How Much Do You Know About Top Fuel Dragsters?

By: Robin Tyler

How Much Do You Know About Top Fuel Dragsters?
Image: peepo/E+/gettyimages

About This Quiz

In the world of motorsport, nothing is as quick as a Top Fuel dragster! You can have your IndyCar machines, your pure-bred Formula One racers and your NASCAR stock cars... None of them can top a Top Fuel dragster in both the speed and, perhaps more importantly, acceleration stakes. 

Speed is of paramount importance to a Top Fuel dragster. However, it's the acceleration to get these impressive machines to their top speed that makes all the difference. See the green light, hit the pedal and blast off! That's how these behemoths operate.

Top Fuel drag racing is really something to behold, especially when you go to a live event. It's not just about the incredible speed and acceleration; it's the smell of the fuel and burning rubber, the noise of these unbelievable engines and the anticipation of the crowd that make a drag event a must-see!

But just how much do you know about the world of Top Fuel drag racing?  From the men and women who drive these monsters to the performance figures they generate, let's put your knowledge to the ultimate test. 


In 2017, who won the Top Fuel Dragster Championship, becoming only the second woman to do so?
Brittany Force
In 2017, Brittany Force, a member of the legendary Force family, was crowned the Top Fuel Dragster champion. She won the series from Steve Torrence by just 81 points.
Leah Pritchett
Lori Johns
Shirley Muldowney

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At full throttle, how much nitro fuel does a Top Fuel dragster use?
1000 gallons a second
5 gallons a minute
0.1 gallons a second
1.5 gallons a second
A Top Fuel dragster is a thirsty thing. When at full throttle and hurling down the asphalt, it is guzzling 1.5 gallons of nitro fuel a second. That puts it on par with a Jumbo 747 in the thirsty stakes!

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Can you name the Top Fuel drag racer to score five championships and 52 victories in his career?
Todd Patton
Doug Herbert
Joe Amato
Joe Amato scored 52 drag race victories over the course of his career along with 5 NHRA Top Fuel championships. He was also the first to take his car through the 260 and 280 mph barrier in competition setup.
Jack King

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What speed do Top Fuel dragsters regularly reach in competition?
200 mph
800 mph
175 mph
335 mph
A Top Fuel dragster in competition setup can reach up to 335 mph. That is over 500 km/h. Now, that is some speed!

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In Top Fuel drag racing, who was the first ever African American to be crowned champion?
Antron Brown
Drag racing’s first black champion, Antron Brown, has won the championship on no less than four occasions. He is a co-host of Top Gear America.
Scott Palmer
Tony Schumacher
Clay Millican

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Travelling at 335 mph, how long does it take a Top Fuel dragster to finish a 1000-foot track?
6 seconds
3.6 seconds
Travelling at around 335 mph means a Top Fuel covers plenty of ground... fast! In fact, it will cover 1000 ft (around 300 meters) in just 3.6 seconds. Amazing!
0.3 seconds
1 second

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How long will it take a Top fuel dragster to travel from a standing start to 60 mph?
1.5 seconds
0.8 seconds
In under a second, 0.8 seconds to be exact, a top-fuel dragster is running at over 60 mph from a standing start. That's about three times faster than a sports car like Porsche 911. Within 200 meters of starting, it is approaching 300 mph.
3 seconds
2.2 seconds

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In Top Fuel drag racing, what is the displacement of the engines featured in these dragsters?
100 cubic inches
500 cubic inches
The engines in modern Top Fuel dragsters are limited to 500 cubic inches by the National Hot Rod Association. The compression ratio in these engines is around 6.5:1.
1000 cubic inches
None of the above

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What is Top Fuel dragster fuel primarily composed of?
Gasoline
Nitromethane
Top Fuel dragster fuel is 90 percent nitromethane and 10 percent methanol. When burned, it provides 2.3 times more power than regular gasoline.
Methanol
None of the above

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How many exhaust pipe outlets does a Top Fuel dragster have?
2
4
6
8
Top Fuel dragsters each have eight outlet pipes for their exhaust systems. These are 18 inches long and 2.75 inches in diameter. Made of steel, they are often called "zoomies."

