Drag Racing and street racing are sporting thrills that are sometimes considered illegal in some countries.
In North America, there are only 5 pro classes:
- Top Fuel Dragster
- Top Fuel Funny Car
- Pro Modified
- Pro Stock
- Pro Stock Bike
The two main organizations that oversee drag and street racing are the National Rod Hot Association, and the International Rod Hot Association. While the NRHA uses a quarter of a mile track, the IHRA prefers a 1/8 mile track.
The participants usually have to modify their cars in order to get the speed required to participate in and win these races. The car should have a good horsepower to weight ratio. This means that the car should be light in weight and yet have a powerful engine. Sometimes additives are added to increase the top speed.
Turbochargers, superchargers, and nitrous oxide are some of the additives used, to increase the horsepower. In drag racing the cars start from a speed of non-zero and build up to almost 350 mph. the criteria for winning the race are when the racer has a short reaction time and a short elapsed time. Plus of course the speed that it hits. The reaction time actually judges the reflexes because as soon as the flagger gives the go sign, the racer has to take off.
Should the reaction time be slow, then even if the elapsed time, which is the time taken to go from one point to another, is short, the driver does not win the race. The speed is checked at the finish line. Speed racing uses all kinds of vehicles, including trucks, jeeps and of course motorcycles. The racing track is as varied as from a straight line track in drag racing to point-to-point cross country racing and racing on winding mountain roads and through dangerous mountain passes. These drivers know no fear and consequently do superman like tricks, especially the motorcycle riders. In Hong-Kong, the motorcyclists put the fear of God into the traffic when they weave their bikes through them.
This is a major danger in racing, and that is why it is illegal in many countries. The thrill, though for the racers is because there is no entry fee, no politicking and the rules are created by them on a consensus basis. There is a strict code of conduct and a lot of camaraderie between the racers. The observers too, follow a code. Wagers are placed on the races. Though racing is banned in Britain, there are still many enthusiasts who race illegally. In Sweden the cars that are used are the Volvos and the Saabs. Here they race on closed streets and the race is done against time. In Malaysia and the Philippines, motorcycles are used for drag and street racing. Drag racing and street racing has caught people’s fancy to a point when movies are made on this. Video games have been designed so that the thrill of racing can be enjoyed by a larger public.