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15 Terms Only Drag Racers Will Understand

15 Terms Only Drag Racers Will Understand
Like most sports, drag racing has it’s own terms and lingo that novices may not be aware of. That's something to be expected from a sport that has over 80 years under its belt. Drag racing slang or drag racing terms don't just relate to the rules of the sport. These are terms that have naturally evolved over the decades and are familiar to most veterans.

This list will give you a peek into terms only drag racers will understand. However, you'll have to get behind the wheel to understand it.

1. Christmas Tree

This is the starting device between the lanes on the starting line. It's also just called the Tree.

2. Deep Stage

This is the act of rolling in a few inches farther into the stage beam. A racer is closer to the finish line, but also closer to a foul start (a red-light).

3. Dial-In

Used by drivers when bracket racing to indicate the E.T., or elapsed time they are going to run.

4. Spun Or Spin

A term referring to the car losing tracking or spinning tires off the starting line.

5. Hole Shot

Starting line advantage achieved through a quicker reaction by a driver despite their slower elapsed time. The slang is used, "He got the hole shot on him."

6. Handicap

This is the head start given to the slower car in the race which features two vehicles of different performance potentials.

7. Breakout

This is a term used in handicap racing for a vehicle running faster than predicted by the racer. The racer who has broken out will lose unless one of their opponents commits a serious error.

8. Top End

This refers to the last 300ft or so of the track. "He pulled away at the Top End"

9. First or Worse

If two racers commit the same foul in a race, the first offender loses. If they commit different fouls, the worst offender loses. This is one of the more straightforward drag racing terms.

10. Let Off

When a racer stops accelerating for part of the race. "He let off at the top end." Usually because of the risk of Breaking Out (#3) or because of mechanical issues.

11. Sixty-Foot Time

Time taken for a car to cover the first 60 feet of a racetrack. Cutting a good 60ft is a way for a slower car to win a race.

12. Time Slip

A slip bearing the elapsed time, reaction time, and speed of a car given to the racer or crew after a run.

13. Bubble

Also called the bump, this is the no. 16 qualifying position or the bottom spot in the field.

14. Bumped

When a racer is 'bumped' down from a higher position to a lower position by an opponent.


The IHRA (International Hot Rod Association) and the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) are the 2 sanctioned authorities in the sport

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