Drag Racing Machines & Classes

In the world of drag racing Countries will often give a race class a different name though the rules are the same.  On this page are the classes that run in the UK with a variety of images of the machines that compete in them.

Top Fuel.  The ultimate class in drag racing.  These machines produce over 10,000 horse power, reach 100mph in under 1 second and will cover the 1000ft distance in less than 4 seconds at speeds of over 300mph.  The ‘fuel’ is nitromethane a very explosive liquid that makes it’s own oxygen.

The moment 10,000 horsepower is let loose! 2018 champion Anita Makela of Finland launches her Top Fuel Dragster and runs 3.872 312.44mph over the 1,000 ft
Finland’s Antti Horto runs a 3.97 300mph, check out the distortion in the rear tyre!
Top Fuel match race. Liam Jones of the UK (green car) thunders down the strip in 3.90 secs at 307mph! Maja Udtian from Norway unfortunately loses traction and smokes the tyres. You have to witness this spectacle, it is hard to describe the sound and smell

Nitro Funny Car.   Wild and exciting.  These short wheelbase machines with the engine in front of the driver are as powerful as the Top Fuel dragsters.  In Europe they are not as quick as the dragsters.  The bodies are carbon composite replicas of modern cars and are often known as ‘floppers’.

‘West Ten’ a Mustang bodied Funny Car driven by Kevin Kent
Festival of Power 2019. Blast off! Nitro Funny Car final. Kevin Kent in the ‘West Ten’ Mustang (grey car) set new ET and speed records but still lost to a ‘holeshot’ by Kevin Chapman in the ‘Thermoreg/Hass’ Mustang
Flames from the headers and clutch dust from the rear. Steve Ashdown’s ‘Undertaker’ Nitro Funny Car blasts into the late afternoon sun

Top Methanol.  These cars resemble the more powerful nitro machines.  Once  very popular classes sadly numbers of entrants has dropped so the dragsters and funnies often race together with a handicap to the (very slightly) slower funny cars.  The dragsters can run with a supercharged (blown) engine using methanol as fuel, or injected where nitro is allowed, these are known as ‘A Fuel’.  Raced over the 1/4 mile, times of low 5 seconds and speeds to 280mph.

Top Methanol dragster driven by Chris Polidano of Malta, an ‘A Fuel’ car
2019 Top Methanol champion Sandro Bellio of Belgium
Top Methanol Dragster, Dennis Habermann from Germany

Pro Stock.  Highly sophisticated machines based on production cars.  Will run under 6 and a half seconds and reach over 210mph, they need perfect track conditions or will get well out of shape.  In Europe this class is dominated by Swedish teams.

Bengt Ljungdahl in his Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stocker
Multiple Pro Stock Champion Jimmy Alund of Sweden runs a 6.579 @ 210mph in his Camaro
Robin Noren of Sweden wins Pro Stock beating champion Jimmy Alund on a holeshot. A holeshot is where the elapsed time is slower but the reaction time to the staring lights quicker

Pro Mod.  This is my favorite class.  Full bodied door cars with huge engines.  The styles range from a 1930’s hot rod to modern American ‘muscle cars’.  Three engine types are permitted, supercharged running on methanol, nitrous injected or turbocharged, the biggest motor is over 14,000cc!  These crazy machines will run high 5 secs up to 260mph over the 1/4 mile.

The ‘Old Fifty One’ Pro Mod is based on a 1951 Chevrolet Business Coupe
Bert Englefield’s ’38 Ford Coupe ‘The Hot Rod’
Bobby Wallace lifts the wheels and runs his first 5 in his new nitrous injected Camaro Pro Mod

Comp Eliminator.  In this class almost anything goes, except nitro.  The machines are grouped into brackets based on power to weight ratio, each bracket has an elapse time so a handicap is given to the faster bracket.  There is no penalty for going quicker so it’s first to the line wins.

Rob Smallworth and his 55 Chevy Bel Air running in Comp Eliminator
Robin Sattler from Germany in his 2.2 litre dragster winning the 2019 Euro Finals Comp Eliminator class
Elaine Hancock warms the tyres on her new ride ‘Lethal Zephyr’ in Comp Eliminator

Super Comp.  These can be dragsters, altereds or door cars but they must not go quicker than 8.90 seconds.

Multiple Super Comp champion Stu Doignie in his VX4/90 ‘OO Heaven’
Norway’s Mari Udtian in a Super Comp dragster

Super Gas.  These cars must not go quicker than 9.90 seconds.  Some teams will enter this class and Super Comp and will tune their engines accordingly.

Often run in Super Gas ‘Tim’s Toy’ a 1967 Chevy Nova of Tim Moore
‘Green Fish’ Jon Turner’s Super Gas Plymouth Barracuda
Jon Giles competing in Super Gas with the Blitzkrieg Racing Roadster

Super Street.  For full bodied cars only, the index is 10.90.

