Drag racing is hugely popular around the world, and today consists of competitions in which specially prepared cars, or motorcycles, race in pairs from a standing start, over a set distance. Most races take place over a distance of 400m (one quarter of a mile), but it is also common to find races being held over 300m, or even as little as 200m. Today races are timed using electronic sensing equipment, and faster vehicles can accelerate to speed that require the use of a parachute to assist in stopping the vehicle.
In the United States the majority of drag racing events fall under the watchful eye of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), although a significant number of races are overseen by smaller organizations, including Feld Entertainment’s International Hot Rod Association (IHRA). As drag racing has been around for many years now, there are also several niche organizations that look after such things as racing for nostalgia vehicles and even muscle cars. In these energy conscious times, there are even races for electric vehicles, looked after by the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA).
Drag racing has a huge following around the world, and there are also many long-standing bodies to oversea the sport abroad. For example, the BHRA (British Hot Rod Association) was founded in 1960, while the ANDRA (Australian National Drag Racing Association) was set up in 1973. Today, the sport is even growing rapidly in India, where Autocar India organized the first meeting in the country at Mumbai in 2002.
Modern drag racing vehicles competing at the top of the sport are highly sophisticated, and very expensive, vehicles with their own teams of engineers and mechanics, who spend weeks working on the cars and doing such things as fine engine tuning before each race. Then, on race day, a standard drag racing competition is a straight knockout fight, with cars competing in pairs and the loser of each race leaving the competition, until just one driver is left as the winner.
Drag racing is fast, furious and exciting, and is often as exciting for the spectators as it is for the competitors.