Ok so you passed tech inspection, the cars tuned up, you got your helmet ready. You do have a helmet right? Even though some street car classes don’t require a helmet. Remember automobile dragracing’s a dangerous sport, and you’ll be driving well in excess of the national speed limit(hopefully). Besides a helmet is what they call CHEAP INSURANCE!They don’t call em BRAIN BUCKETS for nothing.
Besides how are you gonna count all that prize money when all you can say is “PUDDING”. Now you could go and borrow one from a buddy (if you must), but a helmet should be properly fitted to the wearers head. IE… “TOO BIG = TOO BAD”. My best racing tip for this lesson is BUY A HELMET!
So you’ve managed to find the right staging lane for your particular car (see that was’nt so hard). To keep the engine as cool as possible a lot of racers enlist the help of a friend or 2 to push the car through the staging lanes. If we were going for maximum speed and minimum ET that would be OK. But for your first pass lets just try to make it all the way down the track (in one piece) without hurting ourselves or the other guy. Or looking completely foolish in the process. Remember A/C off now, we don’t want to be dripping water all over the racing surface (very slippery).
Now we’re first in line, next to run (adrenaline really pumping now buddy). Take a deep breath and relax, this is supposed to be FUN remember. Time to make sure your windows are closed, seatbelt is fastened, helmet is secured to the old melon (check).
When the man gives you the signal to move forward, approach the burnout box. Now if your car is running REGULAR treaded passenger car tires, I would suggest you bypass (drive around) the water. If you’ve spent any time watching from the starting line, I’m sure you’ve seen some other racers do this. If your running slicks or other sticky drag racing type tires (drag radials, M/T ET Streets, what I run on my Mustang 5.0 LX). Pull into and through the water, watch for the track guys signal to stop in the right spot, in front of the water. Thats his job!
After the pair of cars in front of you leave the starting line, you’ll be given the signal to start your burnout. Burnout procedures vary depending on your car and its equipment. If your car has a LINE LOCK, (solenoid that locks front brakes only) pump your brakes 2 or 3 times. Press and hold brake pedal down, depress line lock button, release brake pedal. Most burnouts are performed in 2nd gear to avoid overrevving your engine, and scattering its innards all over the ground. (VERY BAD)
Gradually increase the RPMS to about 4000 and hold for a count of 3. Release the line lock button and at the same time slowly allow your engine RPM to fall as your car moves forward. Don’t smoke out the entire grandstands like your John Force or somebody. You want your car to live to race another day don’t you? Here’s where almost everybody seems to want to do a dry hop (chirp their tires). My advice (DON’T DO IT)!
Your tires are now perfect for the starting line, dry hopping only serves to remove that nice layer of sticky rubber you just worked so hard to get. If you don’t have a line lock and want to race with sticky tires(GET ONE). Very inexpensive compared to the automatic transmission or clutch you’re going to ruin. Not to mention the back brakes by power braking your car. I know you can let the clutch fly and then step on the brakes lightly to keep the car from rolling too fast. But this method EATS UP parts in the long run.