I just found this National Geographic video about Compton street racers who have a 240z... with... you guess it, a 575ish HP V8 with nitrous. Warning: it's about street racers who take their car to the track to go professional, so if you're squeamish, avoid.

It's a good video that gives a pretty impartial and direct view on what's going on. I love these NatGeo documentaries for that reason, and there's a surprising number of them about cars in general. It shows both the benefits and dangers of street racing, and it does the same with track racing.

One thing I do like is the really obvious illegitimacy of the street car at track races. It shows the dark and vapid side of track racing just as much as it shows the dangerous and stupid side of street racing. It's not exciting and dangerous and scary but it shows how legitimate street racers make money and spend their time when there is a safe and positive group supporting them. They're running roll cages, parachutes, etc. on the street and deliberately taking care of their machines. It's not like these are kids who are taking their mother's Saturn and pretending they're Brian O'Conner.

One other particularly interesting point is where the burnout goes wrong on the track later on. On the street there, you have plenty of room to slide before you'll hit a wall, and the surface is much different.

I don't advocate street racing, but I will share with you another high school anecdote. In my experience, power always costs money, but there are two things you must control to win no matter how much power you have: 1. weight, and 2. surface management. One thing we used to do back in high school was take some water and wash down the launch area, and then let it dry before meeting up when someone came to race. Dirt and dust would be cleaned off of our lane, giving a much better place to get grip. If they tried to wash their side right away instead of waiting like we did, the water would still float on top of the street before settling in and drying, and they'd actually lose grip. Meanwhile, the 'serious' racers had a 500 HP '06 GTO and relied entirely on their expensive parts and money to win races, leaving a lot of speed on the table by not taking careful consideration of their environments.

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I would always run the car with about 1/4 tank of gas (sometimes I would refill 2-3 times a night with only a few gallons at a time) to save weight. It also helped that I weighed about 50lbs less than anyone else I raced against, and sometimes up to a 100lbs difference between drivers. Add that to the fact that I stripped everything out of the trunk, then my stock-appearing 1998 Mustang came in around 300-400lbs less than an actually stock one with a 200lb driver. Since I ran 15" wheels instead of 16" ones, I got more torque than usual off the line as well, at the sacrifice of about 5-10 mph top speed. This made for serious handling and acceleration improvements that cost virtually no money.

Either way, enjoy this video. Hopefully it hasn't been reposted too many times, but this is the first I've seen of it.