Drag racing

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Originating from illegal street racing in the United States in the 1950's, drag racing is a test of pure acceleration.

Drag racing occurs on straight, level tracks of exactly one-quarter of a mile (402.33 meters), with extra room for the competitors to slow down after the finish. Two cars race each other to the end of the track. The winning car goes through to the next round of competition, the other eliminated from the competition.

There are many classes of drag racing, involving everything from stock and near-stock road cars, to heavily modified road cars, to "Funny Cars" which are custom-built drag racers with bodyshells that look (somewhat) like production vehicles, to "Top Fuel" dragsters, which look something like open-wheel racing cars, with trailing wheels on subframes to stop the enormous power of the nitro-methane powered engines flipping the vehicle on initial takeoff. There are even categories for motorcycle drag-racing.

The faster categories of drag racing are an impressive spectacle, with engines of over 2000 kilowatts and noise outputs to match, cars that look like bizarre parodies of standard street cars, and the ritual of "burnouts" where, prior to the actual timed run, the competitors cause their wheels to spin while stationary or moving slowly, thus heating up the tires and laying down sticky rubber to get optimum grip on the all-important initial takeoff.

Drag racing is also popular in Australia.