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Posted: Jul 11, 2012

How does a Top Fuel dragster work?

What happens when you strap 8,000 horsepower onto a frame with four wheels? The absolute mechanical chaos known as Top Fuel drag racing, where the typical race car will consume nearly 15 gallons of fuel (at about $35 per gallon) just to cover just 1,000 feet in less time than it took you to read this sentence. The races may happen in nearly a blink of an eye, but the science behind the sport is really fascinating.

Did you know Top Fuel dragsters have no transmission or radiator? Did you know a Top Fuel car's supercharger robs the car of more than 600 horsepower, but helps create more than 8,000? The way these machines are able to barely hold themselves together for less than four seconds is simply amazing and requires the entire engine to be re-built in between runs.

Recently, Car Driver magazine and Popular Mechanics teamed up with David Grubnic and Kalitta Motorsports to explain how Top Fuel dragsters work and the subject of their YouTube video was the OPTIMA Batteries Top Fuel dragster. If you'd like to see a really informative, step-by-step explanation for what goes into these cars and what happens during a typical run, be sure to check out this fantastic video.

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