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What kind of brake horsepower does a Top Fuel dragster in race trim push out?
999 bhp
500 bhp
3,000 bhp
10,000 bhp
10,000 brake horsepower! That's just mind blowing. But yes, that is what a Top Fuel dragster pushes out in order to get the vehicle up to 335 mph over the course of a run.

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During a run, spark plugs are provide with how many amps by the magnetos?
44 amps
Top Fuel dragsters have dual magnetos. These supply the spark plugs in the engine with an incredible 44 amps during a competitive run, which destroys the electrodes.
3 amps
12 amps
None of the above

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From the list below, can you name an eight-time Top Car dragster champion?
Mike Strasberg
Tony Schumacher
Tony Schumacher is an eight-time NHRA Top Fuel dragster champion. He titled in 1999, from 2004 to 2009 and again in 2014. In 2005, he recorded the fastest Top Fuel dragster quarter-mile run, with a top speed of 337.5 mph.
Craig Smith
Ron Passie

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What is the redline for one of these dragster's engines?
6,000 RPM
9,500 RPM
Strangely enough, for all that power, a Top Fuel dragsters engine does not rev that much higher than a normal car. They spin at around 9,500 RPM at full speed.
22,000 RPM
None of the above

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Can you guess what kind of G-forces a Top Fuel drag racer will feel when pulling away from the line?
0.5 Gs
3 Gs
5 Gs
8 Gs
8 Gs! That's fighter pilot territory. But in order to get a Top Fuel dragster up and over the 300 mph mark on a 1000 foot track, that's the force a driver will have to withstand!

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Although Nitromethane fuel burns yellow, when running at night, a pure white flame can be seen coming from the exhaust. What gas is burning to produce that?
Hydrogen
That white flame is pure hydrogen that has been burned. How? Well, the exhaust stacks get so hot that the hydrogen left to burn after the water vapor is effectively vaporized by the heat. And it looks spectacular!
Oxygen
Carbon dioxide
None of the above

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Top Fuel dragsters are not only fast; they're noisy! How many decibels will an engine at full throttle generate?
33 dB
150 dB
A full-revving Top Fuel dragster engine will generate an impressive 150 dB. That's like standing 25 meters away from a jet taking off. Better take some earplugs!
3000 dB
None of the above

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In 1996, which Top Fuel dragster driver died, making him the first fatality in the sport in 25 years?
Lewis Hamilton
Blaine Johnson
A NHRA Top Alcohol dragster legend, Blaine Johnson won that class championship for four years in a row from 1990 to 1993. He moved to the prestigious Top Fuel class but died in a crash in 1996, the first fatality since 1971.
Gilles Villneurve
Ayrton Senna

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Do you know how much a Top Fuel dragster engine weighs?
496 lb
Lightweight but still powerful, a Top Fuel dragster engine weighs around 496 lbs. That's thanks to the fact that the block and many other parts are made from aluminum. The block itself weighs just 187 lbs.
100 lb
1,000 lb
801 lb

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Who was the first woman to win the Top Fuel dragster championship?
Shirley Muldowney
Shirley Muldowney won three Top Fuel Dragster championship titles in the late '70s and early '80s. She was the first woman to be given a Top Fuel dragster racing license and is considered a pioneer in the sport.
Brittany Force
Kitty O'Neil
Mendy Fry

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What is Shirley Muldowney affectionately known as on the drag racing circuit?
Fast Shirley
First Lady of Drag Racing
The Top Fuel drag racing champion in 1977, 1980 and 1982, Shirley Muldowney is affectionately known as the 'First Lady of Drag Racing.'
Speedy Shirl
Shattering Shirley

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From the list below, can you name the 2018 Top Fuel drag racing champion?
Mike Salinas
Antron Brown
Steve Torrence
After finishing behind Brittany Force by just 81 points to lose out on the 2017 title, Steve Torrence went one better in 2018. He was crowned the Top Fuel drag racing champion when he finished 304 points ahead of Tony Schumacher.
Doug Kalitta

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Can you name the driver that was not only a Funny Car dragster champion, but excelled at Top Fuel dragster racing as well?
Valtteri Bottas
Valentino Rossi
Gary Scelzi
Not only has Gary Scelzi won the NHRA Top Fuel championship on three occasions, but he also won the 2005 Funny Car championship as well. Now, that's impressive!
Max Verstappen

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True or false? "Top Fuel drag racers can wear open helmets when racing."
True
False
No, not at all. All helmets must be full face with the HANS neck safety devices fitted to them as well. This helps prevent serious neck injuries in the result of an accident.

