(picture courtesy of Mustang Geezer)
While we will include all types of racing in this section, at this time it primarily pertains to drag racing. However, with your assistance, we hope to add more content on all types of racing. So if you have an idea that would be useful to your fellow inline enthusiast, please e-mail your suggestions to us. We certainly could use some help.
A list of the information you can find on our site.
Here's an article written by the NHRA, which does a good job describing the what legal drag racing is all about. Join in and have some fun with your fellow inliners.
By far the most popular form of drag racing is a handicapped form of competition known as "E.T. Bracket Racing." Read this article, written by the NHRA.
Not sure which class you should race in? We've compiled a list of classes that our inline sixes should be competitive in, and the basic times you need to run.
Not sure what to bring, how long to stay, or what to do when you get there. Or how to get into the pits to check out the cars and drivers. Article by the NHRA.
Step by step instructions on how to make your first pass. Also read the articles on Track Etiquette and Race Terms.
A few simple rules of track etiquette that you need to observe to make sure that you, and everyone around you has a safe and fun time at the track.
Before you take your car to the track, you should get acquainted with the process in advance. Visit the track before hand, maybe as a spectator first.
Interested in Drag Racing but don't understand the rules. Here's a list of drag racing terms and definitions that may help. You can post questions on our forum too.
Don't know where to go? Check our list of tracks which includes all the drag strips in the USA, and a few from around the world. Listed alphabetically by state.
Want to see how your fellow inline racers are doing, visit the "Inline Times". You can also submit a photo of your car and your best times, via e-mail
Visit "Inlines in Action", our photo gallery of inlines at the track. If you have a few photos we can add to the gallery, please submit them via e-mail
A drag race is an acceleration contest from a standing start between two vehicles over a measured distance. The accepted standard for that distance is either a quarter-mile (1,320 feet) or an eighth-mile (660 feet). A drag racing event is a series of such two-vehicle, tournament-style eliminations. The losing driver in each race is eliminated, and the winning drivers progress until one driver remains.
These contests are started by means of an electronic device commonly called a Christmas Tree because of its multicolored starting lights. On each side of the Tree are seven lights: two small amber lights at the top of the fixture, followed in descending order by three larger LED lights, a green bulb, and a red bulb.
Two light beams cross the starting-line area and connect to trackside photocells, which are wired to the Christmas Tree and electronic timers in the control tower. When the front tires of a vehicle break the first light beam, called the prestage beam, the pre-stage light on the Christmas Tree indicates that the racer is approximately seven inches from the starting line.
When the racer rolls forward into the stage beam, the front tires are positioned exactly on the starting line and the stage bulb is lit on the Tree, which indicates that the vehicle is ready to race. When both vehicles are fully staged, the starter will activate the Tree, and each driver will focus on the three large amber lights on his or her side of the Tree.
Depending on the type of racing, all three large amber lights will flash simultaneously, followed four-tenths of a second later by the green light (called a Pro Tree), or the three bulbs will flash consecutively five-tenths of a second apart, followed five-tenths later by the green light (called a Sportsman, or full, Tree).
Two Separate performances are monitored for each run: elapsed time and speed. Upon leaving the staging beams, each vehicle activates an elapsed-time clock, which is stopped when that vehicle reaches the finish line. The start-to-finish clocking is the vehicle's elapsed time (e.t.), which serves to measure performance. Speed is measured in a 66-foot "speed trap" that ends at the finish line. Each lane is timed independently.
The first vehicle across the finish line wins, unless, in applicable categories, it runs quicker than its dial-in or index. A racer also may be disqualified for leaving the starting line too soon, leaving the lane boundary (either by crossing the centerline, touching the guard wall or guardrail, or striking a track fixture such as the photocells), failing to stage, or failing a post-run inspection (in NHRA class racing, vehicles usually are weighed and their fuel checked after each run, and a complete engine teardown is done after an event victory).
Confused, or maybe you just don't understand everything that was said, well don't feel alone, it takes a while to catch on to all of it. Here's a list of racing terms and definitions, which may help. You can also visit our forum, where you can post questions, or read answer to questions posted by other members. You can also find fellow inline racers in your area and set up meetings with them. Its a great way to make new friends.
Have fun and drive safely. Save racing for the strip, where it's safe and legal. Street racing is dangerous and takes lives, however it's not normally limited to those racing.
