The '55' mile per hour speed limit was the result of the gas wars of the 70's but let's face it - who the heck drives 55 anymore? Ok, there are still some earthy/crunchy types who get a kick out of driving their 'Prius' Hybrids at 55 mph in the left lane on the interstate just to piss the rest of us who don't give a crap about saving some dinosaur oil! And it's no wonder why those little S*&t box cars get that kind of gas mileage - they drive 20 mph below the speed limit all around town!
Well, this past weekend in Epping, NH was certainly no place for Fred and Wilma Flintstone's Prius as the cars and stars of the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) invaded the northeast for their annual visit for the 'New England Nationals'. These nitro gulping, 10000+ horsepower cruise missiles are just the ticket to cure my need for speed!
I won't bore you with the science behind all this but if you ever do take the time to understand the engineering, computer skills, meteorologically aspects (a big part of the equation) and just plain big stones of both male and female drivers in the competition - coupled with the sensory overload of one of these science experiments, you will walk away with a totally different opinion of this sport. Throw in the challenge of trying to photography something that accelerates from 0 - 100mph in less than .08 seconds, and 1000' in less that 4 seconds (yup, you read that right), you might get the sense of what you're dealing with. For comparison sake, Fred Flintstones PRIUS covers the same 1000' in 19.4 seconds!
The drivers undergo over 6g's of compression under acceleration, as well as an equal amount of negative g's under deceleration - usually by means of a parachute to slow them. The engines of a top fuel dragster generate over 150dB of sound at full throttle, enough to cause physical pain or even permanent damage. This sound is so intense it is not just heard, but felt as pounding vibrations all over your body - sweet!
So from a photo perspective, it is very difficult to capture one of these cars on track for a whole host of reasons - speed, sound percussion (your body literally vibrates), vapor and heat wakes (the kind you find on a hot day looking down a long highway), coupled with changing light conditions, blah, blah, blah and you get the idea.
Anyway, here are a few images from the weekend and please forgive me but you will have to speak up - I still haven't got my hearing back!