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Why Are Teslas Banned From The Drag Strip?

Drag Race / 14 Comments

And it's not because P100Ds have humiliated too many Hellcats.

When Dodge debuted the Challenger SRT Demon back at 2017's New York auto show, there was a rumor going around that the drag strip king was only built because FCA's performance division couldn't stand to see its beloved Hellcat getting smoked by Tesla's P100D models.

After all, the Charger and Challenger Hellcats were supposed to be the toughest, most masculine cars available on the market, so it was downright humiliating that the quintessential soy boy vegan's car could shrug off the SRTs in a straight line. But there was a huge problem with the Demon when it first went on sale: it was so fast that the NHRA banned owners from racing it without first installing extra safety equipment. That ruling was the ultimate piece of credibility the car world could bestow on the Demon, but as it turns out, those fast Teslas may now also be banned from the drag strip.

In this case, it's only one drag strip that's banned Tesla along with all other electric cars. That would be Texas Motor Speedway, which hosts Universal Technical Institute's Friday Night Drags event. The event is a friendly way for speed lovers to compete in an 1/8th-mile drag race and let loose in their rides without breaking the law. It was the kind of event that would see Tesla Model S' and Model Xs showing everyone how effective stock electric luxury cars are at eliminating some of the hottest performance cars on the market.

According to Teslarati, the ban wasn't instated because too many owners of internal combustion engine-powered cars were humiliated by rapid yet silent Teslas. No, instead, it has to do with the fact that Texas Motor Speedway's safety crews aren't prepared to deal with an electric car fire in the case that one of those Teslas gets into a crash and decides to go up in flames.

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Texas Motor Speedway VP of Public Relations David Hart told the Tesla fan site that the ban is in place because the chemical reactions taking place in a battery fire are much different than those that happen in a gasoline-fed blaze.

"The reason for the exclusion is, in the event of a crash and possible resulting fire, our emergency vehicles currently do not carry the specific equipment required to suppress EV fires. As I'm sure you're aware, conventional extinguishers are of no use in fighting lithium-ion battery fires," claimed Hart. It's one of those EV nuances that owners likely don't consider when buying an EV. Still, despite the fact EVs catch fire at a lower rate than gasoline cars, they are no longer welcome at Friday Night Drags in the off chance that one actually does catch on fire.