Come Early, Stay Late, and Be Prepared (copied from the NHRA website)
The NHRA POWERade Series tour passes through 20 cities in all regions of the United States, bringing its excitement to millions each year. The events are spectacles of color and speed, chrome and flash, and ingenuity and engineering.
Though the track in Seattle measures the same 1,320 feet as the one in Gainesville, Fla., each venue differs. Here, you'll learn what to expect when you head out for a weekend at the drags.
Unlike a typical three-hour football game or two-hour concert, NHRA drag racing is an all-day affair. The best advice for fans might well be the same advice given to the teams you're coming to watch: Come early, stay late, and be prepared.
As you would for a ball game or a rock concert, plan ahead, beginning with your tickets. Don Kraushar, NHRA vice president of national-event business, recommends that fans buy their tickets in advance, either at the racetrack box office, by phone, online at NHRA.com, or through Ticket Master. Buying ahead gives you a better choice of reserved seats.
What to bring: a hat, sunglasses, earplugs, and a blanket (to sit on or bundle up with during the awesome spectacle of night qualifying).
Okay, you've got your tickets and your car is loaded with the essentials - now what? Race-day attendance totals often exceed 40,000, so it's a good idea not to plan your arrival to coincide with the firing of the first pair. Believe it or not, the parking lots are full of latecomers streaming toward the main gate even as the first round gets under way. The first round of Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock comprises 24 heats: the remainder of eliminations consists of 21. Miss the first round, and you've missed half the show.
At the end of the day, don't make a headlong rush for the gates the instant the last nitro car runs. When the rest of the herd heads for parking lot, it's a great chance to hit the pits, where the teams are relaxing after a long day and likely to be more than accommodating.
Everyone knows that the action on Sunday determines who wins and who loses, but if you attend only the final day, you'll miss the spectacle and variety of qualifying. At most events, Friday and Saturday afford two qualifying shots per day, and most feature a Friday night session that transforms fuel-car racing into an ethereal sight.
Qualifying is your chance to see all of the cars run, not just the quickest 16. You'll get to see some of the local cars that run only once or twice a year and are rarely quick enough to make the show. Saturday, you'll witness the high drama of final qualifying, where drivers have a last chance to fight their way into or are bumped from the field.
Track and weather conditions can change from session to session and affect performance, so to get a better idea of how the players rate, compare runs made within a single session, not across sessions.
When eliminations begin, try for a little diversity. Watch the Sportsman competition, where the racing is often close and wins and losses are not always decided by horsepower but by driver reflexes and downtrack strategy. If you're new to breakout racing, listen to the announcers. They often go into great detail to explain how and why a driver won or lost a race.
Try watching the races from different spots in the stands. Seeing a race unfold from a finish-line vantage point is a world apart from watching it from the starting line. The difference in the sights and sounds will amaze you.
Drag racing is unique among motor sports because fans have direct access to the teams, watching from as close as five or 10 feet as the highly skilled mechanics "twirl the iron."
Hot tip: Some of the most frantic action takes place in the first 30 minutes after a car returns to the pits. If you want a front-row seat to watch the teams at their best, head for the pits a little early. If there's a major engine meltdown on the track and you don't mind missing the rest of the action, you probably won't have to fight for elbow room. The lack of crowds also provides a good chance to snag some autographs at other pit areas.
If you want to get a real feel for the power of a fuel-burning engine, hang out until a team test-fires its engine, generally 45 minutes to an hour before it expects to run. (For run times, see your event schedule.) You'll get a genuine thrill whenever the driver blips the throttle.
You shouldn't restrict your pit-area adventures to the Pro classes. Cruise the Sportsman pits. The drivers in those classes are more likely to have time to answer your questions. Often, you'll see the same kind of frantic pit-area thrashes that you witness in the Pro pits: Super Stock teams changing transmissions, Comp crews swapping engines, and alcohol drivers warming their machines.
Every drag strip and every drag race is different. Take the time to scout the track layout, talk to other fans who have attended the race before, and listen to the buzz in the pits. You may well discover your own secrets for taking in an NHRA national event.
By far the most popular form of drag racing is a handicapped form of competition known as "E.T. Bracket Racing." In this form of racing, two vehicles of varying performance potentials can race on a potentially even basis. The anticipated elapsed times for each vehicle are compared, with the slower car receiving a head start equal to the difference of the two. With this system, virtually any two vehicles can be paired in a competitive drag race.
