What is the Difference between Racing & Drag Racing?

SponsorOPTIMA Batteries
LocationUnion Grove, Wisconsin
DateDecember 17, 2021
Racing has probably been around since there were two people on earth- race for the food, race away from the danger, etc... In modern times, racing has become more refined and taken on many forms, especially in motorsports. Drag racing is one of the most-popular forms of racing, although it is significantly different than many other forms of motorsports racing.

Drag racing takes place in a straight line, where two (and sometimes four) vehicles race out to a specific distance. The most-popular distances are 1/8th-mile, 1,000 feet and 1/4-mile. A drag race is typically started by a timing light, often referred to as a "Christmas tree," which counts down to the exact moment when drag racers are allowed to launch their vehicles and break the timing beam.

Each vehicle moves into the timing beam until the pre-stage and stage lights are illuminated. When both vehicles are staged, the countdown of three lights to a green light begins. In professional NHRA drag racing, all three timing lights illuminate at the same time, but in sportsman and recreational classes, drag racers often don't use a "pro tree." If they leave too early, a red light illuminates and their run doesn't count.

A drag racer's elapsed time and mile per hour are measured at the top end of the track and generally the first car to cross the finish line wins. Bracket racing can complicate this scenario a bit and probably needs it's own blog to be thoroughly explained.

Other forms of racing, including circle track and road course racing, often begin with a rolling start and the tracks are not a straight line, but may be an oval shape or a twisting circuit with multiple turns and straightaways. There are many more forms of motorsports racing, but most of them all involve the winner crossing a finish line first. OPTIMA has long sponsored a wide variety of racing, including drag racing events, like the K&N Spring Fling Million, powered by OPTIMA Batteries. Check out the video above, to get an idea of how exciting and action-packed drag racing can be.

Did you know many cars and trucks that compete in drag racing have either removed the alternator that keeps their battery charged or they run underdrive pulleys, that don't keep the battery voltage properly-maintained (but keep more horsepower headed toward the tires)? In those applications, you'll often see a lot of OPTIMA Digital 1200 battery chargers being used in the pits in between rounds, to keep batteries fully-charged whenever possible.