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The 6 Best Cars for Drag Racing

Posted on May 19, 2020 by Martin Banks

Drag racing is a unique sport. Instead of focusing on things like handling, a dragster’s sole purpose is to generate as much torque and speed as possible. These aren’t the kind of cars you take to the track on the weekend and use for your daily driving during the week. If you’re looking to break into the world of drag racing, the first thing you’ll need is an automobile. What are the best vehicles to use on the drag strip?

1. Ford Mustang Cobra Jet

You can’t go wrong with the car Ford designed for the drag strip. The Mustang Cobra Jet debuted on racetracks in 1968 and then appeared again for its 40th and 50th anniversaries. Each of these incarnations saw a limited run. However, you might still get your hands on one if you’re looking for something made for the strip. Ford is even working on a new all-electric prototype — the Cobra Jet 1400 — that should debut sometime later this year.

2. Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Normally, we’d include the Challenger Demon on this list since it is the fastest stock production car on the market today. But if you’re going to make your way onto National Hot Rod Association (NHRA)-sanctioned racetracks, the Demon has been disqualified. So, we’re left with the Hellcat, the slightly slower predecessor of the Demon. It’s got more than 700 horsepower, which will carry you across the finish line of any drag strip with ease.

3. Chevy Corvette

You can take a new Corvette to the track, but you’re better off with a classic version instead. Look for an older ‘Vette with a solid-lifer 454 engine. These models have lower compression and better power. They were rated for 450 horsepower, but could consistently test closer to 480. Many hidden gems like this exist — cars that are perfect for the drag strip because they’re a lot more powerful than they’re rated for. 

4. Volkswagen Beetle

Okay, this might sound silly, but hear us out. Beetles are some of the lightest cars on the market — if you take the engine out, you can lift the body right off the ground without any assistance. Swap out the rear-engine for something with a little bit more heft, and you’ve got a vehicle made for the drag strip. 

5. Tesla Model S

You might say electric cars don’t have a place on the strip, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Instead of requiring you to rev your engine to reach peak revolutions per minute (RPMs) before the light turns green, the electric motor in cars like the Tesla Model S delivers instant torque. With these automobiles, you’re ready to tear down the strip as soon as you hit the accelerator. 

6. Smart Car

If you thought the VW bug was silly, you’re probably looking at us like we’ve lost our minds — but check this out. Take a Smart Car, rip out the anemic 3-cylinder engine and replace it with a supercharged 4-cylinder or the turbocharged monster from a Hayabusa motorcycle. This example can generate 470 horsepower. Pretty impressive for something that seems like it should be the butt of a drag strip joke.

What Are You Waiting For?

You don’t have to break the bank to get on the drag strip. What are you waiting for? Pick your dream car and head to the starting line.

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