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Introduction:

I. The week before racing:

A. Make sure everything on your car, both electrical and mechanical is in proper working condition.

B. Second, make sure that whatever tires you are going to run, are in proper racing condition, i.e., no slow leaks, no nails in tire, no patches, no plugs. Etc?

C. Third, make sure you have all your tools ready that you intend to take to the track. You can never have too many tools, because you never know what you might need while at the track.



II. The day of racing

A. First thing you should do when you get up that morning is to check the weather for where you are going to be racing. This way you can decide if you need to go ahead and start getting everything together, or just cancel. The worst thing on race day is procrastinating, trying to figure out if you're going to race or not. You make the decision that morning. Either you drive to the track, and risk racing being canceled, or you just stay at home, and risk not racing if they do end up racing.

B. Second, once you've decided that you are going to race, you need to remove everything that's loose in your car possible. Some people, such as myself, prefer to do this the night before, but it?s mainly up to you, depending upon how much time you have before you have to leave for the track. Now, when I say everything loose, I mean things such as articles of clothing, books, magazines, any trash, everything in your glove box and console that you won't need, anything in the rear hatch that isn't needed, and just anything in general that you don't want in the car. Be it for cleanliness purposes, weight reduction, or safety measures.

C. Third, loading the car. Once you've removed everything from the car that will be of no use to you at the track, start loading the things that you will need. Such as tools, wheels and tires if you?re not already driving on them, food, drinks, laptops, etc.

D. Lastly, do a quick once-over of the car, and make sure that everything is still in proper working order.



III. Arriving at the track

A. First thing you'll do when you get there is to go through the entrance gate, and pay your race fees. Upon payment, you will receive what is called a tech card.

B. Second. Once you've received your tech card at the gate, proceed to the pits, and find yourself a good parking spot. Personally, I usually like finding one that is relatively close to the staging lanes and the concession stand.

C. Third. After you've found your parking spot, go ahead and unload your car, and start making whatever preparations you need to make to the car, be it changing wheels and tires, making adjustments to your tuning, removing seats, etc.

D. Once you've made all your preparations, you need to fill out your tech card. The main info they need on there is your name, address, phone number, make and model of your car, and your signature. After you've filled that out, jump in your car, and drive over to the tech booth. Once there, pop your hood, and wait your turn in line till they get to you. Once it's your turn, hand them your card, and let them look over your car.

As a reminder, you may want to bring some window chalk with you, because sometimes, the tech guy won't have any, and you'll need some to write your number down on your window.

E. Now that you?re done with tech, return back to your parking spot, and wait till they call for your class before you enter the staging lanes.



IV. Staging Lanes

A. Once they call for your class to enter the staging lanes, go ahead and jump in your car, and head on in. Once in the staging lanes, turn your car off and pop your hood, that way the motor stays nice and cool. Only start when your line moves up, and leave your hood up, cause you can still see to drive through the line.

B. Once you get a little further up in line, be sure to do a quick once over of everything, just to make sure everything is working and where you want it to be. Now, this can include, but is not limited to, tire pressure, temperature, seat position, etc.

C. By now, you?re probably pretty close to the front of the line. Go ahead and close your hood, and make sure it is closed securely. You really don?t want your hood popping up going down the track, it?s not a pretty sight, trust me. Get back in your car, and get buckled in. Make sure all of your accessories are off, as you don't want anything to be running when you pull out onto the track.



V. Ready to Race

A. Now it's time for you to pull out on the track. Go ahead and pull onto the track, avoiding the water, going around it if you have to. Once you are straight in your lane, go ahead and start to back up. This next part is VERY IMPORTANT, so please pay attention. If you are running regular street radial tires, only back up a few feet, going nowhere near the water. Reason being, the grooves in your street tires will pick up the water, and carry it to the starting line, which will in turn cause massive wheel spin. Not good! Once you've backed up a few feet, put the car in a forward gear, and just barely turn them over a few times, just to clean them off. It is very important that you DO NOT do a huge burnout on street radials, as the rubber will become very greasy once it is heated, and will cause major wheel spin. All you have to do with a street tire is turn them over a few times, and clean any debris that's on them off.

B. Next, if you're running any type of drag radial, street slick, or full-on race slick, go ahead and back into the water. Once you've backed the rear tires into the water, barely turn them over, 2-3 rotations at the most, just to get the tire wet. Once the tire is wet, pull forward to the edge of the water, and begin your burnout. If you?re an automatic car, I prefer to start off in 1st gear, get the rpms up to around 5500, and shift to 2nd, and try to hold about 5000 rpms for at least a few seconds. This process should take you no longer than 10 seconds at the most. Contrary to popular belief, if you are not making huge power, there is no need for a John Force style burnout.

C. If you're a manual car, it's going to be a little bit trickier. The way I personally do it, is once I've pulled forward to the edge of the water, I bring the rpms up to around 5000-5500, side step the clutch, and soon as my foot comes off the clutch, it jumps directly on the brake, and then I apply more gas, keeping the rpms around 5500 or so. This is a very complicated procedure, and requires lots of practice. Trust me, the first few times you try this, YOU WILL KILL THE CAR! The same amount of time applies to this as above.

