How To Crush A Record In An 11,000 Horsepower Top Fuel Dragster

GIF via TheHoonigans

Last Friday, Leah Pritchett broke the Top Fuel national time record with a ludicrously quick 3.658-second pass at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, reaching a ridiculous 329.34 mph in that short time. Here’s everything she and her team had to remember to get out of the way to prepare for such a run.

Racing snobs tend to write off drag racing as overly simple, but there is nothing easy about keeping an 11,000-horsepower engine in top shape, or about keeping it heading in a straight line at speeds most road racers will never see.


Here’s not only Pritchett’s insanely fast record-breaking run, but the full ritual she went through beforehand. She doesn’t just strap in—she runs through a few systems checks and her crew has to attach the starter to the car just to get it going.

We’re big fans of the pre-run burnout, naturally.

Moderator, OppositeLock. Former Staff Writer, Jalopnik. 1984 "Porschelump" 944 race car, 1971 Volkswagen 411 race car, 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS.

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Thought bubble... how much longer are the top categories going to be running on petrol for?

Electric motors have the low down torque and super fine control that would give perfect hole shots. You’d probably need a hybrid for weight/top end power, but I do have to wonder how a sport which is all about getting away from the line is going to keep holding onto the technology which is rapidly becoming outclassed.