Anyone Can Do It!
Or - How bracket racing works
Drag racing has been with us as an organized sport since the Santa Anna Drags opened June 19, 1950.
But you can bet that a couple of animal drawn carts probably met on a crude road outside of the
village and the drivers ran 'em off to see who had the better animal. Bracket racing is a variation
on the standard drag race that many are familiar with. The standard drag race (commonly called
"a Heads Up race") is two vehicles going from A to B with the first to reach B declared the winner.
This is the standard form of drag racing at the professional level.
| Bracket racing
modifies this format in an attempt to level the playing field for
all so that anyone can compete with whatever vehicle they may own.
Some people have even been known to race in rental cars (not recommended - check your
rental agreement!). The method used to equal things up is the staggered
start. For example, lets say Grandma Gertie's Super Stock Dodge can
run the 660' strip in 7 seconds. Jimmie Newbie has a nice old Mustang
that's not real fast but it's fun to drive. In time trials, he finds
it takes him 10 seconds to get to the finish line. The respective
times are known as their "dial in" and is written on their windows
so that the timing officials can put the numbers in the computer.
Jimmie draws Gertie in the first round, so they stage up. The computer
in the timing tower will trigger Jimmie's light 3 seconds before it
triggers Gertie's, giving Jimmie a head start. If both drivers were
to leave the start line with a perfect .500 reaction and run exactly
on their dial-in, there would be a tie. Don't worry, this has yet
to happen. Timing things to the thousandth of a second coupled with
human reactions pretty much prevents that. One either gets off the
line first or misses their dial-in so there is always a winner.
| What keeps
them "honest"? Meaning why can't one leave the starting line way ahead
of the other and what prevents someone from running a 7 but writing
an 8 on the window and killing 'em at the top end (called "sandbagging").
It's the rules! If you leave before the green light
comes on, the red bulb lights and you're disqualified for jumping the
start. On the dial-in, if you run under your dial-in it's called a
"breakout" and again you're disqualified for going TOO fast. With
these controls in place and if the driver is on their game the littlest
Festiva can trailer the baddest Pro Street car in the city.
The electronic starting device positioned between the lanes just ahead
of the starting line.
Pre Stage: When your tires break this light beam, it's a signal
that you are very close to the starting line.
Stage: Your front tires have reached the starting line. NOTE:
The race typically will not be started until both drivers are staged.
However, there is only a short grace period for staging. If you fail
to stage in time, you will be disqualified (red light).
Countdown lights: Once the starter triggers the tree, these
flash down at .500 second intervals with the green coming on .500
seconds after the last yellow.
Green: Get on it!
Red: Disqualified or foul
and 330' timers
||These give time
at various intervals on the track. Your 60' time is generally
an indication of how well your car "hooks" - how much traction it
Methanol when used as a motor fuel
||Once both cars are pre-staged and the first car stages, the second car has a predetermined amount of time to stage before the tree is automatically activated. This is referred to as the "Time Out". If the second car fails to stage before the system "Times Out", it will be given a red light. The Time Out value for Jr. Dragsters is 15 seconds and for all other ET classes it is 10 seconds.
||A specific class defined by elapsed time or required equipment.
Example: Electronics, Street Money
||Operation of the Christmas Tree starting system that flashes each yellow bulb in turn .500 ( one half) second apart follwed by the green .500 seconds later. Also called a Sportsman Tree
than your dial-in (you "dial" a 10.00, but run a 9.99)
tires to clean them and to heat the rubber for better traction. Drag
slicks work best at an elevated temperature. NOTE: Street
tires DO NOT require a burnout. Typically, they will actually perform
worse if heated. However, you are free to burn 'em down if you like.
If you do not wish to make a burnout, you may drive around the water
||A second chance offer to re-enter the race. Competitors eliminated in the first (sometimes second) round can re-enter the race by paying a fee, typically 1/2 of the class entry fee. Similar to a "mulligan" in golf.
||The first racer
to light the pre-stage bulb must wait for their competitor to light
the other pre-stage bulb. The racers may then perform their
final staging maneuver.
||The ET that the
driver or crew chief thinks that the car will run. It is posted on
the front and passenger side windows.
competitors run under their dial-in. The one that runs closest
to their dial-in is declared the winner.
||A full bodied
car with doors
||The actual race.
Competitors are paired up by two's, tournament style, with only half coming back for
the next round.
The time from when the front tires leave the starting line beam until
the front tires break the finish line beam. Reported to the ten-thousandth
of a second. That's .0001
||Two cars racing
with no handicap start. The classic drag race.
||The better reaction
time. The "hole" is the starting line. "Hole Shot' means I got out of there first / put the moves on 'em.
||Setting the timing system to fire only the green bulb after staging is complete.
||The three yellow
lights flash on all at the same time and the green lights .400 seconds
after. There is also a "5 tenths Pro Tree", which is timed at .500 between the yellows and green.
||The time between
the driver's reaction to the last yellow of the tree and the time
the front tires leave the staging beam. It can also be thought of
as how close you came to leaving on the green light. It is printed
on the ET slip. An example: .531
(.500 is a perfect light on a sportsman tree, .400 on a Pro tree.)
What this really means is
that your front tire(s) left the stage beam .031 seconds after the green light
came on. Some tracks add in the .500 between the last yellow and the
greenon the time slip, others just report the actual time in relation to the green as a plus or minus figure. The reaction time is also a combination of the driver's
reaction to the lights and the car's reaction to the driver's input.
Light or Foul Start
||The red light
is triggered by leaving before the green. It can also signal a foul or
disqualification, like failing to stage in the required time or breaking
||Your speed at
the finish is calculated by measuring the time between when you break
the speed beam and the finish line beam. The speed trap is 66' wide.
race tree where the 3 yellow lights flash at .500 second intervals
and the green lights .500 seconds after the last yellow.
off behind the burnout box area where the competitors are paired up
for the race.
||A certain number
of runs granted to each competitor giving each a chance to get their
car ready for the race.
||Near the finish
line (Usage: "I had 'em on a hole shot, but they caught me on the top
||A small area
kept wet by track personnel to help cars with slicks perform their