An important thing to remember about your burnout is, never just lift your foot off the gas pedal to complete your burnout, you're going to want to do what is called rolling out of it. What that means is, you let off the brake, and continue to burn the tires towards the starting line a few feet, while slowly letting your foot off the gas. Don't worry, there's plenty of room to do this, and you will want to come to a complete stop before you get to the starting line.

D. Now that you've done your burnout, or have cleaned your tires off, and are at a complete stop, you are ready to stage. Before you start to roll up to the line, look down and make sure all your accessories are off, and that all your gauges look like they're in acceptable ranges. Now, slowly start to roll towards the line until you turn the top 2 yellow bulbs on the tree on. You are now what is called "pre-staged". Stop here for a brief second, take a deep breath, make sure everything feels right, and get to ready to launch the car. If you're an auto, put one foot firmly on the brake pedal, and the other on the gas, bring your rpm's up to whatever your desired launch rpm is, and then barely ease up on the brake pedal, just enough to let your car inch forward. While you're inching the car forward, be watching the tree, because when you turn on the 2 bottom yellow bulbs, you are then what is called "staged". Same applies for manual cars, except you won't be easing up on the brake pedal, you will be easing up on the clutch. Therefore slipping it a little bit to allow you to roll into the staged position.

E. Now that you're staged, you are ready to launch. Watch the tree now, because below the bottom 2 yellow "staged" bulbs, there are 3 single bulbs on either side of the tree that will start coming down one at a time. Below the 3 single yellow bulbs will be a green bulb, and below that one will be a red bulb. Once the first single bulb lights, there are .500 of a second between lights till the green one comes on. A good way to measure how to launch is, once the 1st yellow bulb comes on, start your countdown. 3-2-1, and then the green light will come on. After a few runs, you will get your countdown in sync with the light coming on.

When that green light comes on, release the brake/clutch, and mash the gas and do your thing!!!



F. Now that you?re going, be sure to keep it straight going down the track. If for any reason at all, the car feels loose, or you begin to lose traction, or it starts getting a little sideways?. LET OUT! At this point, the run is botched anyway. There?s no point in risking your safety, or the persons beside you, because you are not going to run a new best at this point!

G. Now that you've crossed the finish line, let off the gas, and begin to gently apply the brakes. There's no need to shower down on them, because there's plenty of room to slow down. Your return road exits will usually be on your right-hand side, and if you're at a 1/4 mi track, there will be at least 3 of them. I personally, take the very last one, that way my car has plenty of time to slow down, and I don't have to be so hard on the brakes.

H. Now that you've completed your run, and you're on the return road, you will come upon a little booth on your left-hand side called the ticket booth. Here is where you will receive your time slip. Now that you've received your time slip, you can return to your parking spot in the pits, analyze your slip, pop your hood so the motor can cool, check your car over, and wait for them to call you up again!

Conclusion:

Drag racing is meant to be fun. So that's what you should try to make it. We are by no means serious racers, so there is no reason to get really serious about it. The main thing is to make sure your car is good running order, and to make sure you have all the necessities to make a run at the drag strip. Once you've done it a few times, be prepared to go back for more, because you will be hooked!!
 

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Re: Basic Drag Racing 101

Thanks for the post. Did you write that yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Re: Basic Drag Racing 101

yeah, I worte it for an MTFBA tech article, and Chris asked me if I would post it over here for him. :thumbup
 

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Things to add:

I always make sure that the person next to me has time to stage before I prestage and stage.
I leave on the last yellow light (the one right before the green light).
Also when turning on to the turn off road I always let the car on the same side as the turn off go first (even if I beat them by alot), that way I know I'm not going to cross over in front of someone.
Doug
 

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"Courtesy staging" means you let the other person prestage before you stage, because "auto start" will start the tree a predetermined time after the 1st person stages (unless the starter disables it). They use auto start to keep the event moving. The last race of the 2004 season, I was in the 4th round, and it was basically round robin. I was towards the back of the round pack and pulled into the right staging lane - like everybody else. They pulled me from the back of the line over to the left lane while the person I was to run pulled into the burn-out box - I needed to change my dial-in because the weather was getting cooler. By the time I pulled into the water, the other person was fully staged. I was concentrating on getting staged, didn't know if auto start was turned off (it should have been, but I had no way of knowing). The tree comes down, they take off, my lights come down, I take off, and realize at about 330' that they put my dial-in as "13.40" instead of the "13.90" I had on my windshield. Needless to say, I forgot to check my posted dial-in before I stage, and really needless to say, I lost. I have nobody to blame but myself, but if the other person had practiced courtesy staging, I would have had a better chance.

That "car in the lane closest to the turn-out has right of way" makes so much sense, but in T&T and time trials last week, I happened to be the slower car in each case that I had the right of way, and each time the other guy turned in front of me. I just don't understand how they can be so trusting of my brakes (I know about my brakes, but they don't).
 

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One more thing to add:
When you are staged and waiting for the go light, concentrate on your lights and what you are doing do not think about what the person next to you is doing. Once things get going you need to be aware of what the other car is doing (like coming into your lane, getting out of shape). Remember you want to drive home after your day at the track and not leave with the EMS crew or have your wrecked car towed to a salvage yard. Safety first, great time second.
 

