What is Drag Racing?
Drag racing is a fast-tracked game between two vehicles from a stationary point and at a measured distance. Although this racing activity is known to have existed ever since the invention of motorcycles and automobiles, the first organized event of drag racing took place in the state of California in 1949 and over transformed to the modern drag racing. NHRA and the IHRA are the widely known sanctions of this game. The drag racing contributes to the economic growth of distinct countries through direct and indirect revenues and boosts businesses. In addition, the activity creates job opportunities while at the same time promote relationships and social interactions. However, it has altered the cultural activities of racers and onlookers as well as society as a whole and has a wide range of detrimental impacts to the health and wellness of societies.
Drag racing, as a fast-tracked game involving an automobile contest, takes place at a facility specially designed for the contest. The generally accepted space between the vehicles is either a quarter or an eighth mile (Radlauer, 1966). A device known as a Christmas Tree is the means by which the motor vehicle contest is started. Immediately after leaving the start line, every contender triggers a timer watch and stops it upon reaching the finishing line. The E.T., the initials that stand for elapsed time, refers to the time taken between the duration the timer watch is activated and the time it is stopped upon reaching the finish line. It is used to measure both the performance and handicaps experienced during the competition. Therefore, to understand the concept and impact of this activity, it is imperative to focus on the drag racing event.
A drag racing game of motorcycles and automobiles has existed ever since engine-powered vehicles were invented. However, it has taken various forms, including the illegitimate street contests, the organized drag racing, and the contemporary regulated and controlled motorsport. Although the seeds of the modern drag racing are known to have been planted long ago when engine controlled motor vehicles and motorcycles came into being, in reality, it is a postwar phenomenon that roots stretch back to the dry lake-bed contests that occurred in the Southern part of California in the early 1930s. From the old times to the modern era, when a contesting automobile accelerates from zero to thousand feet in a matter of three seconds at a speed above 330mph, a lot has changed as far as this particular race is concerned (Armstrong & Steinhardt, 2006). In fact, ever since the National Hot Rod Association engaged in the first documented competition at Los Angeles Province Fairgrounds, which is close to six decades ago, various facets of this competition have seen great transformation. However, the objective of the game has remained the same all through, which is to get to the other end of the strip as fast as possible.
In our modern society, drag racing consists of hundreds of racing categorization. Each of these categorizations has its basics and control measures on various things, including the automobile or motorcycle’s body style, the engine’s size, modifications, and weight, to name but a few. The NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) and the IHRO (International Hot Rod Association) are leading bodies that articulated the regulations and rules to be followed during the drag race. In addition, they also plan events in various parts of the European countries (Majerus, 2007). Other sanctioning bodies include the FIA and the EUM, which gave approvals for vehicles and bikes, respectively that started operating in Europe under the compliance of the NHRA rules and regulations.
Basics of Drag Racing Event
Dial-in is one of the basic of drag racing. If two cars were contesting, and the first car is timed at 18.78, 18.74, and 18.76 seconds for a quarter of a mile racing, and agrees that the suitable guessed time or dial-in is 18.75, whereas the second car records a lapse time between 16.27, 16.22, and 16.26, and has gone for a dial-in of 16.25, then it translates that the first car will get a 2.5 seconds head-start over the second car (Radlauer, 1966). In fact, the time of reaction indicate the response to the commencement of the motion. For instance, suppose the two cars drag-raced and finished the race in the predetermined dial-in. In this case, the driver who is fast and quick to react to the starting signal will be termed as the winner of the race. The term run-out or break-out refers to instances where the driver runs more quickly than the predetermined dial-in, which can form the basis of his or her disqualification. Red light is a term that is used during the drag racing to refer to a foul start, which mostly occurs when contesting drivers react swiftly to the Christmas Tree and drives the automobile away before the start signal goes green.
Unlike the illegal street racing, drag racing has been used in society to influence positive social change through participation, rivalry and competition, and loyalty as well as through the interaction that exists amid the fans and players. Proponents of drag racing hold that it is a gaming activity that should be encouraged in all parts of the world. In fact, this is due to the potential benefits that are associated with engaging in the activity that range from social and behavioral change to economic benefits. However, opponents consider the game as extremely dangerous, especially when individuals are allowed to game on the streets as opposed to the specific gaming facility. Drag racing was glorified in 1973 during the American Graffiti with Lucas and in 2001 in the fast and furious contests and during the 2003 sequel game. However, after all these premiere activities came and left, most people still wage war against this game, citing speed and chase as well as a rush of adrenaline as the primary reasons (McKenna, 2008).
Touge is a new type of drag racing that is thought to be extremely dangerous. During this activity, contestants race in one narrow road in a mountainous location, which is one of the reasons it is considered one of the most risky type of drag racing (Heckler, 2010). The contestants are not required to go past the other drivers. Instead, the winner is determined by the distance kept from one contestant to the other. Important to note is the fact that the contesting drivers race from one point to another. The popular sites where this racing is carried out include the mountains in the Honshu Island in Japan and California in the Del Dios Highway located in Escondido.
In order to understand the social issues and implications of drag racing, it is imperative to highlight the reasons the individuals engage in the game despite the dangers it is associated with. Some people engage in this game just to prove themselves. Under normal circumstances, contestants are required to recompense some fee that is used to buy their helmets and at some point, increase the prize to be won. Not only does this give them a sense of purpose, but it also ensures responsibility. People who afford to pay for the number of different fees and have all the prerequisites are the ones who qualify to contend. Under such restrictions, individuals engage in drag racing to determine who has a more improved automobile or who is a better driver, which is a noble reason to compete (Heckler, 2010).
