Beard on Weather Stations
Disclaimer: While based on facts about drag racing, this page contains the personal views and opinions of one racer - Michael Beard
If you're serious about bracket racing, you want every advantage you can get in order to win. An obviously crucial part of this is being able to guess what your car is going to run from round to round. Predicting your car's ET becomes easier with engine and chassis modifications, but there are also some simple tools you can use to help figure out a dial-in. Among these are weather stations.
A weather station need not be a $300 piece of advanced technological equipment (although it can be). Personally, I bought a set of weather gauges at a department store for around $15. The setup includes Temperature, Barometer, and Humidity gauges, which are the most important factors in determining how your car will run.
In short, heat slows you down, humidity slows you down, and dense air pressure helps speed you up. After a year of record keeping with the gauges, I have come up with the following simple rule that works for my car:
Temp goes up 3 degrees, ET slows .01 seconds
Barometer goes down .01-.02, ET slows .01 seconds
Humidity goes up 5%, ET slows .01 seconds
With this system, I can usually 'dial my car off the trailer', meaning I can predict the car's first run of the day within .03 seconds just based upon the weather gauges. I'd say that is not bad for not having computer equipment involved in the approximation process!
There are two more tools available for racers:, weather computers/ET predictors, and air density gauges. Air density gauges combine the three basic attributes of air we descibed earlier. With all of these togther, we can calculate the adjusted altitude. This is altitude that the air acts like as opposed to what it actually is. Since air is denser near sea-level, cars will run faster there. On the other hand, cars at Bandimere Speedway in Colorado will run about .6 seconds slower there than at sea-level because the track is located at close to 6000 feet about sea-level. The adjusted altitude is the true measure of how the air is acting, and thus how your car will perform. ET Predictors are weather computers that use this information to predict a dial-in for you based on a baseline performance you give it.
Copyright © 1996-1999 Michael G. Beard
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