We are in the generational time now that extreme sports are all that people seem to want to talk about. Whether it's X Games, MMA, or just about anything in between. Here's the problem, there are too many people that forget drag racing is the original, ultimate extreme sport. Drag racing is the most extreme sport on the planet...PERIOD.
Before we get into the facts of why it is drag racing is the most extreme sport on the planet, let's clear up some confusion on why jumping out of a balloon at record heights doesn't beat it. It's because that's technically not on this planet, and has only been done less than a handful of times in the last 70 years. The only other sport that is near as extreme in my opinion as drag racing is real World Rally Challenge. Not the U.S. version, the version of letting it all hang out and hope you don't roll down a cliff (http://www.wrc.com).
So why is it that a car traveling between 660' and 1320' is the most extreme sport in the world? It's pretty simple if you look at the whole body of work. Is there another sport that has a class or division where the driver can experience 4G's+ in less than four seconds...starting from a dead stop? A sport where drivers have to harness horsepower ranging from 400 to 4000 to 11000+. A sport where seeing a 3200 lb hunk of metal drive on just its' back wheels for hundreds of feet. When you look at it in those terms, it's even easier to see why it's the most extreme sport in the world.
There is something that we are missing in the equation as well though. Sport in a sense is about team. No matter what sport it is, there is a team either out front or behind. Golf, you only see Rory on the course, but what about the caddy, the trainers, etc. they are all part of the team. Drag racing is the epitome of team work. When you go out of the field for a baseball game or a hockey game, you don't put you life in someone else's hands. Well a lot of the time that's exactly what you do in drag racing. You rely on your team to make sure you are safe and will make it back to them at the end of your run. Some of the classes like Nitro, are classes where you are almost just strapped in and praying for dear life on every pass. Start at zero, accelerate to 330 mph, and back to almost zero in the same amount of time that it just took you to read this sentence.
Other things that set drag racing apart from other extreme sports is our diversity in drag racing. There is not another sport on this planet that is as diverse as drag racing. A hunk of sheet metal, carbon fiber, fiberglass, and electronics has no ability to care what the color of your skin is, what religion you follow, how many kids you have, or anything else. The only thing that matters is your ability to go A to B faster than anyone thought imaginable 50 years ago. Whether you are 5 years old or 85 years old you can drag race. I don't see many 60 year old men and women doing autocross.
One of the definitions for the word Extreme is: exceeding the bounds of moderation. This could not hold more true than in the world of drag racing. Moderation is you driving your Lexus 85 mph on the interstate, while extreme would be Ekanoo Racing driving their Lexus 278 mph in 5.50 seconds in just 1320'. The bounds of moderation are things that people in drag racing, whether it be drivers, crew, promoters, or even media don't follow. There is no moderation for our extremeness. Nor would we ever want any bounds of moderation.
Header flames 5' tall from Scott Palmer's nitro burning Pro Mod. 800' long wheelstands from two time NHRA World Champion Cruz Pedregon. Promoters like Donald Long that shut down interstates with people trying to get to see his drag races. Media that stands next to a concrete wall, waist high as 3000 lbs of metal flies by at 200 mph. We have 30' nitrous purges and superchargers that pierce your hearing. Turbos large enough to inhale a mid size sedan. Nitro cars that go through up to 20 gallons of fuel from their warm up, to the end of their run. Imagine your car going through a tank of gas in less than a couple of minutes. Tell me that is not extreme.
If you have never been to a drag race, imagine if you will sitting in the stands and having all five of your senses triggered at the same time. The sight of the car, the smell of the fuel and tire smoke, the taste or pure unadulterated power, and the sweet sound of a naturally aspirated engine revving at 10k RPM and shifting gears.
Don't ever forget about the fact that drag racing isn't always four wheels either. The insanity that is motorcycles is included at a great majority of events. Whether it's your daily street bike or nitro burning Harley's, this is about as intense and extreme as them come. Sub 7 second runs at approaching 200 mph on two wheels, with nothing between you and the ground but your bike, helmet, and leathers.
I think the fact is that there are a lot of great sports out there, and there are a lot of extreme sports in the world. Some more extreme than others. Big wave surfing for example is an extreme sport that ranks towards the top of insanity. But the fact remains that drag racing is king, and always has been king, whether corporate america realizes it or not. So next time you and your buddies are talking extreme sports...drop the drag racing knowledge and explain to them why drag racing is the true king of kings.