Friday, September 16, 2005

CH3NO2

There is a Nextel Cup NASCAR race in New Hampshire this weekend, weather permitting. I like NASCAR but I'm not a huge fan. I keep tabs on it and will watch the occasional race if I have lotsa beer and time and no roomies around who want to watch something gay. But I prefer drag racing and here's why.

The typical Nextel Cup car puts out around 700 horse power. Now that’s a lot of ponies for sure. Your car might have 130 if you're lucky. A Cup car's top speed is probably close to 200MPH. That’s haulin' the mail, Cletus! Actually, more like haulin' the moonshine since NASCAR originated from hopped up cars running moonshine one step ahead of the law. Nothing too unusual about these race cars. V-8 engines with carburetors. Some exotic alloys in the valve trains, etc. but not a lot different from my '69 Plymouth Roadrunner.

Drag racing, on the other hand, features fire breathing monsters know as Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars. These things are incredible. Their motors put out more horse power per cylinder than an entire Nextel Cup car engine. Estimates range from 8,000 HP on up. I read an article in Road & Track once that calculated that at a certain point during a race, a fuel motor is putting out over 10,000 horse power.

As far as performance, you'd better be equipped with a fire proof butt-plug if you ever drive one of these fuckers. They are the fastest linear accelerating vehicles on the planet. They out accelerate the Space Shuttle or a jet fighter being steam catapulted off the deck of an aircraft carrier. How fast is your car in getting from 0-60? My Toyota will do it in about 10 seconds. A top fuel dragster is going 100MPH in .8 seconds. In less than 4.5 seconds, you are going 335MPH. In 5 seconds, you've pulled your chutes, decelerated quicker than you just accelerated and have no doubt evacuated your bowels. A NASCAR Nextel Cup car going at top speed (200MPH) at the start line of a quarter mile would loose to a dragster racing from a dead start.

So how the hell do they do it? Simple - big V-8s, blowers and nitro methane. They use 500 cubic inch aluminum knock-offs of the Chrysler 426 hemi. Sitting on top of these motors is the supercharger, or blower, which is just a big compressor made out of titanium that jams the air/fuel mixture in to the cylinders almost to the point of hydraulic lock (turns into a liquid).

The piece de resistance is the fuel they burn: nitro methane (CH3NO2). It is partly self oxidizing so you can use a lot more fuel than air thus producing a hell of a lot more power - about 3 and a half times as much the engine would on gas. These mothers will burn about 10 gallons of nitro in a quarter mile pass. The exhaust produces a sickly sweet smell that is actually poisonous if you get too much. And boy, it's like getting hit with pepper spray.

So what are they like to watch/hear/experience? I went to the drags once with a NASCAR fan and after the fist pair of top fuelers took off, he just looked at me slack jawed and said "fuck." They are the loudest things you will ever hear. They literally take your breath away and almost knock you over when they take off, they cause that much over-pressure in the air. Because they are using basically a rocket fuel jammed into the cylinders at such high pressures (and due to valve over-lap), when they hit the throttle, huge flames erupt out of the headers. It's a site to behold.

A top fuel motor has been likened to a grenade with a loose pin. They explode so often that they have to cover them with ballistic blankets so people don't get fragged. You need a big budget to run one of these things. Apart from loosing engines, it costs about $5000 per quarter mile run.

True, a drag race lasts for only 4 seconds. And the cars go in circles for about two hours in NASCAR. But as I like to say: If you can turn, then you’re not going fast enough.

8 Comments:

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assuming a 3.5 second run @ 9,000 rpm, the engine makes 525 revolutions for the quarter mile at $9.52 per revolution.

Does anyone care???

 
At 10:15 AM, Blogger The Cod God said...

Anonymous said...

Assuming a 3.5 second run @ 9,000 rpm, the engine makes 525 revolutions for the quarter mile at $9.52 per revolution.

Does anyone care???

------------

No. Now go away.

Back to the dragsters...

I was reading somewhere that they are considering putting a cap on how fast they can go. The reason being is that when they are honkin' down the track and the motor blows, it runs so hot that pieces of metal will liquify. They literally have to scrape it off of the track. Not only that, it lights the asphault on fire.

How cool is that?

 
At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, assume you commute from southern NH to Boston, say, 60 minutes each way in your Toyota averaging 2,000 rpm. At $9.52 per revolution, that would amount to $2,284,800 per round trip.

Just thought the Cod God would appreciate this.

 
At 11:43 AM, Blogger Wheel Gun Bob said...

At 9000RPM in 4.5 seconds that would be a total of 675 revolutions. In a quarter mile, that would mean a dragster would travel slightly less than 2 feet per revolution.

 
At 12:10 PM, Blogger The Cod God said...

that's efficent enough for me...

hell, it's downright American

Why do you think that we drive on the right side of the road or that we turn left during races? It's because we so hate Eurotrash (and everyone else) that we do everything the exact opposite that they do.

I'm all for using an assload of fuel to make a car kick you in the teeth, as opposed to some 4-cyclinder chick ride from Japan.

"Ooh, I got 57 miles per gallon with my hybrid. I could only go uphill if I had a tailwind, but at least I saved a bunny somewhere. Won't my fellow tree-huggers be happy. Screw Bush. Yay Hillary!"

Fuck that.

Waste more, take more.

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger B-Face said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 12:48 PM, Blogger B-Face said...

Hey Codder, is that "Waste more, Take more," from a 'Noose song? Sure sounds familiar.

 
At 1:37 AM, Blogger Wheel Gun Bob said...

Fuck Hillary. Lets show her a thing or two. Fuck da bitch. I'm going to go out and buy a gas guzzling SUV with a "I Support The Troops" bumper sticker. Fuck Sadam. Hell, Hillary = Sadam. Good thing we have a god fearing president who, when he's not in an AA meeting, is planning our next invasion. Iran or bust!

 

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