a Drag Race?
In basic terms, a drag race is an acceleration contest from a standing start between
two vehicles a measured distance at a specially designed drag race facility. The accepted
standard for that distance is either a quarter-mile or an eight-mile. These contests
are started by means of an electronic device commonly called a "Christmas Tree."
Upon leaving the starting line, each contestant activates a timer which is, in turn,
stopped when the same vehicle reaches the finish line. The start-to-finish clocking is the
vehicle's E.T. (elapsed time), which serves to measure performance and also serves to
determine handicaps during competition.
is E.T. Racing ( Bracket Racing ) and How does it work?
By far the most popular form of drag racing is a handicapped form of competition known as
"E.T. Bracket Racing." In this form of racing, two vehicles of varying
performance potentials can race on a potentially even basis. The anticipated elapsed times
for each vehicle are compared, with the slower car receiving a head
start equal to the
difference of the two. With this system, virtually any two vehicles can be pared in a
competitive drag race. The accepted standard for that distance is
either a quarter-mile (1,320 feet) or an eighth-mile (660 feet). A drag racing event is a
series of two-vehicle, tournament-style elimination's. The losing driver in each race is
eliminated, and the winning drivers progress until one driver remains.
Car "A" has been timed at 17.78, 17.74 and 17.76 seconds for the quarter-mile,
and the driver feels that a "dial-in" (or guessed time during a race) of 17.75
is appropriate. Meanwhile, the driver of car "B" has recorded elapsed times of
15.27, 15.22 and 15.26 on the same track and he has opted for a "dial-in" of
15.25. Accordingly, car "A" will get a 2.5 second headstart over car
"B" when the "Christmas Tree" counts down to each car's starting green
In both vehicles cover the quarter-mile in exactly the predetermined elapsed time (each
"dial-in"), the win will go to the driver who reacts quickest to the starting
signal. That reaction to the starting signal is called "reaction time." A
perfect "reaction time" is .50 because that is the interval between each
illumination of lights on the "Christmas Tree". Both lanes are timed
independently of one another, and the clock does not start until the vehicle actually
moves. Because of this, a vehicle may sometimes appear to have a mathematical advantage in
comparative elapsed times but actually loses the race. This fact makes starting line
reflexes extremely important in drag racing! And you thought it was simple right? Well,
actually there's more, read on.
"Break-Out" or "Run-Out"
Should a driver go quicker than his/her predetermined "dial-in" it is a
"break-out" or "run-out" which is grounds for disqualification
(because the handicap provided to the other car was then incorrect – making it an
unfair race for the competitor). In the case of both vehicles making their runs under
their dial-ins, the win goes to the driver who breaks out the least.
Another form of disqualification is a foul start (or "red light"). This happens
when the driver reacts to the "Christmas Tree" too quickly and drives his car
away from the starting line before the green "go" signal. When dual infractions
occur, say a red-light and then a break-out, the re-light takes disqualification precedent
over the break-out.
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What Do I Do When I Get To The Track?
||Here you buy your tech card, receive your wristband or Pit Pass and sign the waiver
release. Once you have purchased a tech card, there are no refunds or exchanges. All
vehicles need to be race-ready upon entering the facility.
||Go to the pit area, park and prepare your vehicle to race. Please allow for as many
vehicles to park in area as possible. Please read all racer information you were given at
gate. Racers may Pit on both sides but may not block any access roads or other racers.
||Fuel, air, water, parts and limited automotive supplies are available on the premises
during normal race events.
||After filling out your tech card, proceed to Tech
Inspection, located in the center of the PIT AREA. All drivers in all classes must be
in possession of valid drivers license. No competition runs faster than 9.99 will be
allowed without a valid NHRA license. IHRA Certified and Licensed Drivers can apply with a Cross Over Form. A tech inspector will check your vehicle, give you a
tech inspection sticker and put your number on your vehicle. (Additional shoe polish for
dial-ins is available for sale at the goody booth.) Your ticket or techcard is your
raincheck in case of bad weather.
