Bracket Racing 101

 

It's All In The Timing, Pt. 1

This is a reprint of my Bracket Racing 101 column from Drag Racer Magazine (click HERE to subscribe). It's always a good time for a refresher course on how our timing system works...

Everything we do on the dragstrip relates to time. We put a time on our windows, we try to leave on time, and we’ll hit the brakes at the stripe to kill some time. Yet with all of the importance of time to what we do, there are racers who don’t fully understand the timing system of the dragstrip.

In my travels racing at Northeast dragstrips I’ve gotten to know Al and Sue Smyth of Portatree Systems (www.PortaTree.com). The Smyth family is extremely active in our sport. Al races a stick SS/AH 1968 Barracuda, son Stephen races a 2009 A/SA Hemi Challenger, and daughter Allison races a C/SA 1997 Firebird. Practice trees, full competitive drag racing timing systems, and simulators are all part of the products that Portatree manufactures. As someone who founded and runs a company that makes...

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It's All In The Timing, Pt. 2

This is a reprint of my Bracket Racing 101 column from Drag Racer Magazine (click HERE to subscribe). It's always a good time for a refresher course on how our timing system works...

In "It's All In The Timing, Pt. 1", Al Smyth from Portatree Systems (www.PortaTree.com) helped us dissect the beginning portion of the dragstrip, specifically the timing system at the starting line. Now that we’ve hit the gas and are off and running, let’s take a look at the various increments we’ll encounter along the way.

The typical 1/4 mile dragstrip is wired with timing sensors at 60 ft., 330 ft., 660 ft., 1,000 ft., and 1,320 ft. In addition to these timing sensors, there are speed clocks at 660 ft. and 1,320 ft. Each of these increments are useful to us bracket racers when trying to tune a vehicle or figure out what the vehicle would have actually run if we hadn’t lifted before the stripe...

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Keep Your Pace To Win The Race
This is a reprint of my Bracket Racing 101 column from Drag Racer Magazine (click HERE to subscribe). Now that we're into a new season it seemed like a good time to run it here...

One day last season I was having a conversation at Englishtown with a fellow bracket racer. The racer had just lost an early round, and I asked how the round went down. “My opponent double-bulbed me, so I rushed to get in. I went red.”

Each racer has their own routine and pacing when at the track. Whether you like to get to the track early and unload with time to spare, or arrive as cars are being called into the lanes, whether you go up to the lanes at the first call or you wait until the last, we all race within our own comfort zones. However...

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Don't Be Afraid Of The Deep
This is a reprint of my Bracket Racing 101 column from Drag Racer Magazine (click HERE to subscribe). We're all working on cutting good lights, it seemed like a good time to run it here...
In my columns Take Action For Reaction and Take Action For Reaction Part II, I discussed the two major components that comprise reaction time - the driver’s reaction to the tree and the vehicle’s reaction to the driver. The latter is somewhat easily adjusted: if the vehicle is leaving too quickly or too slowly the driver can leave at a different RPM, change the pressure of the slicks, or change the travel of the front suspension. But in the case of the driver’s reaction time, what can be done if he or she is just inherently slow? Remember, both components of reaction time must equal .500 in order to equal a .000 light (assuming a 5-tenths tree).

Article continues HERE...

Looking Back To The Future
This is a reprint of my Bracket Racing 101 column from Drag Racer Magazine (click HERE to subscribe). Being that it's currently mid-winter and the topic of the column was off-season research, it seemed like a good time to run it here...

Shortly before writing this column I was on location at the NHRA Division 1 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ. One of the announcers was Lewis Bloom, with whom you may be familiar from the NHRA broadcasts on ESPN2. I told Lewis how much I enjoyed his insightful analysis and statistics, and it got me to thinking about how I’ve used similar historical analysis in my own racing. This is a great time to have this discussion, now that the past season is behind us and we’ve started planning for the new one.

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Racing Into Fall
This is a reprint of my Bracket Racing 101 column from Drag Racer Magazine (click HERE to subscribe). Now that we're into the Autumn months it seemed like a good time to run it here...
Bracket racing constantly changes from season to season. Cars and drivers perform differently in Summer and Fall. Now that we’re getting into the Autumn months, let’s take a look at some of the ways to adjust for racing in the Fall.

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Take Action For Reaction, Pt. 2 Take Action For Reaction, Pt. I Just The Basics
This is a reprint of my Bracket Racing 101 column from Drag Racer Magazine (click HERE to subscribe). We're all working on cutting good lights, it seemed like a good time to run it here... This is a reprint of my Bracket Racing 101 column from Drag Racer Magazine (click HERE to subscribe). We're all working on cutting good lights, it seemed like a good time to run it here... This is a reprint of my Bracket Racing 101 column from Drag Racer Magazine (click HERE to subscribe). Being that it's currently mid-winter and the topic of the column was basic off-season maintenance, it seemed like a good time to run it here...
In my last column, where I discussed how reaction time is comprised of driver reaction time and vehicle reaction time, I took a closer look at the former. I also described how you, by using a practice tree, could determine your own driver reaction time. In this column I’ll take a closer look at vehicle reaction time. Although this can be applied to any drag racing application, it’s most relevant to Pro tree or bottom-bulb Sportsman tree racing where the vehicle does not use a delay box.

Article continues HERE...

In my last column, I discussed the importance of periodically inspecting various components on your racecar such as suspension. In addition to the safety aspect, I mentioned the fact that loose suspension components can rob your car of reaction time. Now that Spring is approaching and a new racing season is upon us, I thought it might be timely to delve deeper into reaction time. Having a better understanding will be helpful as racing gets under way.

Article continues HERE...

As you’re reading this it’s the winter leading up to the 2011 season. This is when some basic maintenance can pay big dividends to your bracket program. In my last column, one of the main points I discussed was the importance of consistency and parts longevity as being part of a successful bracket car: consistency because it goes hand-in-hand with predictability, a primary factor in winning races, and longevity because broken race cars are not typically effective tools for going rounds.

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