straightaway, competing against the racer beside you, the clock and the laws of physics. But how much do you know about this sport? This quiz will separate those who burn rubber from those who flame out.

There's something for every type of gearhead in the NHRA. The association has more than 200 classes, ranging from those just entering the field to seasoned professionals who push the boundaries in the sport. The matches are short compared to other sports — the top-performing vehicles can burn down the track in less than four seconds and reach speeds of 325 miles per hour — but the power and speed are thrilling to witness. Even those in the stands can feel the blast of vehicles jumping off the line to take the heat. Drag racing engages the senses of the fans, unlike almost any other competition. You hear the massive roar of the engines, you smell the rubber burning off the tires, you can feel the engines' power in your chest, and you witness men and women give it their all to hit the finish line first.

Are you ready to test your knowledge of this sport that has no equal? Then get your tires warm, pull up to the line, and wait for that green light. 3 ... 2 ...1... GO!

14-Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen Drag racers Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen had one of the greatest rivalries in the sport. What nicknames did they use?
The Snake vs. The Mongoose
Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Tom "Mongoose" McEwen had one of the most fondly remembered rivalries, running from the mid-1960s to early '70s. The Snake, in his Barracuda, faced off with the Mongoose, in his Duster, several times over the years.
The Lion vs. The Tiger
The Wildcat vs. The Wolf
Bigfoot vs. Chupacabra

Advertisement

22-Drag Strip What is the "sand trap" on a drag strip?
The pit area
The sandpit at the end of the strip
The sand trap is the area at the end of the racing strip, also known as the "shutdown area." The sand trap is 80 feet long and filled with 6 feet of sand. It is designed to slow and stop a car. This area was made longer and deeper after the 2008 death of racer Scott Kalitta.
The stands or bleachers
The grit used at the starting line

Advertisement

2-Ear Protection When fans come to watch a drag race, what is a vital but often overlooked item they should bring?
An umbrella
Sunglasses
Sunscreen
Ear protection
In addition to being powerful, engines as strong as the ones that launch drag racers down the strip are also something else: LOUD! These vehicles can generate 150 decibels when competing (a rock concert will hit 104 to 120 dB). In addition to being large and unmuffled, Top Fuel engines are exposed rather than being underneath a hood. Protect your hearing, because once hearing damage is done, it's permanent.

Advertisement

5-Shirley Muldowney "Heart Like a Wheel" was a motion picture about what famous drag racer?
Paula Murphy
Connie Kalitta
Shirley Muldowney
The 1983 biopic, "Heart Like a Wheel," told the story of drag racing driver Shirley Muldowney. It starred Bonnie Bedelia. Not only did it share the story of a pioneer in the sport, but it also introduced drag racing to many people who had never been exposed to the motorsport.
Betty Skelton

Advertisement

10-Dragster Which of these is a hazard when driving a drag racing vehicle?
Heat build-up on the front of the car
The vehicle lifting off the ground
With the power that a drag racer with a rear-mounted engine has coming off the line, there is a tendency for the car to tip up. This can lead to a loss of control or the car going airborne. Newer racers are designed to create enough negative air pressure underneath the car to keep all four wheels on the ground through the run.
Generating too much torque
Heat exchange overload

Advertisement

7-Dragster Which of these is required by NHRA mandate?
A fuel cell
Fire suits
A titanium shield
All the above
Driving a vehicle to more than 300 miles per hour in under four seconds is an inherently dangerous pursuit, and the NHRA has put many rules in place over the years to protect participants. On-board fire extinguishing systems, five-point safety harnesses and wheelie bars are also required to compete.

Advertisement

3-Tony Schumacher What is the record for the fastest quarter-mile for a dragster?
10.4 seconds
6.66 seconds
5.1 seconds
3.667 seconds
In 2005, Tony Schumacher set a record time of 3.667 seconds, hitting 337.58 mph at a competition in Brainerd, Minnesota. To put this into perspective, if a sports car can go from 0 to 60 in under four seconds, it's a head-turner! Since Top Fuel racers now run a course of 1,000, this specific record is in no danger of being broken.

