Tesla Model S Plaid brakes mid-race to avoid getting kicked off drag strip, still dominates

Credit: Emmet Peppers/Twitter

Tesla owner Emmet Peppers is not a professional racer, but in a recent outing at the SMI Sonoma Raceway, the Model S Plaid owner ended up sandbagging his car constantly to avoid going too fast. Despite this, the Model S Plaid proved to be one frighteningly quick car, destroying its competition even with its ton of driver-induced handicaps. 

As could be seen in his social media posts, Peppers had a ton of fun drag racing his new Model S Plaid, so much so that in one run, the vehicle was able to accomplish a 9.717-second quarter-mile run with a trap speed of 149.12 mph. That’s not bad at all for a large four-door family sedan that’s driven by a non-professional drag racer. 

Videos of Peppers’ runs were even more noteworthy, as some of them showed the Tesla owner giving several seconds’ worth of head start to his opponents before launching the Model S Plaid. Despite these handicaps, the Model S Plaid would still catch and overtake its competitor–and still win the race

This became quite evident in a race against a Dodge Challenger, which involved the Model S Plaid driver unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally) giving the muscle car a head start. During the race, the Model S Plaid driver actually had to tap his brakes just before the quarter-mile marker to avoid going too fast. And even then, its 10.844-second run at 113.95 mph was still impressive, and still enough to beat the Dodge Challenger. 

Interestingly enough, the sandbagging that happened during Peppers’ day at the track was predicted by actual drag racer Brooks Weisblat of YouTube’s DragTimes channel in the past. In a video, Weisblat noted that the Model S Plaid might end up actually being too quick for drag strips, as some 9-second cars like his McLaren 720S sometimes get turned away due to regulations from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Weisblat also noted that cars that have a trap speed of 150 mph or more are generally mandated to have a parachute to help them decelerate. 

Otherwise, aftermarket businesses making drag safety equipment for Teslas may soon become a popular venture. 

Watch one of Peppers’ drag races in the video below. 

Do you have anything to share with the Teslarati Team? We’d love to hear from you, email us at

Tesla Model S Plaid brakes mid-race to avoid getting kicked off drag strip, still dominates
To Top