Drag Racing Basics
Drag racing is a rush. It gives you the feeling of adrenaline, a quench for speed and the taste - smell - and roar of mega horsepower. There is nothing like it. It looks pretty easy right?......right! Any monkey can go out and floor it, but he won't be consistent nor competitive. Drag racing requires lots of concentration and equal amounts of practice. It is also one of the few places you can go out and give-er-all-u-got without ending up in jail, especially with the levels of performance Supras can achieve. Racing ain't cheap though. The problem is the bug...the faster you go...the faster you'll want to go. Speed costs money. Although, you can achieve certain levels of performance for low bucks - like me, there is a limit where it is going to take some serious cash to go faster. I tend to always end up just below this level with my cars. After all, these cars are my daily drivers too.
Drag Racing Basics: (Time trials not bracket racing)
1. Pay your entry fee, sign the liability waiver and pull around into the TECH line. Here they will check out your car to make sure you have a PARK starter override (if you have an auto), no loose trim, tight lug nuts and no wheel caps....this is usually the only thing you have to do; remove these prior to tech.
2. Once passing tech's visual check, you need to pass the safety check:(these vary and I may have missed some)
14's or slower....no safety equip reqd.
12's to 13.99......need a helmet SNELL certified.
10's to 11.99......roll bar, helmet, drive shaft loop.
Faster than this...all the above plus fire system/suit and clean extra pair of underwear.
3. Now that you're official, have a number on your windows and a grin on your face..get in the staging line(s). Here you will wait and pull forward, slowly making your way to the starting line. Some people push their cars forward, others drive. I've done both and noticed no difference with my car's performance.
4. You are next! The official will wave you and your competitor forward into the staging/burnout area. Wait until the guys before you take off and then the starter will wave you forward. With 2-wheel drive and street/treaded tires, pull around the burnout box and back in. This keeps all the water off the track and in the box. So, back you car's rear tires into the burn out box and heat-em-up! Be sure to spin all the water off of them after the box so you don't sit and spin at the line.
5. Now your heart is going, palms are sweating and you are ready! You need to know how the lights work to understand the next stage. There are two yellow lights on the top of the tree. When the first light comes on it means your front tires have passed the pre-stage line. You need to pull forward -slowly- another couple of inches until the second light down comes on also. At this point - you are staged. Don't pull forward or roll backwards...or you'll look like a dork. Once your competitor has completed his staging too, the race is soon to begin. The starter will normally start the lights about 5 sec after the last person stages...so be ready. Have your RPM'S up and ready to shift..autos too.
6. Here we go...this is the rush part...the lights will start to flash downwards. Most street car classes use the Sportsman's tree. Three amber lights will flash at .5 seconds apart and then the green will flash. I leave right on the last yellow....it takes my foot that long to let go of the brake and mash the pedal. This give me reaction times(r/t) of around .6 - .7 , a .5 is a perfect r/t.
7. And they're off! Watch your RPM's and shift around 200RPM past your peak power point. This keeps the revs just under optimum for more power in the next gear.....don't forget to shift( I did this once real early!) You will probably only use 1-3 in both the auto and stick Supras. Keep it hammered until you cross past the finish line. Now slow down and brake to make the first turnout (watch for your competition...he doesn't have those massive brakes you do) If you don't make the first turnout, there will be another 1/4 mile down the track. If you miss this one, you'll end up in Kansas.
8. Now slowly pull around on the return track and stop to get your timeslip along the way. Get back in line and beat that time!
What a blast!