Fire in the Belly

It’s all about speed and guts. The timid need not apply! Drag racing is not for the faint at heart. You have to have the right mindset and love the competition enough to go beyond your limits to win. You have to have that fire in the belly, as they say. And we are not talking about a little camping stove, no little pellet stove like this one at finestfires.com; we are referring here to a roaring fireplace with flames reaching the heights—beyond the norm, but with safety.

Drag racing is an exciting sport, in the UK and around the world. It happens in a flash and your heart skips a beat every time. People around the world tune in to see the cars line up and blast down a short track—a measured distance, maybe a quarter mile. Under 11 seconds is a mighty score. A heavily modified Toyota Supra was well under this at a recent race. I want to see that turbocharger!

Devotees don’t miss an opportunity to indulge their speed demon alter egos, even if they can’t participate themselves. Where does this fire come from that forms in the belly and never departs? It’s like you have a personal fireplace down there that gets stoked just before every race. You can go from a street racing fanatic to the real motorsport with all its rules and regulations and various classes. You may start as a kid collecting cool dragsters. Maybe you watched with your dad or uncle. Whatever happened, you got hooked fast, like me.

Here it is play by play. Each car has a turn at performing a burnout to heat up the tires before they line up. An electronic light system is put into action to indicate the start. This can get complicated, so trust me, it happens. Once underway, the race is like a blitz of action. Each lane is timed separately. An entrant has to surpass a pre-determined time. There is elapsed time and reaction time, and speed to measure and consider.

As you progress in your interest, you can acquire knowledge about speed traps, holeshot advantages, redlighting, and what constitutes disqualification. I am not trying to write a primer here on the sport. Rather, I hope to convey some of the intensity and excitement I experience as a fan. There is a standard racing format with some minor differences country to country, some pertaining to elimination based on an index.

If you want, you can get deep into body style, engine types, weight, and modifications. You can become as much of an expert as you like. Or you can just sit on the sofa with a cold beer with your feet up on the ottoman. You can fantasize as much as you desire, putting yourself at the wheel, and feeling the adrenaline rush. You will have down the top categories, or pro classes, including top fuel dragster, to fuel funny car, pro modified, pro stock, and pro stock bike. There are a few others like super gas/super rod and super street/hot rod. It doesn’t get any more fun than this!