For Example: Car A has ben timed a 17.78, 17.74, and 17.76 seconds for the quarter-mile, and the driver feels that a "dial-in" of 17.75 is appropriate. Meanwhile, the driver of car B has recorded elapsed times of 15.27, 15.22 and 15.26 on the same track and he has opted for a "dial-in" of 15.25. Accordingly, car A will get a 2.5-second head start over car B when the "Christmas Tree" counts down to each car's starting green lights.
If both vehicles cover the quarter-mile in exactly the predetermined elapsed time, the win will go to the driver who reacts quickest to the starting signal. That reaction to the starting signal is called "reaction time." Both lanes are timed independently of one another, and the clock does not start until the vehicle actually moves. Because of this, a vehicle may sometimes appear to have a mathematical advantage in comparative elapsed times but actually lose the race. This fact makes starting line reflexes extremely important in drag racing!
Most people who want to start drag-racing, do so because it looks like fun, they want to see just how fast their car is, or because it's a way to go fast in a much safer environment than street racing. Those are all great reasons.
Taking into consideration all of the various forms of auto racing available today, drag racing is perhaps the easiest and most cost effective motor sport to enter. Many drag strips across the country have dedicated nights or full events for novice racers. For those tracks that don't, they usually have classes that run along side their traditional eliminator categories and they are designed to give the novice racer a chance to experience the thrills of drag racing.
Before you take your car to the track, you should get acquainted with the process in advance by visiting the track first. Then do a few simple things to make sure your car is safe to run.
When you take a look at your car, remember that It doesn't have to be some megabuck chrome-molly tube-framed track-killer to make it enjoyable. All you need is a safe and dependable car. With this in mind, check all of your fluid levels, tires and tire pressures, brakes, the drive-train and the cooling system. Most tracks require basic safety equipment including seat belts, good tires, a working hand/parking brake and 4 wheel service brakes. If your car passes your state safety inspection it will usually pass a track's safety requirements.
Next, get the latest safety information and track rules. Check with the track you are planning to run at. They will have rule books or handouts detailing the requirements for each of their classes. Most tracks post this information on their website's too!
The next thing to do is to acquaint yourself with the tracks layout. Find out where the tech area is located, ask what the procedures are for entering the staging lanes and so on. We suggest that you learn some of these by watching as a spectator for a week or two before you take your car to the track.
As a spectator, get a pit pass and watch everything from how the cars are inspected to how they are stage at the starting line. Also, watch how they perform a burnout, and which cars do or don't use this procedure. Also spend some time walking through the pit area. Watch what people do to prepare their cars for a run. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Everyone out there was a novice at one time and most are willing to share their experiences.
There are other ways to learn the about basics of drag-racing. Check out your local library, they usually have a section containing all sorts of books, magazines or videos. NHRA also has a booklet designed for first time racers. The booklet is titled the "Basics of Bracket Racing," and can be found at most NHRA tracks.
Like anything else, If you have an bad day at the track forget about it, evaluate your performance and determine how to improve next time. It's not just you, everyone has a bad day. Don't get discouraged when thing go wrong. Relax, walk away and approach it calmly. This will help you enjoy future excursions to the drag strip even more.
If possible, call a few buddies, and go to watch the first time. The spectators entrance is off of Jomax Road (click HERE
for directions). Check out the "lay of the land". Ask the racers in the pits how everything works. Remember, everyone there is a car nut just like you, and everyone there was a "first-timer" once themselves. Every time I go, I get asked questions by new guys!
When you decide you are ready to give it a try, go to the Happy Valley Road entrance. They will charge you $20 (prices vary depending on event) for the car & driver, plus $10 extra for each spectator you bring. You will be given a tech card.
When tech inspection opens (usually 10-15 minutes after the gate opens) go to the tech area. If you are taking your street car, and it is not a death trap, you will pass tech. Some obvious things you need: seatbelts, safe tires (no cord showing), all lug nuts, radiator coolant overflow catch canister (the factory one is fine), no blatant fluid leaks pouring out, etc! Your battery must be firmly attached to the body of the car (doesn't move when it is pushed on). Also, shorts and tank tops are not allowed! You MUST were long pants while racing! All the officials look for this, so don't try to sneak it by them. This is about it for a street car. If your car runs faster than 13.99, you will need a DOT approved helmet. If you run faster than 11.99, then the entire game changes. However, if your running that well, I'll bet you've been to the track at least a time or two....The tech inspector will write your cars number on the window where it is visible by the timing tower. If staging lanes are not open, then return to your pit.
