The Exciting World of Drag Boat Racing

The flat bottom is loaded up ready for some Drag Boat Racing. The dually is loaded with extra fuel, tools, parts, and all the right gear. Time to head to the water. A couple of hours through the desert the river is in our sights. We check in and start setting up the camp. It is going to be a roaring weekend on the water. We are set to run in the Top Eliminator trying to rack up some points. So far Steve Newton is leading the charge. We are the newcomers on the block still working out some kinks, but this is the world of Drag Boat Racing.

DNE Motorsports Development - Prigmore

Drag boat racing’s concepts are like those of land drag racing. It’s a water-based acceleration race between two high-performance vehicles over a designated length of straightaway. Drag boats, on the other hand, use a small moving start. Because it is difficult for a boat driver to discern if the boat would launch straight from a standing start, this beginning mechanism was adopted as a safety measure.

Drag Boat Racing with Ian Sirrs

The countdown clock runs, I look over to my right and let go of the rope and head for the starting line. Adrenaline is at an all-time high as the throttle is smashed and the boat lunges forward. This is the excitement of Drag Boat Racing. If a boat crosses the starting line before the green light is illuminated during the competition, it is disqualified. It’s a good race and we push hard. What happens in seconds seems like an eternity.

Drag Boat Racing with the NJBA

Each boat must complete at least one run to qualify for eliminations. Each boat is given an elapsed time (ET), which is calculated from the time it takes to complete the race from the start line to finish. In the championship elimination rounds, only the top qualifying boats will compete. Each round’s winner proceeds to the following racing round until only one boat remains the class winner.

Drag Boat Racing with Ian Sirrs

There are numerous categories of professional and sportsmen classes based on various engine configuration, fuel type, hull design and propulsion types. The premier category of drag boat racing being the Top Fuel Hydroplane class which is the water based equivalent to Top Fuel Dragsters capable of covering the liquid quarter mile in less than three seconds with a top speed of around 270 mph (434 km/h). Each sanctioning body features a selection of the many different classes from outboard and personal watercraft to top fuel hydro that ranks less than 4.6 seconds on the quarter mile that exceed 250 MPH! 

Drag Boat Racing with NJBA

The day on the water was good, we found a few areas to pay attention to and ready to run again tomorrow. Are you gonna join us? 

Shane Kneissel

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