Have you ever been in the car sitting at a red light and you know the person next to you wants to get in the same lane as you? If you are a nice person you may slowly accelerate and let them in ahead of you, but like a lot of drivers will accelerate just as fast (if not faster) and try to eiether keep them in their own lane, or get past them so that they enter the lane behind you.
This situation I have just prefaced you with is, essentially drag racing. However, there are many other components to drag racing than just a quick acceleration, experienced drag racers will use a wide range of strategies to gain the edge over their opponents (on a closed track, of course!)
The first thing that racers usually upgrade or modify, are the tires of their cars. Stock tires have a tread on them, the more tread there is, the less surface area there is. This results in less grip which can slow cars down by a couple of hundreths of a second, enough to lose a race and frustrate any racer.
This is a drag racing tire known in the racing world as a "slick"
Another major component also comes from the tires. You may think a burnout is just unnecessary wheelspin, but actually what the racer is doing is heating the tires up. This makes the tire softer by nature and it conforms to the track a lot better, again giving the racer more grip.
Another common misconception of drag racing is the function of the spoiler. No, no it does not try to make the car fly, nor does it just look pretty. Well, some do just look pretty and aren't very efficent, but thats not important at this point. The fact is, is that spoilers are placed in the rear of the car. They are angled so that in some way, it pushes the air going through it, from the bottom to the top. The air pushes against the spoiler with a force, n. Some of this force is then directed directly down and more pressure is pushed onto the tires, forcing more grip action.
Have you noticed a trend here? I have, Drag Racing is all about the grip of your tires!
Here's a little something to satisfy the inner speed demon. (Mustangs are better!!)