The Tesla Model S Plaid Could Be Too Fast for Your Local Drag Strip

In the case of Rich Rebuilds, that’s precisely what happened at the end of the teardown video we covered earlier this week. After posting a 9.6 second quarter-mile pass at a 149.9 mph trap speed, the Model S Plaid was subsequently kicked out of the strip. Interestingly, at that trap speed, it’s just shy of the 150 mph limit which requires a parachute under current NHRA rules. According to TV’s Jay Leno, the Plaid can go even faster, so it bears consideration.

Some drivers take note of this, and intentionally drive below the limit in order to keep making passes. As reported by Teslarati in June, a driver at Sonoma Raceway made passes all day, braking or otherwise slowing down to avoid breaking the rules

Of course, there’s nothing stopping track officials simply banning cars like the Tesla Model S Plaid and Dodge Demon outright, based on their performance credentials. It’s just not typically the way things are done. Of course, it could take just a few high profile incidents to bring about a change. 

Incidentally, it’s not the first time the drag racing world has faced such issues. Years ago, the limit was set much higher, with a 11.50 quarter mile being enough to require a rollcage in the vehicle. However, with cars like the Nissan GTR and Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 hitting these times off the factory floor, the NHRA relented. As Race Pages Digital reported back in 2018, the sanctioning body made the change to allow street cars from 2008 onwards to compete without rollcages as long as DOT-legal tires were used and factory safety equipment was intact. 

It’s not yet clear whether a further revision to NHRA rules is on the horizon. In the meantime, expect to get shooed out of the staging lanes if you’re laying sub-10 second passes in your new Model S Plaid—at least until you get a cage installed. 

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