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AIR BOX -  An under-bonnet device that settles “negative air” around carburettors, in the same way that the way that a hood scoop does.

AIR FOIL -  Similar to a wing – a piece of bodywork that acts as a stabiliser, generally used to create downforce which helps increase tire-to-track adherence at high speed.

ALL RUN FORMAT-  A style of racing where points are awarded for race wins and losses, and bonus points are awarded for quickest elapsed times. This format of racing is used in place of Eliminations at selected events, allowing all racers to return for each round of racing regardless of their performance in the previous round – guaranteeing more racing for the fans.

BACKPEDAL- When a Driver lets off the throttle momentarily and then gets back on it to regain traction (if smoking the tyres) or to avoid or stop tyre shake. A driver may also apply the brake in this situation to help the vehicle recover quicker.

BANG THE BLOWER- Also known as “Lifting the Blower”. An explosion inside the supercharger or manifold caused by flame from the combustion process accidentally entering the manifold where fuel and air are present under high pressure from the supercharger. Generally caused by a stuck or broken intake valve that would usually be closed during the combustion sequence.

BURN DOWN- a situation on the start line where both racers will sit in pre-stage without going into stage in an attempt to try and gain a start line advantage over their competitor. Once a competitor stages, his or her opponent has (normally) seven seconds to stage or they will be disqualified.

BURNED PISTON-  When a cylinder in the engine runs too lean (too much air in the air-to-fuel mixture), it produces excessive heat and burn or melts the piston.

BREAKOUT -  Used only in Dial-Your-Own Handicap racing. Refers to a vehicle running a quicker elapsed time that the racer has predicted or “dialled in”. The racer who breaks out loses, unless his or her opponent breaks out by more or commits a more serious foul such as a red light, centreline infraction or boundary infraction.

BUMP SPOT- Also called simply “The Bump”. The number 8 or 16  (depending on the class size) qualifying position.

BURNOUT- Spinning the rear tyres in water before a run to heat and clean them, and also to lay a fresh patch of rubber on the track for a better launch and traction.

CHRISTMAS TREE- Also known as “The Tree”. The electronic starting device between the lanes on the start line.

CHUTE- Short for Parachute, the device that helps slow the car at the end of the run. Some vehicles may use multiple chutes to help slow the car from higher speeds.

CLUTCH LOCKUP- The progression of a clutch disc engagement system, controlled progressively by air timers. Primarily used in Top Fuel and Nitro Funny Cars.

DEEP STAGE- To roll a few inches further into the stage beams, which is indicated by the pre-stage lights on the Christmas Tree turning off. In that position, a racer is slightly closer to the finish line, but also much closer to a foul (red  light) start.

DNQ-  Did Not Qualify

DROPPED CYLINDER- When a cylinder runs too rich (too much fuel in the air to fuel mixture) and prevents the spark plug or plugs from firing. A dropped cylinder is often visible due to the raw, unburnt fuel spewing from an exhaust header.

ELAPSED TIME-  Also known as ET. The time it takes for a vehicle to travel from the start line to the finish time. This is timed independently of reaction time.

ELIMINATIONS- The portion of an event that determines the winner. Vehicles are raced, two at a time, resulting in one winner and one loser. Winners progress to the next round in a tournament style competition until only one remains.

FULL TREE-   Used in most sportsman categories which require a handicap start. The three amber light flash consecutively four tenths of a second apart, followed by the green light four tenths later.

GROOVE- Path of traction laid down by other vehicles that have gone down the track, usually in the centre of each lane. Distinguishable by a Darker, lower sheen colour on the racing surface.

HANDICAP RACING- Sportsman Dial your Own (DYO) racing. The aim is to run as close to the ET that the racer has predicted or “dialled in”. If they go under their nominated ET, they “break out”. The racer who breaks out loses, unless his or her opponent breaks out by more or commits a more serious foul such as a red light, centreline infraction or boundary infraction.

HEADER(S)- A fine-tuned exhaust system that routes the exhaust from the engine. This replaces a conventional exhaust manifold.

HOLESHOT-  When a racer with a slower ET than his or her opponent wins a race because they had a better reaction time (left the start line first).

HYDRAULIC- When a cylinder fills with too much fuel, prohibiting compression by the piston and causing a mechanical malfunction, often explosive in nature. Hydraulic situations in the past have been known to split engine blocks and separate the head from the rest of the engine.

