What Does Drag Strip Mean? How Long is a Drag Strip?

Have you ever considered going to a drag strip but didn’t know what it really meant or what it entailed? Well, there are plenty of things to think about before you decide to head out and watch a race or get involved in one. That’s why we’re going to take a look at what drag strips really are and what you should know about them.

What Does Drag Strip Mean?

A drag strip is a straight section of road that is used for drag racing. The strip is a generally paved track or it could be a traditionally paved road but it must be straight so that the vehicles can be allowed to ‘drag’ over it without the need for corners or added potential for injury.

Drag strips are designed to give people the opportunity to watch or even engage in a completely different type of racing that’s all about the adrenaline rush. In many states and areas, these types of races are entirely illegal and are often a type of ‘street racing.’ This means that some people do not perform it on an official track but rather on any street that they can with a long and narrow lane.

How Wide is a Drag Strip?

An official drag strip requires at least 25 feet for each lane. While drag strips can, theoretically, be only one lane with measurements taken, they are typically at least two lanes wide. Some strips may even have a total of four lanes for drivers.

Official drag strips have these measurements to ensure that the track is safe and that people who are racing will be able to easily stop their vehicle before reaching the end of the track. Unofficial drag racing that occurs primarily on public roadways do not often have these requirements and may have any width or length of the strip. This can be highly dangerous as it does not provide adequate room for vehicles to drive side-by-side or stop safely.

What is the Length of a Drag Strip?

There are several different lengths available for drag strips. In fact, an unofficial drag strip could be any length, but in most cases, you will see strips that are 1,000 feet, 1/8 mile, or ¼ mile. These are generally the professional tracks and host official drag racing events.

Drag strips that are ¼ mile are approximately 1,320 feet or 402 meters while 1/8 mile comes out to only 660 feet or 201 meters. In the middle are 1000 foot tracks that are approximately 305 meters in total length. Each of these strips is designed with a braking area and an emergency area on top of the total length of the track that is being raced. The lengths above are only the length of the track, not the length of the additional distance needed.

Why Did Drag Racing Go to 1000 Feet?

Drag racing was initially changed to 1000 feet because of the death of a racer in 2008. The decision was made so that the end of the race would occur with more space at the end for racers to slow down before the track ends.

There are a few distinct reasons that the NHRA chose to shorten the trackway, which primarily focuses on the death of a man named Scott Kalitta. A longer braking area may have been able to assist and a slower speed coming around the final corner as well. With the high insurance costs and potential liability, the organization chose to change the distance, though they have also considered increasing the distance back to the previous levels.

How Long Does a 1/4 Mile Drag Strip Need to Be?

A standard drag race is approximately ¼ of a mile or 1,320 feet. This does not include the length of the braking and emergency areas. This ‘shutdown area’ is designed to be more than 700 meters (which is only the length of the braking area).

A standard drag race is 1,320 feet or ¼ mile with 0.2% to follow FIA and NHRA rules. This does not include an additional distance for braking and emergency area, though these are often regulated locally or environmentally rather than by set standards. These areas are essential to ensure that vehicles are able to stop within a safe distance after the race.

How Much Would it Cost to Build a 1/4 Mile Drag Strip?

If you were looking to build your own drag strip, especially one that is ¼ mile long, you would need somewhere between 1 million and 4 million in order to install it. You would also need at least 1 million of coverage for insurance purposes and then would need more money to maintain it.

What Drag Strip Has 4 Lanes?

The zMAX Dragway has 4 lanes and is actually the only four-lane, concrete drag strip available anywhere. You’ll find everything that you would expect from any other drag strip, but with four vehicles going at the same time instead of only two.

Why Are Drag Strips So Sticky?

Drag strips are sticky because they use a special compound to allow for the most impressive launch. This material is typically PJ1 TrackBite or was once known as VHT. It’s designed to get vehicles with large horsepower to achieve a more impressive showing that could otherwise be a bit difficult.

There are some other materials that can be used and may be used on smaller tracks but this is the official version for professional tracks. Also, those who do drag racing on public streets will not have this type of material and use only the standard surface of the road for their races.


When it comes to drag racing there are a number of factors to consider if you are thinking about racing or even going to watch a race. For those considering starting their own drag strip, there is, even more, to think about, including the size and the materials to do it.



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