Drag Racing 101 – Prepare for the 25th anniversary O’Reilly Fall Nationals

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The 25th anniversary O’Reilly Fall Nationals is less than three months away. Are you ready? Do you know all about the professional and sportsman categories that will be blazing down the all-concrete quarter-mile facility of the Texas Motorplex, Sept. 23-26?

The NHRA Full Throttle series features the best-of-the-best in drag racing and championships will be on the line when the NHRA professional series makes its annual stop in Ennis, Texas. The Motorplex plays host to the third of six playoff events in the season. If  a team wants to win a championship title, they have to perform well in Texas.

So check out the categories, get brushed up on the smallest of details, get your tickets and get ready to see the biggest names, the up-and-coming stars and the quickest and fastest cars in motorsports. Cement your place in history at the Texas Motorplex now!

NHRA Classes Overview
Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock are just three of the more than 200 classes of vehicles featured in NHRA competition. Those classes are grouped into 12 categories, or eliminators, each strictly governed by NHRA rule makers. Class eligibility is based on various requirements and specifications, including type of vehicle, engine size, vehicle weight, allowable modifications, and aerodynamics.
The four Professional categories are Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle. They, along with Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car and the three “Super” classes – Super Comp, Super Gas, and Super Street – feature a single class of vehicle in heads-up competition. The remaining categories – Comp, Super Stock, and Stock – are made up of a variety of classes and use a handicap starting system to equalize competition.
Top Fuel
Among the fastest-accelerating machines in the world, 7,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragsters are often referred to as the “kings of the sport,” and with good reason. They are capable of covering a quarter-mile in 4.4 seconds at more than 330 mph. Powered by a supercharged and fuel-injected 500-cubic-inch adaptation of the famed Chrysler Hemi engine, Top Fuel dragsters can burn up to 15 gallons of nitromethane fuel during a single quarter-mile run. Constructed of chromoly steel tubing and carbon-fiber composite, Top Fuel cars are 25 feet long and weigh 2,250 pounds in race-ready trim.
Funny Car
Similar to their Top Fuel counterparts but with a shorter wheelbase and a carbon-fiber body that loosely resembles a production-based automobile, Funny Cars routinely run in the 4.7-second range and are capable of speeds in excess of 330 mph. Funny Cars are powered by the same supercharged and fuel-injected 500-inch engines as Top Fuel dragsters. Funny Cars are also similar to Top Fuel dragsters in that they do not use a transmission but rather transmit power to the huge Goodyear rear slicks through a multistage clutch assembly that is activated by timers.
Pro Stock
Often called “factory hot rods” because of their resemblance to production-based automobiles, Pro Stock cars are some of the most technologically advanced machines in drag racing. Built around a sophisticated tube chassis and four-link rear suspension, Pro Stock cars must conform to precise measurements and weigh no less than 2,350 pounds. Pro Stock engines use two carburetors and spec gasoline and are restricted to a maximum of 500 cubic inches. They can rev to more than 10,500 rpm and make in excess of 1,300 horsepower. A competitive Pro Stock car can run in the 6.6s at more than 208 mph.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
These highly modified vehicles, which can run under seven seconds at more than 195 mph, feature a purpose-built tube chassis and a lightweight, aerodynamically enhanced replica of original bodywork. The class features a wide variety of makes, models, and engines, including V-Twin entries from Harley-Davidson and Buell and inline four-cylinder-equipped Suzuki and Kawasaki models. To ensure a level playing field, pushrod-equipped V-Twin engines are limited to 160 cubic inches, and the high-winding four-cylinder engines cannot be larger than 101 cubic inches. Fuel injection is permitted, and spec gasoline is the only fuel allowed.
Top Alcohol Dragster
