The driver spins the rear tires before each race in what is known as a burnout. The effect of the 1300 horsepower spinning tires on a stationary car is more than a lot of smoke. It actually heats the tires making them sticky; therefore a better grip for the track.
The Starting Lights
Known as the "Christmas Tree", the starting lights sit near the starting line between two drivers. The Pre-Stage and Stage lights help the car line up for a fair start. Once both cars are Staged, three amber lights flash simultaneously in four-tenths of a second to alert the driver that the green light is coming. Drivers go when the green light shines. If a driver heads out too earlya red light signals and the driver is disqualified.
The moment a car's potential energy turns to kinetic, a force so great occurs that the car's front end leaves the ground. To limit and control this undesirable action, the wheelie bar is there to steady the launch. The goal is to keep the car from going too high. It is also important to transfer the weight forward so the front wheels can properly steer the car.
Drag races occur on a quarter-mile drag strip (1,320 ft - 400 m). Two cars race at a time with the winner advancing and the loser eliminated from the competition. A typical race lasts 6.6 seconds and cars top out at over 200 MPH. At this speed drivers do everything they can to keep the car straight ("in the groove"). The winner is the first to cross the finish line. The cars then slow down with the help of two parachutes and carbon brakes.