Night Drag Racing shots - Top Fuel!

Mar 25, 2005
Raleigh, NC
Just thought I'd share these with you. It was fun to experiment with different settings to get these. Both shot with D2X /17-55.

ISO 200, 1/25th F4.5
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ISO 100 1/25th F3.2
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Jan 17, 2006
East TN
oh, this would be fun. I may have to go try this sometime! I'd say you met the challenge pretty well with these 2. Tough shoot.
Jun 15, 2006
RV on the road
GREAT STUFF! Did you zoom during that second shot? You really gave a feel for the action - excellent! Were you synced to the track flash system?


Apr 30, 2005
sf bay area
hi david-

great shots. the mix of ambient and flash gives you that sense of speed and motion. the burning fuel is a cool touch too.

Oct 8, 2006
I really like them both.
Longer shutter speeds and flash working together to get a real sense of speed in to these photos, nice work.


Very nice! I want to go the the track in Commerce GA and get some pictures, but every year I miss it. I will catch it next year. Southern Nationals here in GA.
Nov 11, 2005
Houston, TX
In case no one here has seen this comparison before.....

Z06 TT vs Top Fuel Dragster

From an automotive perspective...

* One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower
than the first 4 rows at the Daytona 500.

* Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1½ gallons of nitromethane
per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate with
25% less energy being produced.

* A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the
dragster supercharger.

* With 3000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive,
the fuel mixture is compressed into a near-solid form before ignition.
Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full throttle.

* At the stoichiometric 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitromethane the
flame front temperature measures 7050 degrees F.

* Nitromethane burns yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the
stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric
water vapor by the searing exhaust gases.

* Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of
an arc welder in each cylinder.

* Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After 1/2
way, the engine is dieseling from compression plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1400 degrees F. The engine can only be shut down by cutting the fuel flow.

* If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in
the affected cylinders and then explodes with sufficient force to blow
cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half.

* In order to exceed 300 mph in 4.5 seconds dragsters must accelerate at
an average of over 4G's. In order to reach 200 mph well before half-track,
the launch acceleration approaches 8G's .
* Dragsters reach over 300 miles per hour before you have completed reading this sentence.

* Top Fuel Engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to light!

* Including the burnout the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under load.

* The red-line is actually quite high at 9500 rpm.

* The Bottom Line; Assuming all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs an estimated US
$1,000.00 per second. The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time record
is 4.441 seconds for the quarter mile (10/05/03, Tony Schumacher). The top
speed record is 333.00 mph (533 km/h) as measured over the last 66' of the
run (09/28/03 Doug Kalitta).

Putting all of this into perspective:

You are driving the average $140,000 Lingenfelter "twin-turbo" powered
Corvette Z06. Over a mile up the road, a Top Fuel dragster is staged and ready to launch down a quarter mile strip as you pass. You have the advantage of a flying start. You run the 'Vette hard up through the gears and blast across the starting line and past the dragster at an honest 200 mph. The 'tree' goes green for both of you at that moment. The dragster launches and starts after you. You keep your foot down hard, but you
hear an incredibly brutal whine that sears your eardrums and within 3 seconds the dragster catches and passes you. He beats you to the finish line, a quarter mile away from where you just passed him.

Think about it, from a standing start, the dragster had spotted you 200 mph
and not only caught, but nearly blasted you off the road when he passed you within a mere 1320 foot long race course.

That, folks, is acceleration.

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