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Drag Race Street Car

Street Racing Car / September 9, 2018

Image titled Race Your Car at the Dragstrip Step 1If you are new at this, it's best to go on a day or night when the track is hosting a "street-legal drags" type of event, where all street-legal cars are welcome regardless of engine size, tire type, etc.

Ask your local dragstrip if they hold events to race your street-legal car just for fun. Ask about the admission price, any additional charges (tech card, parking, etc.) and also if they give out time-slips after races. They often do, but, during some events your time will be displayed on the board only, with no time-slip. In this case, have a friend stand near the track to record your time and speed after each run if you really want to know it. If you've never been to a dragstrip before, ask if they have a website providing a layout of their facility to familiarize yourself with the individual areas of the track. If not, ask for a map once you arrive.

Get your car ready to race. Inspect, change, or top off all oils and fluids. Check your brakes, steering, and suspension for wear and repair if needed. If you have a nitrous system, have your bottle filled. Though, most tracks sell nitrous and fuel, but expect to pay more. Put the tires you will race with on your car (or bring your race-only tires separately) with the proper air pressure. Don't top-off your fuel tank, as it makes your car heavier than necessary. Ideally, you want to race a streetcar with a 1/4 tank or less, depending on the vehicle and tank size.Image titled Race Your Car at the Dragstrip Step 2 Do not run out of fuel completely. Once you feel your vehicle is ready to begin racing, drive to the track.

Once at the track, pay, park and signup. Usually, they'll provide paperwork to sign and an armband or something to indicate that you're authorized to race. Go back to your car and move to the staging lanes if racing has begun.

If you've never raced before, examine the layout you obtained and see where the staging lanes are. These are located at the beginning of the dragstrip, and clearly marked with painted lane stripes and numbers. Ask a track attendant for help if you can't find them. Follow all directions from track attendants carefully to avoid a collision, and remember top speed is 10 mph (16 km/h) in this area at most tracks. A track attendant will come alongside your car to ensure you've registered, and you may or may not get a number on your car window. Now, mentally prepare to go racing, and make sure your car is set up to do so also.Image titled Race Your Car at the Dragstrip Step 3 You may wait a while in the lanes, so while it's OK to get out and chat with other racers, stay near your vehicle so you can move it forward at any time. Ask other racers questions, as with few exceptions, they'll be willing to provide advice.

Near the end of the staging lanes, watch other cars from your lane and see where they pull up to. Some will drive through the "water box" (wet area for doing burnouts), others will drive around it. If you have street tires, it's best to drive around it and proceed onto the dragstrip. With slicks, drive into it and wait for the signal to do your burnout. In either case, don't do anything until a crewman signals you that it's OK to proceed. Generally, one person will signal you to pull out of the staging lane onto the track, where another will wave you forward. Slowly drive around or into the water box, and continue to follow hand signals. If doing a burnout, wait for a crew member's signal.

Image titled Race Your Car at the Dragstrip Step 4 Now, pull up to the starting line and watch the "Christmas Tree" (display of lights at the beginning of the track, between the two lanes.) Each lane has it's own set of lights in order from top to bottom: 2 small bulbs at the very top of the tree (Pre-Stage), 2 identical small ones under that (Stage), 3 large amber bulbs, a green bulb, and a red bulb. Roll you car forward slowly until the first set of bulbs are lit (Pre-stage), this indicates your front tire are approximately seven inches from the starting line. Continue to creep forward until the second set of small bulbs are lit (Staged), then stop.

Depending on the tree, either all three amber bulbs will light at once followed 0.4 seconds later by the green (this is called a Pro-Tree), or the three amber bulbs will flash consecutively 0.5 seconds apart followed by the green coming on 0.5 seconds after the last amber (this is called a Sportsman or Full tree.) When you see the green light, GO! Keep racing until you reach the finish line, at which point you should begin to slow down and decide which turn-off you are going to take. If you have smoked your competitor, make sure you have his/her vehicle in sight before you turn don't want to hit him while turning because he was in your blind spot!

If the track is giving out time slips, there will be a shack on the return road where you can stop and your time will be given to you on a slip of paper. If it doesn't make any sense to you, ask another racer to explain it, but basically it shows your reaction time (R/T), time until your car reached the 1⁄8 mile (0.2 km) mark, your speed at that point, time until you car reached the 1⁄4 mile (0.4 km) mark, and again your speed at that point.

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