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Michael Beard's Guide to Bracket Racing


Bracket Racing is also known as E.T. racing, or Handicap racing. That doesn't mean that you have to be handicapped as a racer, though. The best weapon you have at your disposal to use in order to become competitive is knowledge. Take nothing for granted, learn everything.

Listen to what everyone has to say, and then decide for yourself what advice is worthwhile. Even if what another driver has to say is total trash: listen. You should then figure out what is wrong with what he was saying and discover what is right. I expect you to use this guide to Bracket Racing in that way. I will attempt to cover everything that I know, a little at a time. I don't know everything, so if you know something that you'd like to share with the rest of the racing community, let me know.

Every part of the track is important. I don't mean just the track itself, either. You should know what goes on in the tower, the pits, and most importantly, in your own mind. Psychology is a huge part of racing. Knowing the track, yourself, and your opponents is an advantage you cannot pass up. If you are new to the sport of bracket racing, you can get the idea by reading my Introduction to Bracket Racing.

On the track, there are only two places that really count: the starting line and the finish line. For the starting line, check out the The Reaction Time Clinic. The clinic includes a look at the starting line and Christmas Tree components, rollout, and how they combine with the car and driver to come up with the reaction time you see on your time slip.

The finish line is a tough thing to talk about, since it is largely a matter of driving by the seat of the pants, along with trial and (lots of) error. Nonetheless, Top End Tactics covers the little bit of science involved. Track position, reaction times, ET's and dial-ins all affect top end racing. We are lucky enough to have a guest writer to cover ET Predictors and weather stations: Fred Bartoli of Altronics. (Thanks, Fred!) I do have my own opinions on weather stations, too.

There is a lot of work to be done in the pits in-between rounds that can be taken for granted. Fuel, tire pressure, engine cool-down, logbook records, practice trees, delay boxes, and more. Mental preparation is important as well. To delve into your own thoughts, check out the Psychology of Drag Racing, a series of papers I wrote for my Educational Psychology class as a Sophomore.

I hope you find this Guide to Bracket Racing both enjoyable and informative. Good luck at the track!

Copyright 1996-1999 Michael G. Beard

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