‘Dark Revenger’ Dave Cherrett’s Ford model A van in Super Street

Super Pro ET.  For machines running between 6 and 8.99 seconds.  In the ET classes the team will give an elapse time (ET) for their vehicle and must not go quicker.  The slower team gets a handicap starting advantage so it is down to reaction times but you must reach the stripe first.

Super Pro ET dragster of John Przybyl
Backing up to the startline after their burnouts, Laura Turburville in the ‘Bad Blood’ dragster and Mark Flavell in the Pontiac bodied funny car. These run in a class called ‘Super Pro ET’ which is open to any car that can run between 6 & 8.99 seconds.
Super Pro ET Brad Jackson and the Lucas oil dragster

Pro ET.  Same rules as Super Pro but elapsed times of between 9 and 11.99 seconds. A mix of mostly door cars with some dragsters and altereds.

‘Plum Crazy Racing’s’ Plymouth Barracuda in Pro ET at the wheel Simon Innes
Big wheelies from Nic Williams in Pro ET

Street Eliminator.  Totally street legal, not the sort of car you would want to pull alongside at the traffic lights!  The best of these cars will cover the 1/4 mile in under 7 seconds at over 200mph!  They must also complete a 20+ mile cruise between qualifying and eliminations.

Team Extreme run this Nissan GTR in Street Eliminator, Matt Smith driving
‘The Ugly Sister’ Andy Bond’s totally street legal ’56 Chevy 210, the first UK Street Eliminator car to run in the 6’s at well over 200mph!

Junior Dragster.  For the under 18 year olds.  These machines run over 1/8th of a mile but will still reach over 80mph in under 8 seconds, quicker than most road cars.  It is an elapse time (ET) class with starting advantage to the slower car.

Junior Dragster. This is Matthew Dowdy
In his last season as a junior Billy Everitt finished as champion

Outlaw  Anglia.  Wild, crazy with the top cars running in the 7’s.  Heads up racing for 1940’s style cars with all the modern refinements.

Colin Millar, Outlaw Anglia champ
‘Gas Attack’ Paul Hensher’s Outlaw Anglia
In 2021 Jedd Guy broke the 6 second barrier in Outlaw Anglia with a 6.97 @193mph this was the first European run in the 6’s

Nostalgia Nitro.  This is for those cars that are based on machines of the 1970’s. A mix of Fuel Altereds and Funny Cars.  They will run low 6 seconds at over 200mph and give a taste of what it was like in the sport’s early years.

Nick Davies in the Fuel Altered ‘Havoc’
‘Time Warp’ a Mustang bodied Nostalgia Funny Car driven by Wendy Baker
‘Venom’ The beautiful Camaro bodied nitro Funny Car driven by Tony Betts

Wild Bunch.  Another class giving a taste of 70’s nostalgia racing.

‘Jurassic Parts’ slingshot dragster driven by Mick Gleadow in Wild Bunch
Wild Bunch, Keith Crampton and the ‘Soul Town Shaker’ slingshot
‘Rough Diamond’ is one of the original race cars from the period, driven by Dave Gibbons

Nostalgia Superstock.  This class is for pre-1980 American V8s and is run on a dial in basis, the top cars run in the 9 seconds.

Jack Bishop’s Nostalgia Superstock ‘Cuda
Wheels up! Guy King’s Chevelle SS in Nostalgia Super Stock
Plymouth Road Runner driven by John Davison

Gasser Circus.  Dial in racing for these nose high throwbacks to the ’60’s.  Times in the 9’s with speeds to over 130mph.  A diverse range of bodies used.

Gasser Circus 57 Ken Brookes beautiful ’57 Chevy Belair now owned and raced by Santa Pod’s head Keith Bartlett
Gasser Circus pits at ‘Dragstalgia 2019’ from right Martyn Hallam’s ’33 Willys ‘Hallam, Hallam & Couch’, Brian Gibson’s ’64 Dodge Dart ‘Identity Crisis’ and Ray Turner’s ’55 Chevy ‘Green Onions’
Sean Milsom’s choice of body is a 1940’s Morris Z van ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’

Supercharged Outlaws.  Ranging from nitro slingshots to street legal hot rods they must run quicker than 9.90 and like to indulge in ‘grudge’ races.

Tony Underhill’s Supercharged Outlaw Willys Sedan ’99 Problems’
‘Twister’ is a Supercharged Outlaw based on a Ford model T and driven by Andy Hadfield and is also street legal!
Steve Clarke and the ‘Good Guys’ Supercharged Outlaw Topolino bodied altered

Willys Wars.  A match racing class with no dial in, brackets or eliminations just heads up racing for bragging rights.

Pete Rivers ’42 Willys with a 383ci (6276cc) motor
Philip Moules and ‘Trigger’s Broom’ a ’41 coupe with 496ci (8127cc) blown big block Chevy power

There are several other Sportsman Classes I have not described here which feature at National Meetings.  This ensures you get a full days entertainment, great value for a day out and you can wander around the pits and meet the teams when they are not busy preparing the machines.

There are portfolios of several meetings from Santa Pod on the HOME page. https://blhphotoblog.wordpress.com/home/