There are a number of competitive race modes in IHRA Drag Racing 2. You can take your custom-built dragster out for a test run to see how it performs on the track before taking it head-to-head against another player or a computer-controlled opponent. You can enter into a single race against an opponent, compete in a tournament-style event, or join in a season of tournament events over a number of different race courses. Just the act of competing in a race is a convoluted process, and most players will have to spend some time reading the manual before they win any races. You first need to "stage" your car. Staging means you have to lock your car down to perform a burnout, bringing up the temperature of your tires to increase their grip. You then need to roll toward the starting line to the pre-stage line, wait for a light to illuminate, roll a few more feet forward to the stage line, and then wait for your opponent to do the same. If you fail to do any of this, you will be disqualified from the race. After you've staged your car, you just wait for the light to turn green and then you gun it. At the end of each run, you will receive a breakdown of the total race time, your initial reaction time, your 0-60 time, your 0-100 time, and many more stats that you can pore over and use to improve the design of your car.
Unfortunately, once you get your car out on the track, it doesn't make for a very inspired game.
IHRA Drag Racing 2 doesn't have much to offer visually. The tracks all look fairly drab and sparse in detail, with only a few banners and grandstands giving life to the trackside. The colors are all dull and washed out, and the cars have only a passable amount of detail. We also noticed that the frame rate took an occasional hit once the engines fired. The game's sound is decent, but there isn't very much to it. The roar of the engines is pretty satisfying, and there are a number of different sounds for your custom engine to choose from. The American rock soundtrack in the game certainly lends a very topical flavor to the game, and if it isn't to your liking, the game has full support for Xbox custom soundtracks.
While IHRA Drag Racing 2 does a great job of representing the sport of drag racing, it doesn't necessarily make for the greatest game. The level of detail in the simulation of engines, suspension, chassis, and everything else that goes into making a champion drag racer is unmatched, but there just isn't very much to do in the game. While the game does offer Xbox Live downloadable content, this is limited to just a few ready-made cars for you to modify and race as you please. IHRA Drag Racing 2 could have benefited from some sort of progression system to give you a sense that you are accomplishing something with each race, but as the game is, it is recommendable only to those with a very deep interest in drag racing or engine modification.