Top Alcohol Dragsters may look like Top Fuelers, but they have ¬significant differences. Whereas Top Fuelers use supercharged, nitro-burning engines, Top Alcohol Dragsters may use a supercharged methanol-burning engine or an injected nitromethane combination. The injected nitro cars do not use a transmission, and the supercharged cars have three forward speeds. Weights vary according to combination but are generally between 1,975 and 2,050 pounds. Like Top Fuelers, Top Alcohol Dragsters are restricted to a maximum wheelbase of 300 inches. A typical run is in the 5.2s at more than 270 mph.
Top Alcohol Funny Car
Similar in physical appearance to their nitro-burning Funny Car counterparts, Top Alcohol Funny Cars are restricted to the use of methanol fuel and have a three-speed transmission. Top Alcohol Funny Cars feature basically the same chromoly steel chassis as the nitro cars and are fitted with the same carbon-fiber replica bodies, though the Top Alcohol Funny Car bodies do not need as much downforce and use a much smaller rear spoiler. Top Alcohol Funny Cars are capable of performances in the 5.5s at more than 260 mph.
No category in NHRA competition features more variety than Comp. Dragsters, altereds, street roadsters, coupes, sedans, front-engine nostalgia dragsters, sport compact cars, and trucks race in 87 classes. The engine combinations are just as diverse as the vehicles, from turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines to Pro Stock-style ¬V-8s and nitrous-oxide-equipped mountain motors. Most cars are classified using a formula that divides total car weight by cubic inches. Each class is assigned an index based on what a well-built car should run, and races are handicapped according to those indexes.
Super Stock
Super Stock vehicles may look like ordinary passenger vehicles, but they are highly modified race cars. The category features primarily late-model sedans and vintage muscle cars, and entries are classified using a system that divides factory shipping weight by NHRA-factored horsepower. Significant engine modifications are permitted, but the vehicle must retain the correct engine block, cylinder heads, and carburetor. The top class is SS/AH, which is exclusively for ’68 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda factory race cars. Cars are handicapped using an index system, and the breakout rule is enforced.
Stock cars are similar to their big brothers in Super Stock, but the rules regarding everything from engine modifications to body alterations are much stricter. Virtually any car is eligible to compete, and entries are classified using a system that divides factory shipping weight by NHRA-factored horsepower. Bodies must be unaltered and retain a full factory interior. Tires are limited to a maximum nine-inch-wide rear slick. Engines must be correct for the make and model vehicle and must retain stock cylinder heads, intake manifold, and carburetor or fuel injector. Modifications are limited to a basic balancing and rebuild with only a few performance enhancements.
Super Comp
The quickest of the heads-up Super classes (8.90 index), Super Comp is composed primarily of dragsters. Engine, chassis, and body modifications are virtually unlimited, though all entries must adhere to NHRA safety standards. Four- and six-cylinder-powered entries may have a minimum weight of 1,000 pounds; all others cannot weigh less than 1,350 pounds. Most Super Comp cars are capable of running well under the 8.90 index but use a number of electronic aids, including a timer and adjustable throttle, to run close to the index without running quicker than it, or breaking out.
Super Gas
Super Gas entries, which run on a 9.90 index, are primarily full-bodied cars and street roadsters. No dragsters or altereds are permitted. Rules regarding engine and chassis modifications are extremely liberal, though the use of exotic fuels is prohibited. The minimum weight is 2,100 pounds except for four-cylinder-powered cars, which may have a minimum weight of 1,200 pounds. As in Super Comp, competitors use electronic timers and throttle stops to run as close to the class standard without going under. Also as in Super Comp, races are staged using a four-tenths Pro start.
Super Street 
At NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series races and select NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events, Super Street racers compete on a fixed 10.90-second index. All vehicles must be full-bodied cars and weigh no less than 2,800 pounds except for six-cylinder cars, which may have a minimum weight of 2,000 pounds, and four-cylinder- and rotary-powered cars (1,200 pounds). Engine and chassis modifications are virtually unlimited. Racers compete on a five-tenths Pro Tree.


