OFF TO THE RACES
Drag racing basically involves two cars side
by side, usually pitted against each other in a
bracket race, peeling down a straightway
that can be a quarter-mile or an eighth of a
mile. Across the nation there are hundreds
of classes and divisions, but the rules are
similar. The winner moves on and advances
in the bracket. But there is some nuance if a
spectator reads between the (starting) lines.
>>> Before a pass or run, each driver does what’s
a called a burnout, in which he or she spins the
car’s wheels, heating them up so they will grip
to the concrete better.
>>> Next, the drivers have to stage, inching the
car’s front wheels up to the starting line.
>>> Once the Christmas tree, the column of
lights signaling to start, is lit and the cars take
off, they are measured at different increments
on their run. The drivers receive a ticket at
the end that shows them their speed, which
includes reaction time, (the time it takes for the
driver to punch the gas after the tree’s green
light has lit up), and the elapsed time (the time
it takes for them to reach the finish line).
>>> The winner is most often the first driver down
the track. However, a driver could be the first
to cross the finish line but lose the race if the
reaction time was slow.
nurse to bank funds for the car’s transformation. She’s settled on a new color—black.
She’s still deciding on what size motor she
wants along with the other specs for her
tires and fuel cell. And the excitement in
her voice reaches a crescendo in talking
about seeing the potential finish
line to her project.
“It’s a big deal for me,”
she says of owning her first
dragster, comparing it to
having a child or buying
a first house. “It’s all
mine. All me.”
“IT'S A BIG DEAL FOR ME. IT'S ALL MINE. ALL ME.”
—Ursula Gillespie ’97