NOT LOSE. Each car and driver is teched as a team and neither one can be
substituted without going to tech first for re-inspection. If either the car or the driver
is substituted and it is not reported to Tech, both will be expelled from competition.
- All drivers racing a car faster than 9.99 must have a valid NHRA competition license.
Any driver not in possession of a valid NHRA license must dial 10.00 in competition. In
the event of a double breakout, the breakout closest to the dial-in wins (including a run
under the 10.00 dial-in).
- All race vehicles must have an approved seat belt or current SFI dated harness, as
outlined in the current NHRA Rule Book. Rule Books available at the Goody Booth
- All race vehicles must pass all technical inspections, as outlined in the current NHRA
Rule Book. A Tech inspection sticker will be placed on the race vehicle upon a
- Any race vehicle not meeting the specified technical rules will be rejected by the Track
- Any technical deficiencies must be corrected prior to racing the vehicle.
- Minor infractions that do not affect the safety of the vehicle or driver may be waived
by the Tech Director only and signed only if he feels confident in doing so.
- Any changes made to a race vehicle after inspection must be reported to the Track Tech
Director. Failure to do so will result in being removed from competition and loss of
points for that day.
- Random Tech inspections will be made in the pits by the Track Tech Team. Any vehicle not
meeting NHRA safety standards will be prevented from racing until the violations are
corrected and approved by the Tech Director.
- It is the driver's responsibility to have all of the current safety equipment, as
outlined in the current NHRA Rule Book, including safety belts, safety harness, helmets,
fire protective clothing, etc. Refer to Sportsman Section of the Safety Handbook for items
not required for non-E.T. Handicap racing, i.e. fireproof pants and neck collar.
and WAIVER of LIABILITY AGREEMENT FORM
||Must be, read, understood and signed at ticket booth by all persons in competition and
crew members who will be entering the restricted areas. Those without wristbands, tech
card or pit passes will not be allowed to enter the restricted areas.
||Come to the lanes only when your class and assigned lane is called. When your lane or
class is next, make sure you are ready to race, be sure your helmet is on, your seat belt
fastened properly and all windows up. Follow the directions of the staging lanes
personnel. When Reporting for
Eliminations to the staging lanes, you may not change lanes
once you enter a lane.
||Wait here until instructed by official to proceed to the Water Box. This is where the
computer operator reads your number and dial-in from the Timing Tower and enters it into
the computer. Dial
Ins and Numbers on Left Side Of Car or Bike
||Cars with slicks will be guided into the water by the Track Personnel operating this
area. Stationary burn-outs should not be preformed forward of the burn-out area. Start
burnout only when starting line/water box staff instructs you to do so.
||Move forward until the top small yellow light on the "Christmas Tree"
(pre-stage) is lit. During eliminations check dial-in on pre-dial in board (located at
the back of the starter's Vee) Once a vehicle is staged, you have accepted the
scoreboard dial-in. You are not allowed to back out and re-stage. It is a racer courtesy
to wait for your competition to also pre-stage before staging.Once
Both Cars are pre-staged each cars should stage within 10
||We use AUTO START in all classes and
the timer till the tree self starts is set at 8 seconds once
3 Lights are lit.
Inch your vehicle forward until the second yellow light on the "Christmas
Tree" (stage) is lit and prepare for the 3 amber lights (amber spotlights) to count
down to the green light. (Leave on the 2nd or 3rd amber light depending on the reactions
of you and your vehicle.) A Pro Start is when all three amber lights come on at one time
and then go to the green light. On a full tree the countdown between lights is 5-tenths of
a second while on a Pro Tree, the countdown is 4-tenths of a second.
As a courtesy stage
when your competitor's pre-stage light is lit.
||Go! If your vehicle has problems, pull to the outside of your lane and stop. If no
problem exists, always exit the racing surface before stopping. If you "red
light", which is automatic loss during eliminations, DO NOT slow down and take your
frustrations out on the next racers waiting to race.