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One MAJOR one to add.
in the staging lanes DO NOT run you dam A/C !!!!
It will make condensation land on the grooves and its a good way to

1. get someone hurt/wreck car
2. get your ass kicked when other racers see you leaving water on the track.

also if you know you are leaking fluid, DO NOT go to the staging lanes...
 

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five7kid said:
"Courtesy staging" means you let the other person prestage before you stage, because "auto start" will start the tree a predetermined time after the 1st person stages (unless the starter disables it)
Alot of people don't know this and it should be the first thing any racer understands. Alot do know this and don't care, they go ahead and stage before you prestage trying to throw you off, that's BS!
 

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here's a question...our local strip is tiny...and there is no way to 'go around' the water and then back up to it...so...what do you do if you have to drive right through it? on my first run ever in my formula i had the worst launch. did nothing but spin all the way through 1st and into 2nd. :mad:
 

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NICETRY said:
Your return road exits will usually be on your right-hand side, and if you’re at a ? mi track, there will be at least 3 of them.
RT. 66 only has 2, and Byron only has 1, so not all will have 3

and if track has 2 exits, and you miss the 1st one, DO NOT BACK UP
 

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here's a question...our local strip is tiny...and there is no way to 'go around' the water and then back up to it...so...what do you do if you have to drive right through it? on my first run ever in my formula i had the worst launch. did nothing but spin all the way through 1st and into 2nd. :mad:
Well, depends on if you care more about your tires or your time. If you don't mind putting a few seconds of burnout on your tires, give them a nice burnout, and that should get the water off your tires.
 

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so could you give me a little bit more detail on how to launch in a manual car?
 

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Practice. Every car launches alittle different. jbrid the tires to the sweet spot in the power and clutch are all things you have to feel out in your car. Practice getting your car moving with out throttle just using the clutch. You will get a feel for just where it grabs. Then slowly introduce more RPM's and feel where the clutch grabs then. If you spin back the rpm down alittle. You want to get to the point and rpm where you can dump the rest of the clutch with out the tires spinning and get strait on the gas.

Think about what you are doing though. Launches are murder on your clutch. Learning to launch is even worse. Be ready to replace it shortly.
 

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ahhh looks like i wont be doing it then lol because my current one is shot and i'm getting a new one soon lol
 

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so i am going to race my automatic z28 tomorrow. how should i go about racing? i raced the other day and my tires were so loose i was spinning all over the road. Should i do a quick burnout to warm the tires to grip? also how should i launch? should i put her in drive then hold brake and rev? then after 3 honks let go of brake and mash the gas? thanks im a newb
 

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If you have street tires, a burnout won't really help alot. Just drive it aroud for a bit, let them come up to temp. normally. If thats not enough, look at some better tires maybe. As for launching, Yeah, just hold the brake down, rev to, say, 2500, then release the brake, add some gas to keep from chugging, then gradually feed the throttle in.

Also, the best advice I can give is this: Just take it to the track :p You'll get a better launch, more traction, and is safer for everyone.
 

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Well I am Gary.I am 62 yrs old.Since I was first able to drive(16) I have been involved in a serious drag racing program.I have watched drag racing evolve.

The best advise I can give is to consistently do exactly the same thing run after run.Prep the car for each run the same way,pre-stage and stage the same way,leave on the same light.I can tell you times that I got so focused that each round it seemed as if the car and me where one.

Keep records of each run.The weather,time of the day,changes to the car,anything that you can record that is important to ref back to so you soon will know if the track gets faster at night etc.Over time you will be more able to predict a ET given the conditions you are racing in.

For me I will always take the pre-stage light before the person I am racing and after he stages then I will.I deep stage early in the day and shallow stage later in the day after the air gets better and the track cools off some.

I NEVER loose track where I am on the track during a round.60'-330'mark etc.All along the way I am making split second decisions.Where or not I am going to take the light or let the other guy break out.

Well I am going to leave it here for now.Suffice to say I and the current race team have won our fair share of races.Not by any means a brag,just to tell all of you we have always believed you are only as good as what you leave behind.Now in my later yrs in life......I think it is time to pass on what we learned over all those yrs.

Still through I can cut a 4.00 light.LOL.
 

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Think about what you are doing though. Launches are murder on your clutch. Learning to launch is even worse. Be ready to replace it shortly.
Awh hell, just get you some really sticky tires, get staged, then put the gas pedal on the floor and when the last yellow light is on its way out, let your foot slip off the clutch. Of course you'll want to have a very strong transmission, driveshaft, and rear end if you choose to launch in this manner, but it saves your clutch! LoL
 

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Couple quick stupid thing a first timer should remember. Is believe it or not clothes. Long pants are must at most tracks. Even in the heat you will need them. Most track like to see shirts with at least short sleeves no muscle shirts. I know there maybe girls and you like to show off but those are the track rules. Also find thin shoes I have a pair of wore out Chucks that I wear so I can fell the clutch and gas pedal better.
 
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