Drag Racing Dilemma

Nov 29, 2014

RAY: This may come as a shock to many of you, but a few months ago, Tommy and I each went out and bought identical sports cars because we like to drag race. Well, one day -- the hottest day of last summer in fact -- I'm driving along in my new sports car and I come to a traffic light. I've got the windows up, the air conditioning on and the stereo turned up full blast...and who should pull up next to me? Tommy. He's a hot weather freak, so he doesn't have the AC on. In fact, he's got all the windows open, the sun roof open, and the stereo playing full blast.

I call him on my cell phone and say, "You want to drag race to the next light?" He says, "Of course!" The light turns green, we both floor it.

Now, assuming that the cars and our driving skills are identical, the question is: Who wins the race and why?

RAY: You might think that Tommy wins the race because I've got the A/C on, and that's robbing power from the engine. But in fact, most cars have built into their circuitry a throttle position switch which lets the computer shut the air conditioner off when you floor the gas pedal. So, when I floor the gas pedal, not only do I have the advantage of having the sleek aerodynamics of the closed windows, but I also have the air conditioner off, just like Tommy. Do we have a winner?

TOM: We do. Congratulations to Judy Wilson from Bradenton, Florida!

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