This is a popular form of motor sport racing in the United States, which first began as illegal street racing. The idea is to cover a short distance, usually one quarter of a mile in the shortest amount of time. The course or strip is straight, resembling the streets of most American cities. Two cars stand next to each other as if waiting at a traffic signal. Once the green light goes on, they start.
The first drag strip began on an airfield in Santa Ana, California in 1950. It was in Southern California that the sport grew with various clubs organizing races and the
Hot Rod magazine was responsible for promoting racing safety and standardization.
Traditionally big American cars with high capacity engines have dominated drag racing. Initially contestants used modified street vehicles, but over time participants have become more inventive. The power to weight ratio of lighter, usually imported cars has made them popular especially when their engines are modified. Today there are several different classes in drag racing, each having varied requirements and restrictions on things such as weight, engine size, body style, modifications, and so forth.
The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) conducts most of the drag racing events in North America, while the International Hot Rod Association, (IHRA), is responsible for the others. The NHRA has over 200 classes, while the IHRA has fewer. And of course, there is Junior Dragster for youngsters. The Top Fuel Dragster (TF/D) is the fastest class in both the NHRA and IHRA. This is followed by the Top Fuel Funny Car (TF/FC), which is nearly as fast.
While drag racing is fairly common in America and Canada, other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, England, Mexico, the Caribbean and many European countries also have drag strips. There are over 325 drag strips worldwide.