If at anytime you experience vehicle problems, pull to the
outer edge of the track when safe to do so. This allows the
starter to know you have a problem and if you are leaking
fluids it make clean-ups better for all participants.
||Drive past the finish line, LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE IN GEAR, and slow down using your
brakes (chute if needed). Turn left at nearest exit. Get off track quickly. Be careful
when turning left to allow for safe exiting and to avoid collision. Go to the end of the
track only if it is absolutely necessary.
||Once past the finish Line ( Orange
Panels ) slow your vehicle in preparation of
exiting the track. There are two left hand turn-offs after the finish line. Please
exit track carefully watching for traffic in the other race lane.
Racer Safety Equipment should be worn
properly until the car exits the race track.
||STOP here and get your time slip. Report any knowledge of problems on track. While on
the return road to the timing ticket booth the maximum speed
limit is 15 MPH
||Prints your reaction time, 60', 330', 660', 1,000', 1,320' elapsed time, 1/8 mile and
1/4 mile m.p.h. Your time slip also gives you the same information about your
competitor as well as records which racer was the winner during eliminations.
||15 MPH and follow posted road signs.
Violators will be penalized which could mean disqualification.
||Go back to the pit area and wait for the announcer (if you can not hear the P.A.
system tune your FM radio to 89.9) for all
calls to staging lanes.
||Come to assigned lanes when called by P.A. or FM Broadcast system. Only winners return
when called. Ladder sheets are normally posted after third round at which time winners
report directly back to your assigned lane.
High School Eliminator Program
In conjunction with the regular bracket racing series there is a popular program for high
school students. Each participating track holds special High School Eliminator events, and
a student is selected to represent the track at the Sears Craftsman E.T. Racing Series
Finals in each division. Students battle it out at the Finals, with the winner earning a
variety of prizes and a cash grant for their high school.
on a pass, a driver cannot allow his or her vehicle to cross either
the center or outer lines. If the driver crosses a line during
qualifying his or her time will not count. If he or she does
this during eliminations the car is disqualified. This is to
keep drivers from staying on the power too long when car has assumed
a dangerous posture on the track or "gotten out of shape." The
only time this rule is waived is for a single-run final or on a run
where the other driver breaks out or the competing driver breaks,
may then cross center line under control to exit track safely.
Once a car leaves the staging lanes,it
is considered a competitor, if it can not cross the front of staging
it will be eliminated and the next vehicle will become the
competitor. it must be prepared to make a pass. Failure to stage upon the starter's instructions will be grounds for
disqualification. Also, once a car is staged and leaves the line- forward or backward- for
any reason, it is not allowed to restage. Such infractions during qualifying usually lead
to the disqualification of the driver's time.
When on a ladder and competitor can not answer the call a solo pass
will be made.
Solo passes will only be allowed when
competitor breaks after the driver passes the staging lane line.
Driver has the right not to stage under two circumstances, (1) if his dial-in is
incorrect, at which time he should signal the starter to have the problem corrected, and (2) he sees an unsafe condition down track, at which time he
should also notify track
The Burnout, or tire-heating procedure that takes place on the
starting line, is very much a part of drag racing; it's very exciting and colorful.
However, when and where burnouts are performed is subject to regulation. Only Top Fuel,
Funny Car, Pro Stock, and alcohol cars can cross the starting line under power before a
run, and they can only do that once. Any burnout done in the pits will lead to
disqualification. Any car doing a burnout must be able to back up by itself.
All infractions are subject to ruling by the event director. In the
rare case of side-by-side infractions, the first or worst rule is used. In other words, if
one car red-lights and then the other crosses the centerline, the second infraction
would be deemed worse and that car would be disqualified. The red-lighting car would be
reinstated. The Final Decision will be determined by the Track Operator
Portions of this page where taken from "Basics
of Drag Racing" distributed by NHRA