INDEX- an ET Assigned by the sanctioning body as a predictor of performance for vehicles in that class. Indexes allow various classes of cars to race in the same eliminator competitively.

INCREMENTAL TIMERS- Elapsed Time clocks at the 60 ft (approx. 18m), 330 ft (100m) 660 ft (201m) and 1000ft (305m) that record the ET from the starting line to each of those intervals. The 660 ft (201m) timer also includes a speed trap.

LOOSE- When a car drives out of the groove; for example “he got loose at about 60ft”.

METHANOL- Pure methyl alcohol fuel produced by synthesis; used in many supercharged and non-supercharged vehicles from professional categories through to Junior Dragsters.

NITROMETHANE- Known as “nitro” for short. CH3NO2 is the result of a chemical reaction between nitric acid and propane. Primary fuel for Top Fuel Dragsters, mixed with around 10-15% Methanol.

OILDOWN- When a race vehicle deposits oil or fluid onto the racing surface, causing a delay.

PRE-STAGED- When a racer is approximately 7 inches behind the starting line and the top bulb on the Christmas Tree on his or her side of the racetrack is illuminated.

PRO TREE- Used in professional categories of racing. Also Referred to as “Heads Up”. The amber lights flash simultaneously, followed by the green light four-tenths of a second later.

REACTION TIME- The time that it takes for a vehicle’s front tires to clear the staging beam after the green light comes on. A perfect reaction time is .000 . The reaction time is recorded independently of the Elapsed Times.

RED LIGHT- When a vehicle leaves the starting line before the green light indicated by the red light on the Christmas Tree. When a foul start occurs on race day, the racer is deemed to be the loser of that race (unless their opponent commits a worse infraction). A Red-light in qualifying or testing has no impact on the racers elapsed time or qualifying attempt.

SAFETY CREW- A team of men and women who are specially trained to respond in the event of an accident or incident on the racetrack. They are the first on the scene of a crash or fire, and their priority is to ensure to safety of the drivers whilst on the race track.

SAND TRAP- also known as the Gravel Trap. Located at the end of the braking area, this is used to help stop race cars and bikes that have issues slowing sufficiently to take the turnout. Located toward the end of the sand trap is a dual catch net system designed specifically to catch errant race cars.

SHALLOW STAGE- When a driver enters stage by a small margin, essentially extending the area in which the vehicle can move without triggering the timers. This allows the racer to get a small “run up” and can improve an elapsed time by hundredths of a second. Shallow staging often results in slower reaction times because of this.

SHUTDOWN AREA-  Also known as the braking area. The area from the finish line to the sand trap where race vehicles come to a stop. Designed with a slight uphill banking to help slow the cars and bikes from high speeds.

SIXTY FOOT TIME- The time that it takes a vehicle to cover the first 60 feet (18m) of the racetrack. This is the most accurate measure of the launch from the starting line and is the interval that is considered most critical to a quick ET.

SLICK- Racing Tyre that has no tread.

SLIDER CLUTCH-  A multi-disc clutch designed to slip until a predetermined RPM is reached. This decreases the shock load to the drive wheels.

SPEED TRAP-The final 66 feet to the finish line where speed is calculated.

STAGED- Also known as “Full Stage”. When the front wheel or wheels of the vehicle are on the starting line, indicated by the second bulb on the racers side of the Christmas Tree being illuminated. On a paired run, once both racers are staged, the calibrated countdown of the amber lights leading to the green starting lights will begin at anytime.

SUPERCHARGER- a crank driven air / fuel mixture compressor also known as a blower. It increases atmospheric pressure within the engine to produce more horsepower.

TIME SLIP- Given to the racer or crew after the run, it lists the reaction time , incremental times, elapsed time and speed for the paired run. It may also indicate who won, and the margin of victory (in time).

TIRE SHAKE- A severe vibration that usually occurs in the first half of the run and is the result of losing traction. Can be caused by both under powering and overpowering the race track. Usually, the driver will have to “pedal” the car to regain traction.

WEIGHT TRANSFER- Critical to Traction. Vehicles are set up to provide a desired weight transfer to the rear wheels. Upon acceleration, the from wheels lift and the weight shifts to the rear wheels which makes them less likely to spin into tyre shake or smoke.


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