Advertisement

20-Burnout What is a HANS device in drag racing?
An engine restrictor plate
An automatic transmission shifter
A sound-deading filter
A safety device
A Head and Neck Support (HANS) device is designed to keep the head in place in the event of an impact. This helps to prevent, among other injuries, a basilar skull fracture (a break at the base of the skull). This type of injury has killed many race drivers, the best known to most is NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.

Advertisement

16-Race Strip Why did Top Fuel races go from a quarter-mile track down to 1,000-foot length?
Easier math
For safety
The racetrack for Top Fuel competitions went down in 2008 from a quarter-mile (1,320 feet) to 1,000 feet after racer Scott Kalitta died in a crash in Englishtown, New Jersey. The shorter track limits the speed the machines can reach and also gives a longer stretch for the vehicles to slow down. The change was said to be temporary, but there are no plans in place to change the distance.
Limits of engine technology
It converts to metric measurements easier.

Advertisement

24-Truck Which of these classes is NOT part of the top division of the NHRA?
Top Fuel Dragster
Stock Truck
The top division of the NHRA is the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. It has four pro classes: Top Fuel Dragster, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Funny Car
Pro Stock Motorcycle

Advertisement

13-Wally Parks Why is Wally Parks a notable figure in drag racing?
He was the first driver to break the 300 mph barrier.
He developed the "Funny Car" concept.
He founded the NHRA.
In 1951, Wally Parks founded the National Hot Rod Association in order to have a governing body to oversee the sport of drag racing and help it gain popularity in the United States and Canada. The winners of the NHRA U.S. Nationals are given a trophy that is nicknamed "The Wally" in his honor.
He put the first 16-cylinder engine in a racer.

Advertisement

6-Don Garlits "Big Daddy" Don Garlits is credited with what safety innovation in drag racing?
Popularizing the use of a fireproof suit
Developing a new type of steering mechanism
Installing a parachute to slow down
Putting the engine behind the driver
"Big Daddy" Don Garlits lost part of his right foot in 1970 when his transmission exploded and broke his car in half. He then drew up plans for a rear-engined car that would put the engine, transmission and fuel lines behind the driver.

Advertisement

4-Engine Crew How do Top Fuel dragsters get more out of their engines than other vehicles?
They use more displacement in their cylinders.
They use a different type of fuel.
They use superchargers.
All the above
When the name of the game is to jump off the line and run straight for the finish, you've got to get every bit of horsepower out of your engine as quickly as possible. Since these aren't endurance cars, mechanics can put all their effort into short, massive bursts of power, and this shows up in the engine design and the type of fuel used.

Advertisement

1-Dragster When a dragster is said to be a "nitro-burning," what type of fuel is it using?
Nitrous oxide
Nitroglycerin
Nitromethane
Nitromethane is used to power dragsters because its chemical structure contains oxygen as well as carbon and hydrogen (gasoline only has carbon and hydrogen). The addition of oxygen makes the fuel need less outside oxygen to ignite and can get more power per stroke out of the engine.
Liquid nitrogen

Advertisement

28-Hot Wheels Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen weren't just on-track rivals. What else did they do?
Had long sponsorship relations with Budweiser
Became related when their children married
Partnered with Hot Wheels to make replicas of their vehicles
While The Snake and The Mongoose were fabulous on-track rivals, they both had a head for business, and they partnered with Mattel to have their vehicles immortalized as "Hot Wheel" racers in 1970. Not only did this help both drivers pay the bills, but it also helped the sport of drag racing reach out and get wider public attention.
Bought a NASCAR team together

Advertisement

25-Engine About how much does a Top Fuel engine cost these days?
$58,700
This isn't a cheap sport. A Top Fuel engine that's ready to be dropped into a dragster chassis will set you back about $60K — about the same as a 2019 Dodge SRT Hellcat.
$36,000
$20,300
$9,700

Advertisement

30-Soft Drink Which soft drink has been the sponsor of the top competition series of the NHRA?
RC Cola
Pepsi
Shasta
Mello Yello
Winston cigarettes was the sponsor of the NHRA's top competition level from 1975 through 2001, as well as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. After the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1998, the company had to drop one sponsorship and decided to continue to sponsor the NASCAR series and drop the NHRA. The Coca-Cola Company then got the rights and has used Powerade, Full Throttle and Mello Yello to sponsor the series.

