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Vertical Drag Racing

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Take two slabs of concrete the width of a dragstrip, 1/2 mile high, and far anough apart to allow a top fuel dragster to enter vertically with some clearance for the tires and their expansion.

The top fuel cars would be poised vertically, looking much like regular cars but in place of wings are tightly sprung wheels on the 'top' surface of the vertical track, pushing the car down against the regular wheels.

Upon the start of the race, the dragsters begin to rise, gaining grip much slower then their more hortizontally aligned cousins.

The smoke from the burnout would fill the bottom of the track as the cars lifted off, NASA style, into the sky.

At the top the track would bend/fan slightly to allow the cars to shoot out the top away from the tower/each other. This would give the drivers the space needed to deploy their oversized chutes and float safely to the ground for another race.

Giblet, Jan 13 2005

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       Why not power both sets of wheels? You'd double your grip and reduce counterproductive friction.
Loris, Jan 13 2005
  

       Pilot / Driver would need an ejection seat in case of engine failure. Just think what it would be like to exit the top at only 100 or less mph. I guess a half mile may be enough to deploy a shoot. You could have a braking system like an elevator uses to keep from falling backwords down the track. This could be built up the side of a mountain in order to make it more viable / realistic. If you realy wanted to launch, you could use gear/cog wheels instead of rubber, It would take a lot of the fun out of it, but would be quite a rush for the driver.
dlapham, Jan 13 2005
  

       Be potentially much more exciting if the racers started at the top.
bristolz, Jan 13 2005
  

       I thought of the mountain idea as well.. a good canyon would work to.   

       I also just had a thought that the top part doesn't even need to be a whole slab. It could be rails that the guiding wheels fit into. This would aid viewing and cut the structure in half.   

       Starting from the top would be a cool race as well, but wouldnt have the effect of lift-off... it would be closer to a glorified soap box derby that way.   

       A counterweight on a cable connected to the front of the car would help lift-off, and could be utilized as a safety device as well.   

       You'd need some kind of release though so the tethered car doesn't shoot out the top.
Giblet, Jan 14 2005
  

       And I thought this was about queen cliff-climbing competition.
FarmerJohn, Jan 14 2005
  

       "Starting from the top would be a cool race as well ... it would be closer to a glorified soap box derby that way."   

       Well now, that depends on which way you went.
bristolz, Jan 14 2005
  

       Make the track like a huge 1/2 mile ramp that starts level then quickly goes vertical. Winner is the one who gains the most altitude. Variable aerodynamic surfaces would have to be used to prevent stability issues, they would of course be driver controlled. And of course pressure suits, think bends.
Spaceman Spiff, Apr 25 2009
  

       Bends? I don't see cars going 60,000 feet in the air :/   

       I like this idea, they could start level with normal cars and drag racing slicks. The cars would accelerate on the level part, zoom upwards at ~4g, and the first one to clear the top of the track would win. Then the cars would fall back down on parachutes (?)
DIYMatt, Apr 26 2009
  

       Will the cars have cup holders in them?
Jscotty, Apr 26 2009
  

       Ok, maybe not bends but traveling 1/2 mile or more straight up, in only a few seconds, has got to be hard on the eardrums.
Spaceman Spiff, Apr 28 2009
  

       Apart from this being an absolutely wonderful idea, I think you guys have unrealistic expectations of the parachute recovery bit.   

       [+], by the way.
MikeD, Apr 29 2009
  

       First, this is kind of baked by the NASA Tether challenge. Next if you made the track 1/2 mile high, which would have been the tallest structure in the world when this was submitted, now only slightly passed by the Burge, and you run a 1/4 mile race, you won't need parachutes, the cars can just hit the brakes and stop before they go balistic. Which is good since that would avoid the inevitable crashing back into the launch tower bit. Next, by setting your own traction, you remove all the challenge of drag racing. The winner is the one with the most HP/mass. Lastly, I agree with MikeD, if you launch off the end and assuming you miss the tower on the way down, don.t expect the landing to be like falling onto a feather bed.
MisterQED, May 01 2009
  

       Didn't we all do this with our Hot Wheels when we were kids? [+] for however it works out, I just wanna see cars accelerating straight up and shooting out the top.
Noexit, May 01 2009
  
      
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