The Universal Technical Institute Friday Night Drags event at Texas Motor Speedway is a celebration of cars that are blazingly fast down the line and dominate in the straight line. The event, which recently held its final for this season, has hosted powerful muscle cars, stunning foreign cars and even big diesel trucks, to name a few.
Among the participants in the popular drag race, there is one category of vehicles that was notoriously absent: electric cars. There was no Tesla in sight; not a Model S, Model X or even Model 3.
This is due to one of the rules of Friday night streaks. Looking at the official event page, the event organizers made it clear that electric vehicles are prohibited from participating in drag races. “Electric vehicles are not allowed,” the organizers wrote.
That’s quite a shame, given that electric vehicles, especially Tesla Performance branded cars, have gained a reputation for being incredibly formidable in straight-line racing. The Model S P100D, especially the âRavenâ iterations of the vehicle, is downright lethal in the quarter mile, regularly beating supercars. The Model 3 Performance, a four-door family car, even beat a Ferrari 458 in a 1/8 mile race.
A look at past winners of the Friday Night Drags show vehicles who have traded blows with Teslas in the past, including the Nissan GT-R, the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Mustang. As such, it almost seems the event lacked a popular and recognizable contender due to the lack of all-electric American muscle cars.
Addressing the event’s strict no-electric vehicle rule, Texas Motor Speedway vice president of public relations David Hart explained that electric cars such as Tesla could crash and catch fire at the event. , which would be difficult to extinguish. Collisions with cars and trucks running on gasoline and diesel could also occur, but gas fires are much easier to put out than those resulting from batteries. Unfortunately for electric vehicle owners, speedway emergency vehicles are not equipped to handle electric car fires.
âThe reason for the exclusion is that in the event of an accident and resulting fire, our emergency vehicles currently do not carry the specific equipment required to extinguish electric vehicle fires. As you are no doubt aware, conventional fire extinguishers are of no use in fighting lithium-ion battery fires, âHart noted in a statement to Teslarati.
It should be noted that Teslas are actually 8 times less likely to catch fire than their internal combustion engine counterparts. As mentioned by the electric car maker in its latest Quarterly Safety Report, data from 2012 to 2018 shows that there was about one Tesla vehicle fire for every 170 million kilometers driven. In comparison, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the US Department of Transportation have listed one vehicle fire for every 19 million miles driven.
One could only hope that events such as Texas Motor Speedway’s Friday Night Drags would open their doors to electric vehicles in the near future. After all, the era of electric vehicles far inferior to the internal combustion engine is definitely over. This is especially true as Friday Night Drags uses a 1/8 mile strip, which is pretty much Tesla’s territory at this point.