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TCC NAR Competition Primer: USMRSC Rule 61, Drag Race (DR)


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This primer presents, in one place, all the information you need to succeed in NAR model competition in this event.

TCC has provided a link to the official rules whenever we discuss a rule.


All Entries

Your entry must:

* Comply with the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code: USMRSC 2.2

* Be a model rocket as described by the United States Model Rocket Sporting Code. USMRSC 3.1-3.9

* Use NAR Contest Approved motors: USMRSC 4.1, 4.4

* NOT eject its motor casing(s) without a recovery system. USMRSC 9.2

* Have your NAR number or your name on the outside, large and clear enough that the contest officials can easily read it. Teams must use the Team number or name. USMRSC 9.4

* Have been constructed by yourself or by one or more members of your Team. You may not enter Ready-To-Fly rockets (no construction required) in NAR sanctioned competition. USMRSC 9.9


Know the rules

Your having a grasp of the bigger picture can increase your enjoyment of NAR competition. You can read the Pink Book Lite to see only the rules for competitors, not for Contest Directors or other contest officials. Read the full USMRSC (Pink Book) to see all the rules.

* Pink Book Lite:

* Full USMRSC:


General Competition Tips:

TCC NAR Competition 101

TCC NAR Competition Strategy and Tactics

Contest Etiquette by Kevin Paul Wickart, NAR 59720, cr 1998, the author

Beginning Competition -- The RSVP Principle by Kevin Paul Wickart, NAR 59720, cr 1998, the author

Guide to NAR Contest Rocketry Information for Beginners by Jeff Vincent, NAR 27910, Northeast Regional Contest Chair


Which are the Main USMRSC Rules for This Event?

* The main rules are 9, and 61.


Does TCC Have Supporting Documents?

* This MS Excel workbook shows heat and round tracking and can be used to record the event:  DR Heat Sheet


What is the Goal?

* The purpose of this competition is to determine which entry is most successful at meeting the triple criteria of quick ignition and lift-off, low altitude, and long duration. USMRSC 61.1


Are There Any Special Considerations?

* Your entry must be single staged, but can be clustered. USMRSC 61.1

* No substitution of models is permitted during the course of this event, except as specified under the provisions of Rule 11.5. USMRSC 61.3

* The model may be launched by either of the following methods:

Through a common ignition switch operated by the Launch Control Officer; or

By the contestants themselves, using separate ignition systems. USMRSC 61.5


Do I Have to Return My Entry?

* NO. However, the Contest Director can require that you return your entry. USMRSC 9.10


How Many Flights Can I Make?

* You race until you lose a heat and are eliminated.

* You may need to make more than one flights depending on how many racers are in your division:

            2 racers = 1 flight

            3 - 4 racers = up to 2 flights

            5 - 8 racers = up to 3 flights

            9 - 16 racers = up to 4 flights, etc.


How is the Competition Scored?

* Drag Race Competition shall be scored as follows: the winner of each heat shall be that entry which receives the higher number of points according to the following schedule: USMRSC 61.10

One point for the first entry to achieve first motion;

One point for the entry achieving the lower altitude; and

One point for the entry that touches the ground last. If the entry separates into two or more pieces, the first piece to touch the ground is counted.

* Drag Race Competition is a tournament of single elimination heats. The Contest Director will assign racing pairs (heats) by lot. The winner of each heat advances to the next round of heats. The loser of each heat (except for the Semi-Final Round) is eliminated.

* The racers (up to four) who advance to the Semi-Final Round will place (1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th). All other racers will get flight points.


What Will Disqualify My Entry?

* An entry which does not fly successfully shall be disqualified. USMRSC 61.7

* When a model is launched with a separate ignition system under the control of the contestant, the model must achieve first motion on or after T-0. A model achieving first motion before T-0 shall be disqualified. USMRSC 61.8

* Your entry may be disqualified if, in the opinion of the contest officials, it does not comply with the competition rules or is unsafe in operation. USMRSC 11.1, 11.2

* A model that does not achieve first motion before T+2 shall be disqualified. USMRSC 61.9


How About Some Suggestions for New Competitors?

* This is a fun event! Any model rocket, any recovery system that complies with the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code and any motor or combination that complies with the USMRSC. Pick a rocket from you collection or build a new one.

* Since you get a point for longest flight (“touches the ground last”), use a parachute for recovery.

* Since you get a point for lowest altitude, use a lower power motor.


Many vendors have competition models and/or competition supplies:


What Else & What Next?


This is a FUN EVENT! Chill out. Well, if you MUST Take No Prisoners…

Since you get a point for first motion, black powder motors offer a significant advantage over APCP.

Consider using a saucer or other high drag airframe with a parachute and a black powder booster motor.


Yahoo group for discussing model rocket competition:


Use computer simulations to determine altitude and sink rate for various rocket/motor/parachute combinations.

* Free altitude simulations: 


wRASP 32 -

* Free sink rate simulation:


Aerospace Specialty Products Streamer and Parachute Tips:


George Gassaway’s NARAM Tip Sheets:



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