Watching this documentary has not only enabled me to appreciate the science behind the introduction of the slingshot into drag racing in America, but also appreciate the important effect that slingshot drag racing brought about the sporting of drag racing. In this reflection essay, I am going to explain my understanding of the documentary, and how the introduction of the introduction of the slingshot dragster assisted the dragster racing to grow from a participant dominated sport, to a sport that attracted grand crowds of spectators. Much of the historical developmental steps that led to the dragster are explained in the documentary, but this essay focuses on the importance of the incorporation of the slingshot dragster into the drag racing sporting event.
Some of the developments included the realization that spectators feared for their security, since drag racing at that time happened in the public roads. However, such safety concerns were addressed through the building of drag strips, setting of safety rules, and codifying the rules for the competition. In addition, the television played a major part for the development of the drag racing sporting.
From the documentary, drag racing lacked many participants in the beginning because it started as an amateur sport. As such, only the participants, and a few, if any spectators participated. However, the introduction of the slingshot drag racing had a bouncing impact, in terms of transforming the game from a participant only affair to both participates and spectators. As I have understood from the documentary, the drag racers aimed at getting as much weight as possible on the rear wheels by introducing the slingshot. This was also aimed at maximizing the traction between the strip and the tires. This happened in the 1950s, when many of the drag racers installed their engines at the back, in the chassis, so that the driver would sit behind the rear wheels, a phenomenon likened to a “rock in a slingshot”.
The spectacular nature of the front-engine slingshot dragster might be the feature that excited fans and made drag racing a participant and spectators affair. As I have observed from the documentary, the 2000-plus horse-power engine dragsters became the kings of the quarter miles, and there were all reasons to admire them. Further, while this observation is linked with the fact that Americans liked drag racing because of its noise, it is evident that the slingshot dragsters had a great deal of these features. For example, from the documentary, the nitro-gulping drag-race cars seem to go through the drag strips with an awesome power, a feature that seems to excite the fans more and more. The burning rubber and the smell of the nitro from the engines also seem to excite the fans, according to the documentary I watched. With the fan that the introduction of the slingshot drag racer brought, many fans went to do photographing during the racing. They thus added to the numbers of spectators, and this explains why the introduction of the slingshot drag racer led to the growth of the numbers of the spectators in the sector.
From my observations in the drag racing documentary, theshape, and the striking feature of the slingshot drag racer might also have been an attraction to the spectators. The shape was such that the driver’s torso was positioned on the extreme rearward so that it was behind the slicks and the axle. The trick, funny as it as, assisted much in the dynamic weight distribution and maximizing the static. The hefty motor could thus go very far rearward, with all the chances of crunching the driver minimized. Such an arrangement had the advantage of distributing the whole vehicle mass on the slicks, enabling a maximum forward thrust. In addition, the slingshot drag racer had the wheelbase stretched to as much distance as twice that of a normal car. To me, even after watching this documentary, the slingshot drag racer appears more of a toy, although it had a great impact in the drag race sporting.
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