The track announcer will come over the PA system, and say that the staging lanes are open. Listen carefully, as some of the larger tracks have many lanes (Speedworld has 9), and they may have cars of different classes report to different lanes. Classes you may want to run in: Test-N-Tune, Street Trophy. The staging lanes go slowly, then quickly, so stay with your car! Also, do NOT run your air conditioner. The condensation on the system will drip down onto the track. This will lead the track operator to believe that there is something wrong with your vehicle. BELIEVE ME, they look for this, and if they see something dripping, then will pull you off the starting line. When they check the liquid on the ground, and see it is plain water, they will chew your butt, and send you to the back of the staging lane.
At the end of the staging lanes, there will be a track official. Watch carefully, and when it is time, he will point at you, and then point where he wants you to go. His job is to pair up cars to race, then put them into correct lanes, and also make sure that your seat belt is on, all windows are rolled up. If it is near sundown, turn on your parking lights. Having at least one working tail-light is a required rule at all tracks. This is how the officials can see where you are on the track. This is so they don't send another pair of cars down the track while you are broke down at the other end. By the way, most tracks make a effort to keep near stock street cars from running sub-10 second race cars. The faster cars will be in the Pro Street and Gambler classes.
Since this is for beginners, I will assume you are on street tires. Do NOT drive through the water box! Your treaded tires will just pick up water in the treads, and when you do your burnout, it will sling water all over inside the wheel well. You will then track the water all the way down the track, and water will be dripping down onto your rear tires, making them very slick! If you do this, you make the track dangerous for everyone, and you may be asked to leave if you do it again. The water is for slicks, not treaded tires. Drive around the water box, then get your car centered in the lane. Back up slightly if needed. There will be another track official to guide you. For street tires, a long burnout is not necessary. Street compounds are hard, and high performance tires are specifically designed to not heat up. Clean off your tires and warm them up with a quick, short burnout.
Do not pull up to the tree (the pole with the lights on it)! Every beginner does this. The staging beams are actually about 40 feet or so before the tree! Hopefully, you took my advise and watched the other cars run first, and looked to get an idea where everyone else was pulling up to. If you cant figure it out, don't worry, the starter knows it is "street night", and will help you. When he realizes you cant find the staging beams, watch him. He will walk up next to your car, and motion to you to either pull up, or back. Again, don't get embarrassed, or upset. The starter has to do that several times a night. Slowly pull forward until you see the very top, small yellow light come on. You are now "Pre-Staged". It is considered a racers courtesy to wait for the other car to pre-stage, before staging. Then gently roll forward a few more inches, and the other small yellow light right under the top one will come on. You are now "Staged". Do not roll forward too far, or the "Pre-Staged" light will go out, and you may be required to pull back, to re-light that light. That is called "deep staging", and is usually not recommended unless you are driving your Mother's Yugo. If you do accidentally pull forward too far, and deep stage, do NOT pull back until instructed to do so by the starter. He may just start the tree anyway, and you would be sitting there in reverse! Now, watch the bottom, large yellow light (Not the green or you will be caught sleepin'!)!
The starter will activate the tree, and the yellow lights will come on, one at a time .5 seconds apart. When the last yellow light comes on, GO! By the time you react, then your car reacts, the green light will be on. Trust me. If you red light, it is no big deal. Afterward, check your reaction time, and adjust. At Speedworld, a .500 is a perfect light on a standard tree. The pros use a tree where all the yellows come on at once, then green.
If you only take one piece of advice from me, please let it be this: Do NOT try to set a national record on your first time out. If this is your first time at the track, PLEASE make at least one pass where you are only running at 80%. This will give you a chance to see what the track feels like, what your car feels like, where the finish line is exactly, where the turn off is exactly. Your senses get overwhelmed when trying something like this the first time. A mistake you would have caught easily any other time can cause you to wreck your car. I've seen excellent drivers wreck great cars from a simple mistake that would have never caught them otherwise. It can happen to you too. This is the most fun you can have with your clothes on, but it is serious stuff too. Treat it that way. Stay in your lane at all costs.