Take the Texas Motorplex on Vacation Picture Contest

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Want to have a chance to win two full event tickets to the 25th anniversary O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 23-26, 2010?  Take a photo of you or your family wearing or holding something from the Texas Motorplex while on your vacation and submit your vacation photos at Texas Motorplex.com to be entered to win.  The best photo voted on by other fans will win the grand prize.  We will also be giving out other prizes as well, so check back at TexasMotorplex.com for more information.

Submit your pictures before Sept. 1 to win tickets to the 25th anniversary O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 23-26, 2010.

Click here to submit your photos or visit Texas Motorplex.com & select ”Submit Photos” in the “FanZone”.


Drag racing – the ultimate extreme sport

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ENNIS, Texas – In all of motorsports, there’s nothing quite like the electric atmosphere produced when a pair of richly-tuned, nitro-burning Top Fuel dragsters cackle at the starting line, awaiting the green light to flash.

The explosive blast that thunders from two 7,000-horsepower dragsters marching side-by-side down the dragstrip is guaranteed to provide an extreme shot of adrenaline to even the most conservative attendees.

One blink and it’s over.

Triangles of fire dance from four sets of header pipes and glimmers of color deflect from all points as flashbulbs from a thousand cameras try to capture the surreal moment. Two dragsters streak off into the distance, leaving only a trail of vapor and thousands of jolted fans in their wake.

For four spectacular days at historic Texas Motorplex, legions of fans who crave 300-mph blasts that last less than five seconds will flock to the sport’s first all-concrete ‘Supertrack’ for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals (Sept. 23-26).

Larry Dixon is a two-time NHRA Top Fuel world champion and drive of the Al-Anabi Racing dragster. Dixon said drag racing leads the way in jaw-dropping performances.
“Drag racing is the ultimate and original extreme sport,” Dixon said. “It’s a sport where two people step up to face each other one-on-one and only one person walks away the winner. We don’t race to be in the top five, we race to win. Sometimes going after the win means the engines that produce 8,000 horsepower catch on fire. Sometimes we crash and sometimes we drive 320 mph. Drag racing is truly, the most extreme sport.”

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event, which will feature competition in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, is the third of six races in the Countdown to 1, NHRA’s championship playoffs.

With valuable NHRA Full Throttle Series championship points on the line, this festival of speed will be fierce, as NHRA’s powerbrokers of high-horsepower set their machines for maximum performance. No doubt, fans will be treated to a record-breaking showcase given the list of performances displayed during the sport’s regular season.

National records have been set in every category, while the chase for NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series championship glory is as close as ever.

The Texas Motorplex was the first all-concrete stadium-style drag racing facility ever constructed. Built in 1986, The Texas Motorplex has been the place of many drag racing milestones and world record performances. The Billy Meyer-owned facility hosts a number of racing and car show events between March and November each year and also features the Champions Club – an 11,000 square-foot facility – that serves fully catered events throughout the year.

For schedule and ticket information, please call (800) MOTORPLEX or go online to www.texasmotorplex.com.



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WHAT:                 DRAG RACING… is the quickest and fastest form of motorsport. Cars exceed speeds of 320 mph. Engines roar with 8,000 horsepower. Flames blast out of the pipes, propelling drivers as quickly as 0-100 mph in less than half a second.

The 25th annual O’Reilly Fall Nationals is an annual race held at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas. The Motorplex is an all-concrete quarter-mile drag racing facility located in Ennis, Texas.  The facility opened in 1986, becoming the first super-stadium built specifically for drag racing. The Motorplex has hosted national event racing since 1986 and has been the site of record-breaking passes, championship-clinching performances and jaw-dropping races.

The 25th annual O’Reilly Fall Nationals will feature some of the biggest names in racing, including John Force, Ashley Force-Hood, Larry Dixon, Tony Schumacher, Greg Anderson and more. The event is the third of six playoff events in the NHRA’s Countdown to 1 championship playoff system.

WHERE:               Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas.  Track is located on Hwy. 287, two miles west of Ennis, between Interstates 35 and 45. 

WHEN:                 September 23-26, 2010.

WINNERS:           1986 winners: Don “Big Daddy” Garlits (TF), Kenny Bernstein (FC), Bob Glidden (PS).
                                2009 winners: Tony Schumacher (TF), Robert Hight (FC), Greg Anderson (PS).

SCHEDULE:         Gates open at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23 as sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Gates open at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 24 with sportsman qualifying starting at 8:30 a.m. and professional qualifying at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m.; Gates open at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25 with sportsman eliminations starting at 8 a.m. and the final two professional qualifying sessions running at 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.; Gates open at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26 with pre-race ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. and final professional eliminations starting at 11 a.m.. Complete schedule.

TICKETS:               Tickets  and merchandise are available 24 hours a day at www.texasmotorplex.com. Adult tickets range from $10-$370. Youth tickets (12 years old and under) range from $5-$33. Call (800) MOTORPLEX for more information.

CONTACT:           Texas Motorplex: (972) 878-2641, (800) MOTORPLEX or www.texasmotorplex.com


John Force will be in DFW Aug. 30!

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NHRA Full Throttle champion John Force will be in the DFW area on Monday, Aug. 30 to make a special announcement about the 25th anniversary O’Reilly Auto Parts Super Start Fall Nationals! Stay tuned for details, but be sure and make plans to meet the champ and NHRA legend who is battling for another championship title.


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For event information or tickets please call 972-878-2641
or 1-800-MOTORPLEX (1-800-668-6775)