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From the options below, which metal is a Top Fuel engine block forged from?
Stainless Steel
Iron
Aluminum
Although they generate crazy amounts of power, a Top Fuel dragster engine must be relatively light. For this reason, the engine block is forged from aluminum. The cylinder heads are also aluminum.
None of the above

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Who oversees the sport of Top Fuel dragster racing?
National Hot Rod Association
The National Hot Rod Assocation oversees Top Fuel dragster racing in the United States. The organization was formed in 1951.
North American Dragster Association
Autoracing America
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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When travelling at over 330 mph at the end of their run, stopping a Top Fuel dragster is difficult. Which of these items help?
Kevlar brakes
Parachutes
Although Top Fuel dragsters do have excellent braking systems, trying to slow down from 330 mph requires additional help. For this reason, at the end of the run, parachutes are deployed behind the vehicle to provide instant deceleration.
Sand traps
None of the above

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From the options below, name the man who was a Top Fuel dragster champion in 1987 and then headed the crew of champion Scott Kalitta twice in the 1990s.
Ronnie Sox
Shirley Muldowney
Dick LaHaie
Dick LaHaie was crowned NHRA Top Fuel champion in 1987 and went on to crew Scott Kalitta championship runs in 1994 and 1995.
Brittany Force

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In 1983, a film was made about Shirley Muldowney, the first woman to be crowned a Top Fuel drag racing champion. What was it called?
Fast Shirley
In Drag
Dragnet
Heart Like a Wheel
"Heart Like a Wheel" starred Bonnie Bedelia in the lead role. Muldowney didn't like the movie at all, but conceded that it was good for the promotion of the sport.

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From the start to finish of a race, how many revolutions will a Top Fuel dragster engine have spun?
9,500
540
A Top Fuel dragsters engine will run around 9,500 revolutions per minute when running flat-out. Because they are so darn quick, that means it has only spun around 540 times during a run.
100
3,000

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A specialized shield is applied to the roll cage of a Top Fuel dragster. What is it made out of?
Hardened perspex
Titanium
Each driver in a Top Fuel dragster sits in a specialized roll cage to provide them with the best possible protection in the event of a crash. This includes a titanium shield that stops any debris from entering the roll cage area and injuring the driver during such an event.
Kevlar
None of the above

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Do you know the name of the Top Fuel dragster champion affectionately known as "The Sarge"?
Tony Schumacher
An eight-time Top Fuel dragster champion, Tony Schumacher has had extensive sponsorship from the U.S. Army. At the beginning of the sponsorship, this led to his vehicle receiving the name of "The Sarge," but this quickly transferred to Schumacher himself due to his buzzcut.
Steve Torrence
Troy Buff
None of the above

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What famous engine are Top Fuel dragster engine layouts based on?
1932 Ford V8
Volkswagen Flat Four
Chevrolet small block V8
Chrysler 426 Hemi
Although it is built of specialist parts, a Top Fuel dragster engine's layout follows that of the Chrysler 426 Hemi "Elephant Engine" produced between 1964 and 1971.

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Which Top Fuel dragster's tragic death caused the National Hot Rod Association shorten the track length to 1000 feet?
Scott Kalitta
Scott Kalitta was an American drag racer that competed in both Top Fuel and Funny Car events. Sadly, a crash at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in 2008 while driving a Funny Car took his life after his vehicle went past the run-off area and crashed with a larger piece of heavy machinery. This prompted the NHRA to shorten track lengths; the longer track had caused Kalitta's car to continue gaining speed.
Shirley Muldowney
Urs Erbacher
Alan Bradshaw

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Other than Shirley Muldowney becoming the first woman to win a Top Fuel dragster championship, what was her other claim to fame in the sport?
She was the first person to win the Top Fuel dragster championship three times.
By winning the Top Fuel dragster championship in 1977, 1980 and 1982, Shirley Muldowney was the first person to take three titles in drag racing's most prestigious class. That is certainly some achievement.
She sometimes raced in reverse.
She like to race blindfolded on occasion.
None of the above.

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