Drag Racing - Glossary


  • Back half—distance from the 1/8th mile mark to the 1/4 mark of the track.
  • Beam—starting line electric eye controlling prestaged and staged lights.
  • Bottle—refers to the nitrous system, also knock as the Jug.
  • Blow—supercharge; wreck. Said of an engine.
  • Blower—supercharger (occasionally turbocharger); in '90s, generally grouped as "power adder" with turbocharger and nitrous
  • Blown—supercharged; wrecked. Said of an engine.
  • Blowover—flipping of a car, due to air under car lifting front wheels. Commonly suffered by dragsters
  • Breakout—running quicker than dial-in; also "breaking out." Grounds for disqualification if opponent does not commit a foul start or cross boundary lines also known as Bustout.
  • Bulb(ed)—jump(ed) the start, left before tree turned green. This is a loss unless the opponent suffers a more serious foul.
  • Burnout- performed to heat the tires up for better traction
  • Christmas tree (or tree) —lights used to start a race in addition to showing starting violations
  • DA—density altitude; a reference to qualities in the air.
  • Dial-in—when bracket racing, drivers must estimate or "dial in" the time in which they expect to run. Therefore two unmatched cars in weight and power can compete, by a handicap system. If one runs a faster time than dialed in, it is a breakout.
  • Dope—(Southern U.S.) car using nitrous or propane injection on diesels
  • Digger—dragster (as distinct from a bodied car or flopper)
  • First or worst-if both drivers commit a foul, the driver who commits the foul first loses, unless it is two separate fouls, where the loser is the driver who committed the worse foul (lane violation is worse than foul start, and failure to participate in a post-run inspection is worst).
  • Flopper—Funny Car, short for "fender flopper." Coined by dragster crews in the late 1960s to separate Funny Cars, which had fiberglass bodies with fenders, from dragsters. Erroneously attributed to flip-top bodies of Funny Cars.
  • Fuel—mix of methanol and nitromethane ("pop," nitro); race class using it
  • Fueler—any car running fuel or in Fuel class (most often, TFD or TF/FC)
  • Grenade—wreck an engine (the engine "grenaded") due to internal failure. Distinct from "popping a blower."
  • Heads-up racing—where both drivers leave at the same time and is used in all professional ("pro") classes.
  • Holeshot—getting a significant advantage off the starting line. The other driver gets "holeshotted" or "left at the tree." A "holeshot win" is any win in a heads-up class where a slower car beats a faster car because of better reaction time.
  • Hook up—good traction between tires and track resulting in increased acceleration and reduced slipping or smoking of tires.
  • James Bond—driver's reaction time (when he leaves the start line) is seven thousands of a second after the green light (.007). A "James Bond Red" is a reaction time of -.007 seconds (red light), which is disqualification unless the opponent commits a more serious violation.
  • Kit—turbo or nitrous kit
  • Lit the tires—lost traction, causing burning rubber
  • Meth—methanol Injection used in conjunction with gasoline (non-leaded pump)
  • Mill - any internal combustion engine used in a drag car
  • Nitro—nitromethane (sometimes incorrectly used to refer to nitrous oxide)
  • Nitrous- refers to Nitrous Oxide systems manufactured by a wide range of companies
  • Overdrive—ratio between the revolutions of the supercharger to the revolutions of the engine, controlling amount of boost; see underdrive
  • Oildown — When a car's engine or lubrication breaks during a run, leaving a streak of oil and other fluids on the track. This is punishable by fines, point penalties, and/or suspension.
  • Pedalling—working the throttle to avoid lighting the tires, or as a way to sandbag; "pedalled" it, had to "pedal" it
  • Pro tree—timing lights which flash all three yellow lights simultaneously, and after four tenths of a second, turn green.
  • Put on the trailer—lost (got "put on the trailer") or won (put the other driver on the trailer). From the obvious, losing drivers trailer their cars home.
  • Quick 8 (Q8)—quickest eight cars in a defined race. Rules appear to can differ per location/race.
  • Rail—dragster (as distinct from bodied car or flopper). From the exposed frame rails of early cars.
  • Redlight(ed)—jump(ed) the start, left before tree turned green. This is a loss unless the opponent suffers a more serious foul.
  • Sandbagging—releasing the throttle or using the brakes at the end of the track during a bracket race after dialing a purposely slow time. Considered a dirty trick or tantamount to cheating in amateur classes.
  • Scattershield — metal sheet protecting driver in case of transmission failure
  • Slapper bar — traction bar
  • Slicks—rear tires with no tread pattern and softer rubber compound, for increased traction
  • Slingshot—early front-engined dragster, named for the driving position behind the rear wheels (erroneously attributed to launch speed)
  • Standard tree—timing lights which flash in sequence five tenths of a second between each yellow light before turning green. Traditional form, before introduction of pro tree.
  • Struck the tires—loss of traction, causing them to smoke
  • Throw a belt—losing the drive belt connecting the engine's crankshaft to the supercharger
  • Top end—finish line of strip; high part of engine's rev band.
  • Traction bars—rear struts fixed to rear axle to keep rear axle from twisting, causing wheel hop and loss of traction; also called slapper bars.
  • Trap(s)—the 20 meter (66 ft) timing lights at top end of race track to measure speed & E.T.
  • Trap speed—speed measured by the speed trap near the finish line, indicating maximum speed reached in a run
  • Wheel hop—violent shaking of the car as the tires lose and regain traction in quick succession.
  • Wheelie bars—rear struts fixed to rear axle, which protrude out to rear of car to help prevent car's front from raising too high or flipping over on launch.

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