On the other hand, some people will engage in the race, especially in undesignated locations, as a form of adrenaline rush due to the dangers anticipated to be encountered, including the risk of fatal accidents and injuries and, in worse situations, death. The health and wellness of the racers and the onlookers have been the main social issues that top the list of drag racing activity. Although some bodies regulate the racing activities, some people still break the laws, thus putting their lives and that of other innocent road users at risk (Heckler, 2010). In fact, considering a situation where an inexperienced driver suddenly is behind the wheel of a high-speed car that appears to be about to fly and get out of control, with no clue of what to do or react. The scenario surrounds numerous drivers who engage in drag racing without following the precise procedures. They damage property and the lives of innocent people and increase insurance companies’ rates while indirectly causing detrimental impacts to other members of the community who have nothing to do with the event. Injuries, fatalities, and the deaths of drivers and onlookers involved in these racing activities are documented realities.
Drag racing also has the prospect of impacting the economic conditions of a nation through the massive revenues that the sporting organizations collect from the sponsors and racers alike. Moreover, drag racing has the capability to create more than 200 employment opportunities. For instance, a study conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research showed that this particular motorsport could increase the revenue collected by more than 10 million dollars per annum and, at the same time, create employment opportunities (Olberding. 2007). Not only would this benefit the locals of Nebraska but also the entire nation.
The direct economic impact is created by the number of in-the-county and out-of-the-nation as well as in-state and out of the county people from where the drag racing event is being carried out. In Nebraska, for instance, the annual sum estimated to be created by drag racing event is about 7.8 million dollars. The indirect economic impact is derived from the multiplier factors that entail the money collected by drag racing facility, including the retail stores, restaurants, and lodgings among other places in the marketplace. Moreover, the employee associated earnings have also been positively correlated (Milano and Challadurai, 2011).
Over the past decades, drag racing organizations have become rampant in their involvement in communities. In most cases, it occurs through philanthropy and benevolent activities. Ideally, drag racing activities have been shown to have some cultural implications. Indeed, this is based on the fact that a wide range of people are involved, irrespective of their social and cultural background. In addition, the gaming activity is associated with a celebrity distinction that is attached to the proficient athletes engaging in the drag racing event. Various studies have shown that motorsports, including drag racing, gives opportunities to the business enterprises to practice corporate social responsibility through the philanthropist planning and implementation of gaming activities, which is a way of giving back to the community and showing interest in the community’s welfare. Indeed, the engagement of drag racing by corporates, which is a show of social responsibility, is a powerful tool that can bring about social change (Diehl, 2007). The impact of this social change is felt more when the corporate and philanthropists let their motives be known by the community in which they are practicing the racing and the specific social issues they wish to address. As such, drag racing is an effective tool that can be used to alter the cultural activities while bringing about positive behavioral change.
Drag Racing Technology
The science and physics that go along with drag racing have, of late, become more detailed than ever before. As far as the professional drag racing series is concerned, winning margins are typically in milliseconds. Although the science and technology can be viewed as complex and multifaceted, there are huge aspects that are examinable with physics and math as well as the general knowledge about vehicle technology. The main determinants of drag race winning are lapse time and the speed at time is attained. Therefore, to achieve the optimum speed and effectiveness, the automobile professionals focus on the engine power, handling of the vehicle, and the vehicle’s aerodynamics.
The weight of the automobile is closely linked to these aspects. Although many rules and regulations bind the contestants, they do all they can in their capacity to make their automobiles as light as possible (Borg, 2007). According to the basic principles of physics, the heavier an automobile is, the higher the possibility of it to be slow.
The thumb tenet is also very vital to this race due to the reason that all other factors remain constant. In other words, although the drag activity that comes about based on the air resistance is an important aspect of drag racing, the short distance gives room for the little time used to turn out to be a big factor. Handling also enhances the contestant to maneuver way down the track. In addition, to enhance maximum traction, race slicks, also known as drag radials or large tires, are utilized to augment the tire’s surface area. In fact, larger tires generate more friction on the track area, thus affecting the pressure on them. As such, vehicles with larger tires and less horsepower have a higher chance of winning in drag racing as compared to those with smaller tires and more horsepower (Borg, 2007).
Drag racing is one of the motorsports that involves specialized automobiles or motorcycles. Two automobiles or motorcycles racing towards the finish line are advocated in the drag racing activity. The driver who crosses the finishing line first is termed as the winner. Contesting drivers always follow a parallel direction covering a distance between quarters of a mile to an eighth of the same, depending on the chosen distance. Drag racing has been shown to have major positive impacts on a community’s social and economic conditions. However, a wide range of detrimental effects are associated with this racing activity.
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Borg, K. L. (2007). Auto mechanics: Technology and expertise in twentieth-century America. Baltimore: John Hopkins Univ. Press.
Diehl, D. (2007). The sport philanthropy project. The Robert Wood Johnson Anthology, 11, 1-15.
Heckler, I. (2010). Drag racing 101: From building your first race car to securing sponsors. S.I.: publisher not identified.
Majerus, J. N. (2007). Winning more safely in motor sports: The workbook.
McKenna, K. (2008). How to drag race. North Branch, MN: CarTech.
Milano & Challadurai (2011). Gross domestic sport product: the size of the sport industry. Journal of Sport Management, 25, 24-35.
Olberding, Matt. 2007. Drag strip could pump $10 million into local economy. A study by UNL’s Bureau of Business Research. Retrieved on April 4, 2017, from http://journalstar.com/news/local/drag-strip-could-pump-million-into-local-economy/article_fe23ade2-3abb-50d9-bef2-be0c83777a83.html
Radlauer, E. (1966). Drag racing: Quarter mile thunder. London: Abelard-Schuman.