Advertisement

9-G Force On average, how many G-forces does a driver feel from the acceleration in a typical drag-racing run?
1
2
3
4
Standing still, we are experiencing one "G" (the amount gravitational force exerted by the Earth). When you accelerate, you "pull" more Gs. When you're going from 0 to more than 300 miles per hour in under four seconds, you're pulling a LOT of Gs — about 4, to be exact.

Advertisement

32-Lake Bed Where did the organized sport of drag racing find its first tracks?
Dry lake beds
As soon as cars were developed, there were people wanting to race them — and some got very serious about it. Drag racing began as a sport on dry lake beds in Southern California in the 1930s. The beds were perfect because they were unused, wide open and relatively flat. Racing Pioneer Wally Parks helped to organize the sport in 1938 by forming the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) and later the NHRA in 1951.
Los Angeles Aqueduct
Abandoned streets in Detroit
Talladega Superspeedway

Advertisement

18-Dragster In one word, describe the suspension system of a Top Fuel drag racer.
Nonexistent
Top Fuel dragsters have no suspension system because the track is already as smooth as possible and the back tires are large enough to absorb any bumps along the way. Because of this, the wheels are directly connected to the chassis.
Loose
Firm
Adjustable

Advertisement

31-Flag What is the playoff system called that determines the champion of each NHRA class?
The Best of the Best Series
Countdown to The Championship
The NHRA started the "Countdown to The Championship" playoff system in 2007 to crown the winner of each class the association sanctions. The season is divided into two sections, with the top 10 teams in the standings after the first section is completed going on to the second section. The standings are points-based.
Winner Takes All Series
NHRA Bracket Countdown

Advertisement

15-Drag Bike When was the Pro Stock Motorcycle class added to the NHRA lineup?
1987
The Pro Stock Motorcycle class was added to the NHRA Championship Drag Racing Series in the 1980s, with the first points championship being awarded in 1987.
1953
1967
2003

Advertisement

27-Drag Race Which of these can a Pro Stock vehicle use in NHRA-sanctioned races?
Turbocharging
Nitrous oxide
Double four-barrel carburetors
None of these
While the Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars are all designed to the top mechanical specifications possible for a motor vehicle, those in the Pro Stock class of the NHRA are required to use components that the general public can purchase, and modifications such as turbo or superchargers, nitrous oxide and others cannot be used. This is the "Factory Hot Rod" class!

Advertisement

11-Engine How much horsepower does a Top Fuel dragster generate?
1,000
5,000
11,000
It doesn't generate that kind of force for long, but a Top Fuel dragster can generate up to 11,000 horsepower during its run. They are among the fastest-accelerating machines in the world. To put it in perspective, the $3.4 million Bugatti Chiron puts out about 1480 horses.
15,000

Advertisement

19-Engine At what point does a Top Fuel dragster motor hit the redline?
5,000 RPM
7,000 RPM
9,500 RPM
Top Fuel dragsters are built to take abuse (1,000 feet at a time). While a gas engine can hit about 6,000 to 7,000 revolutions per minute before reaching the redline on the tachometer, dragsters blow past that point and top out at about 9,500 RPM.
12,000 RPM

Advertisement

21-Spark Plug What can happen if a spark plug fails early in a dragster's run?
The engine will lose all power and die.
It can blow the cylinder head off.
All the spark plugs must fire during the run; otherwise, unburned nitromethane will build up in the engine and explode. The force of the explosion could blow the cylinder head off the block, or even split the engine block in half.
The vehicle will pull to one side.
Nothing — The other plugs can make up the difference.

