Today I’d like to discuss your first attempt at drag racing your car. Hopefully you’ve spent at least a few trips to the dragstrip as a spectator. That way you can familiarize yourself with your home tracks layout. Where the various classes line up to race, which is called the staging lanes.
There are different lanes for each category (class) of cars that are running. Typical lanes at most tracks are segregated by speed potential of the respective cars in the different classes. Fast cars run with fast cars, street cars run with other street cars etc. Its OK to ask someone else in line ” Am I in the right lane” most racers are very nice. Besides everybody was a “rookie” at one time or other.
Ideally your first trip to the staging lanes will be on an off night. tracks typically have “Test and Tune night”. Usually on a Wednesday or a Friday night. You’ll be able to get more time on the track (more passes) than you would on a weekend day or night. Which is when most tracks run their bracket racing program or other large racing events. The tech lines (car inspection) will be shorter, and track personnel will not be as busy. So they won’t be as rushed and may be more tolerant of a newcomers questions.
Regarding tech inspections, be sure your car is up to date with motor vehicle inspections in your state. Don’t try to sneak by the inspector with items like cracked windshields, missing lug nuts, frayed seatbelts and other obvious safety hazards. Dragracing can be a very dangerous sport and the inspectors job is to make sure that everyone has as safe a vehicle as possible. So if you fail tech, don’t give the inspector a hard time. He’s only trying to save your life, and the other guys too.
Make a note of any items you are told need attention, and be sure to have them fixed before you return to the track next time. The life you save may be your own! The best racing tip I can give you for this lesson is to buy an NHRA rule book! Its chock full of useful information regarding the inner workings of drag racing, and the safety equipment your car will be expected to have on it.
Also at this time be sure to check out on track features. Such as where the cars heat up their tires (burnout box), Where the actual starting line is located, there’s nothing more embarassing than watching someone stage the car with the BACK wheels on the starting line. Let’s not be THAT guy! Ask another racer about the turn off for the return road, is it to the left or the right. If you are in the opposite lane from the return road “NEVER CUT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER RACER” let them pass you by BEFORE crossing over! Where do I pick up my timeslip, and any other thing regarding your local track layout.