So You Want to Get Into Drag Racing, Now What?
Drag Racing is an exciting branch of car racing. Race cars are designed for extreme speed and drivers are trained to keep the car as straight as possible. The engineering that goes into the top vehicles is the most highly tuned engineering in the business. Teams spend hundreds of hours designing and creating their race car, checking all the safety equipment, maximizing torque and horsepower in their machine, and preparing for a race. Most races last less than 10 seconds.
Drag racing is a time-honored series that got its start from modifying street cars and racing them down a straight stretch of road. The more elite series of Drag Racing, such as PDRA and NHRA, build the race car rather than modify a street car. But for drag racers in the less elite divisions, modifying a street car is the best plan of attack.
If drag racing is your passion, and you've learned the basics of how to drag race, you must first decide if you will modify a street car or build a race car. In making this decision it is important to note that “something” always goes wrong with a hot rod or modified car. Parts are not always readily available for non-production items. Racing doesn’t always go well. Crashes and wrecks occur. If your modified street car is also your primary personal vehicle, you may find yourself without personal transportation for work or school. Solution, build a dedicated race car.
The decision to build the race car yourself or buy a race car will depend on your budget and your time. If you have plenty of time but limited financial resources, then building your car might be the way to go. If you have limited time but can afford to purchase a race car, that might be your option. Either choice will involve more money and time after purchase or completion. After each race, you will be reworking the engine, body, exhaust, tires, and other component on the vehicle to optimize it for the next race. It is important to remember that each and every part of the race car is important including elements such as having performance level racing exhaust systems and other important header building pieces such as engine building pieces. Don’t overlook any details no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Missing something could cost someone their life. Car racing is a dangerous sport. Ensure your vehicle is not only fast, but safe as well.
Next factor to consider is your budget. There is an adage in racing: “How do you make a million dollars racing? Start with 2 million.” Racing is an expensive hobby and an even more expensive career. Once you have determined a budget for building your race car, double it, you’ll be much closer. Drag racing as well as any type of racing should be entered into because you have a passion for racing, not to get rich and famous. Only a small percentage of racers from any series or division make it to the professional level. And of those at the professional level, only a small percentage get rich doing it.
You’ve got your race car ready, now for your crew. Depending on the racing series you will need up to 5 crew members to get you through a race. In the sportsman series, you can get away with one crew member. In a pinch, you could even manage on your own.