Advertisement

29-Funny Car The car bodies of how many manufacturers are currently represented in the NHRA's Funny Car class?
One
Three
Four
The outer shell of the Funny Car is designed to reflect the style of a consumer car, and currently there are four examples on the Funny Car track at NHRA-sanctioned events: Ford (Mustang), Chevrolet (Camaro), Dodge (Charger) and Toyota (Camry).
Seven

Advertisement

17-Rear Wing How much downforce does the rear wing of a dragster generate during a run?
Between 400 to 800 pounds
Between 1,000 to 1,500 pounds
Between 3,000 to 6,000 pounds
Between 4,000 to 8,000 pounds
It is not the most prominent feature of a dragster, but the rear wing plays a vital role in helping the vehicle reach its top speed. By putting that much downward force on the back wheels, the rear tires grip the track better and can translate the torque generated by the engine into acceleration.

Advertisement

35-Parachute As fast as the cars start, stopping them can be even more brutal for the drivers. How many "Gs" does a driver experience at the end of a race?
3
3
While the acceleration phase of the race puts a lot of strain on the driver, the moment when the parachutes deploy and bring the car to a stop can be even harder. NHRA Funny Cars, for example, put a strain of more than seven times the force of gravity (7 Gs) on the driver as the car comes to a stop!
10
13

Advertisement

8-Hemi Motor How many times can a drag racing engine be used in competition?
Once
Drag racing is all about the explosive nature of barreling down the 1,000-foot strip as fast as mechanically possible, and as you might suspect, this is very hard on the engine. So hard, in fact, that the engine needs to be rebuilt after every heat, complete with new pistons, rod bearings and other vital components.
Three times
About 10 times
It depends on the competition.

Advertisement

26-Funny Car Which of these statements is true about a Funny Car?
It has a body that tilts up over the chassis.
The NHRA has some pretty strict guidelines about the build of vehicles in the Funny Car class. The car, which has a tilt-up shell built around the chassis can only have a V8 engine which displaces no more than 600 cubic inches, among other restrictions. A Funny Car will also set you back anywhere from $2.6 to $3 million, which isn't funny at all.
It can have anything between a V6 and a V12 engine.
A typical Funny Car costs anywhere between $100,000 and $500,000.
All the above

Advertisement

33-Drag Race How hot does the air/fuel mix in a nitromethane-burning engine get?
1,020 degrees Fahrenheit
3,250 degrees Fahrenheit
5,000 degrees Fahrenheit
7,050 degrees Fahrenheit
Keep clear of the exploding gasses! It takes a special kind of engine to get a vehicle to more than 300 mph in under four seconds, and that engine needs a special kind of fuel. The air/fuel mix in a nitromethane-burning engine can reach 7,050 degrees Fahrenheit!

Advertisement

34-Drag Line Assuming the engine doesn't blow up, the car doesn't crack in half, etc., how much per second does it cost to run a dragster?
About $1,000 per second
Not counting the crew payroll and unexpected damage to the car or the engine system, it costs about $1,000 per second to run a Top Fuel dragster. While this sport started in the 1930s with hobbyists, drag racing is not a "weekend" sport!
About $5,000 per second
About $100 per second
About $500 per second

Advertisement

12-Dragster Driver About how many drivers are on the NHRA's roster at any given time?
1,000
10,000
25,000
40,000
The National Hot Rod Association claims to be the largest motorsports sanctioning body in the world, and with 40,000 drivers listed in its ranks, it's hard to argue that claim. With more than 200 classes, there's room for amateurs wanting to test their meddle as well as die-hard professionals ready to test their metal.

Advertisement

23-nhra wreck Between 2002 and 2018, how many fatalities have occurred at NHRA-sanctioned events?
None
Three
Nine
No matter how many regulations are put in place and how many safety devices are installed, the risk can't be eliminated from the sport of drag racing. There were nine fatalities in the sport between 2002 and 2018.
17

Advertisement

You Got:
/35