zMAX Dragway Fans Experience Nearly One G-Force at NHRA Carolina Nationals Presented By WIX Filters

by October 15, 2018 0 comments

CONCORD, N.C. – Fans at zMAX Dragway for the Oct. 12-14 NHRA Carolina Nationals came to interact with their favorite drivers, witness tight championship battles, and feel ground-pounding 11,000 horsepower machines barrel down the dragstrip. According to the findings of a geophysics experiment during this weekend’s event, that feeling was the effect of nearly one g-force, or graviational pressure on the body, from the dragsters’ launch.

Graduate students from the University of South Carolina’s School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment embarked on zMAX Dragway with specially-constructed equipment to measure ground motion of the Top Fuel dragsters’ explosive departure from the starting line. Their findings surprised Professor Tom Owens, who experienced a major earthquake in Seattle several decades ago.

“I was in an earthquake in Seattle – a magnitude 5 earthquake – about 20 years ago and I could feel distinctly the initial pulse and then the rumbling afterwards,” said Owens. “The initial pulse from these racers is bigger than that pulse from the earthquake.”

After Saturday’s qualifying runs, data showed a reading of 0.75 g, or nearly one g-force, from an accelerometer placed just outside the starting line, where the 11,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragsters begin their 330mph runs down the dragway in under four seconds.

“If I had not been standing out there, I would not have believed that number,” said Owens. “But, for a brief moment, those beasts do shake the place.”

The geophysics class will complete the project in the coming weeks as they interpret data found during the NHRA Carolina Nationals and compile a formal scientific report of their findings. Students plan to return to zMAX Dragway in April 2019 to replicate the study at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, where quartets of 11,000-horsepower, nitro-burning machines will power down the dragstrip simultaneously in one of the greatest spectacles in all of racing.

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Source/Photo Credit: Charlotte Motor Speedway

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