I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I’m free. —- Dominic Toretto
The weather is getting warmer so the drag strips are beginning to open for the season. Plus the Dodge Demon was just revealed, so I felt it was time to do a post about drag racing.
This past weekend was a weekend full of cars for me. On Thursday one of my friends interviewed and featured my car for a project he was working on. Then on Friday while sitting in a meeting at work I saw that the local drag strip was having their opening night that night. Then on Saturday the Car Club at Virginia Tech had their annual spring car show, the last one I’ll be at since I am graduating this semester.
But anyway, back to the topic of this post. Drag racing is probably the simplest form of racing, it shows who has the fastest car. While the driver can play a big role, for most situations other than the most competitive of events, any halfway decent driver will work.
How the events work
Drag racing is probably the cheapest form of racing someone can get into, as long as you just keep it for fun because cars are very expensive, especially any form of race car. The one I went to on Friday was $10 to get into the gate, but students got in free, so I didn’t have to pay that, and was $15 to be able to run your car as many times as your heart desired. Since it was the first weekend of the season there wasn’t any actual competition and everyone was just practicing. If there is actual racing going on you will probably be limited to the test and tune time.
If it’s your first time going to one of these events I definitely suggest trying to find someone who knows how things tend to go because there is little direction, and you are just left to free roam, especially at the smaller tracks.
Most drag strips around America are 1/8 mile, with the 1/4 mile tracks typically are around population hubs. Most people will use the 1/4 mile time when comparing cars, you won’t typically hear an 1/8 mile time referenced, which can make it hard to tell how your time matches up against other cars. That being said, 1/8 miles are nice because they’re usually cheaper, which means more racing. Also, for most street cars you won’t reach speeds much higher than highway speeds, so the chance of breaking something on your daily driver isn’t that great.
You don’t need to do a whole lot to your street car to run if you are just there to have fun. You can lower your drive tire pressure to help give more grip off the line, but it isn’t that big of a deal if you don’t, you won’t break anything. More than likely you won’t even need a helmet unless you’re running GT-R type of times. Once you’re ready to go get in one of the staging lanes, try to make sure if there are rules about which one you get in that you follow those, if you aren’t sure just ask someone that seems like they know what’s going on. Once you’ve waited and are next in line, someone will point you forward into the staging box. You can do a burnout if you so desire, but unless you have drag radials it won’t benefit you to do a small burnout to just clean off the tires. In fact, most street tires lose grip once they reach a certain temperature, and that temperature won’t be that high. Just look at the above video in the opening scene, that’s all you really need to do.
Pull up to the lights slowly until the pre-stage lights come on, then go even slower until the stage lights come on, then stop. Once the stage lights have come on for both lanes the three amber lights will count down and then the green light means go. Don’t worry about getting a great reaction time, it doesn’t matter unless you’re racing competitively. Like I said before, if it’s an 1/8 mile you won’t go much past highway speeds, my best time was 9.4 seconds at 77 mph. Once you pass the big boards you’re done, slow down and turn around at the break in the wall and follow the road next to the drag strip to the little hut where you get your time slip, then get back in line to go again.
Here’s a shameless plug of another video I made