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Monday, October 11, 2010

Burnout (vehicle)

A burnout(also known as a peel out or power brake) is the practice of keeping a vehicle stationary (or close to) and spinning its wheels, causing the tires to heat up and smoke resulting from friction.

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The origins of burnouts can be traced to drag racing, where they have a practical purpose: drag racing tires perform better at higher temperatures, and a burnout is the quickest way to raise tire temperature immediately prior to a race. They also clean the tire of any debris and lay down a layer of rubber by the starting line for better traction. Drag race tracks sometimes use a specially-reserved wet-surface area known as the "burnout box" for this purpose.

Burnouts eventually became a serious form of competition and entertainment in their own right. Considerable prize money or goods are sometimes involved, and cars may even be sponsored or purpose-built specifically as "burnout cars". Burnout contests are judged on crowd response, with style and attitude therefore being important factors. Such contests are particularly popular in Australia but often occur in North America as well.

Burnouts are also common in informal street racing, usually for show value. As with all street racing activities, burnouts on public property are illegal in most countries but the severity of punishments vary. In New South Wales, for example, police have the power to confiscate the offending vehicle for 3 months for a first offense. In March 2010, British Formula 1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton has his Mercedes car impounded for allegedly performing a burnout in Melbourne, Australia while leaving the Albert Park Grand-Prix Circuit.

Burnouts are also occasionally performed by winning drivers at the end of NASCAR races to celebrate their victory.

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