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A Quick Language Lesson

February 20, 1992|LEO SMITH

For the novice spectator, the drag-racing experience can be mind-blowing, not to mention ear shattering. So many sounds. So many people. So many unidentifiable auto parts.

It's like another country and it's easy to feel somewhat out of place.

But, as with any foreign land, if you're going to visit, it helps to know the language.

Here, then, is a brief list of important track talk:

Flopper: Funny car.

Rail or digger: Dragster.

Hot shoe: A good driver.

Pedaling it: To take the foot off the accelerator, put it back on, take it off, put it back on.

Leaver: A driver who reacts quickly at the starting line.

Lift: To take the foot completely off the throttle.

Bullet: Engine.

Slicks or shoes: Big tires in back.

Front-runners: Front tires.

Thrash: To make last-second adjustments on a car before a race, kind of like cramming for an exam.

Blankie: The oil rag that sticks out of mechanics' back pockets. They don't go anywhere without their blankies.

Hanging the laundry out: The point when the parachute comes out from the back of the car to help stop it.

Christmas tree: The red-green-yellow light pole.

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