Make sure you know exactly where the finish line is! Most new racers brake way too early...the speed trap beams are located 66' BEFORE the finish line beams. Make sure you are not mistaking the speed trap for the finish line!
Hopefully, you took my advice, and made your first pass at 80%, so you don't have to worry about figuring out this next section while running flat out....Most tracks have plenty of run out area. Speedworld has something like 1/2 mile of run out area! However, other tracks like North Texas Dragway, as soon as you pass the finish line, you need to get on the brakes. When running the quarter mile, you will be running close to 100 mph at the finish line. If you slam on the brakes at those speeds, it is VERY easy to upset the chassis of the car and loose control, so be careful to not brake too hard.
READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY!!!
Before you run, know where the turn off roads are located. Speedworld has 2 turn offs, with one of them located at the very end of the run out area. The turn offs go to the left side of the track and the car in the LEFT lane has the Right Of Way. NEVER, EVER turn in front of another car, crossing their lane!!!! If you are running against a REAL slow car, I will drive all the way to the last turn off, as my only other option would be to sit in my lane and wait for them to finally arrive. I don't like sitting in the middle of my lane on a race track. On another track, several years ago, a street car was running a low 10 second car. The fast car had problems at the starting line, and the street car won. However, the quick car was now on the way. The street car turned in front of the 10 second car which had just cleared the traps at 128mph. A STUPID mistake that can get you and someone else killed! I also saw a kid in a Honda actually miss the first turn off, make a U Turn on the track, and come back to it. I flagged him down on the return road, and let him know that there was another turn off at the end of the track. The officials were also waiting for him at the end of the return road....
After you turn off, look for the timing shack, where you can pick up your time slips. It is located on the left side of the return road, across from the Tech entrance. When they hand you your time slip, DO NOT READ IT YET! Wait until you are back to your pit to do that, for right now, you need to get out of the way! Continue back up the return road (the posted speed limit is 10 mph in the pits). If you want the seasoned people to look down on you, then go roaring around in the pit area. That is also a sure fire way to get asked to leave.
CONGRATULATIONS! You just made your first pass down a drag strip! I assure you that you will be hooked after just one time! There is nothing like it...
Here are a few simple rules of Etiquette that you need to observe to make sure that you, and everyone around you has a safe and fun time at the track.
Make sure your entry numbers and dial-in (when applicable) are visible from the tower. Most Tech inspectors will put the entry number on the car for you, but if they don't, make sure it is clearly marked and large enough to see from the tower. (3"-4" Tall)
When you get ready to race make sure you get in the right staging lane. This will keep you from running in the wrong class. (racing a junior dragster with your T-Bird). If you aren't sure ASK.
Once you are in the staging lanes, stay with your car. When it's time for the cars in your staging lanes to race, the official at the front of the lanes will direct you. It is very, important to pay attention and watch the track officials at all times for directions.
After you have been paired up and you pull up to the timing tower, watch the official at the water box. He/she will check to make sure your windows are rolled up, seatbelts are on, and if it is after dark, that your parking lights are on.
Don't enter the burnout area until you are instructed to do so by a track official. Entering the burnout area before you are instructed to, can get you removed or even banned from the track.
Don't start your burnout until directed to by the official. He/she usually gives you some sort of hand signal to let you know you can begin. Make sure your vehicle is on the pad and facing straight ahead.
Don't do a Top Fuel-style burnout (spinning the tires through the starting line and down the track) This can also get you removed or banned from the track.
As a general rule, the first car into the staging beams should light only the pre-stage light. When the second car is pre-staged, then either vehicle can move forward into the staging lights. Lighting both staging lights before your opponent pre-stages is just bad manors and is considered pushy and rude.
When the light turns green, stay in your lane at all costs.
At the completion of your run if you are in the right lane, and the track turn off' lane’s are on the left side of the track, the car in the left lane has the right of way. If the turns off lanes are on the right side, you have the right of way. Don't EVER turn in front of another car! If you do, you could be turning in front of a car that is still under power. How would you like getting hit by someone running 125 miles per hour? (Nothing More to say...)
At the end of your run exit as quickly as you can safely. Proceed up the return road, and stop at the timing shack and pick up your time slip. Wait until you get back to your pit stall to read it. There are a lot of people walking around. Drive carefully and go slow!
Please drive safely.
Don't street race, take it to the track, where it's safe and legal.
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