sltitle00.jpg (53619 bytes)

Use the drop-down menu above to get around The Staging Light


Building the perfect car and the perfect attitude

Disclaimer: While based on facts about drag racing, this page contains the personal views and opinions of one racer - Michael Beard

Focus. That is the key to winning. In bracket racing, if you truly have the desire to win, you must channel your energies in that direction. Over time, I have developed an attitude that I feel is necessary in order to win. What it all comes down to is perfecting yourself and your car. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Perfecting yourself as a driver is technically impossible, but it must remain the ultimate goal. Becoming a winning driver involves serious physical and mental training. Drag racing involves a lot of psychology, as well as physical reaction times and intuition used to judge opponents on top end.

Chip Dodson Building the perfect car is equally impossible, but is likewise a goal to strive toward. Perhaps the most difficult part in trying to attain that goal is giving up some of the "fun" for functionality. I have fallen into the trap. It took my team a long time to give up a quick ET/mph combination that was not conducive to equally quick and consistent reaction times. We finally moved 'backwards', and slowed the car, giving up half a second and 6 mph. We promptly won two races. Although we were slower, our combination was one that found harmony between the driver and the car. That harmony is the sound of winning.

So what does it take to build the perfect bracket car? Let's examine the most important aspects of ET racing perfection:

  • Reaction Times - Make the car work for you. To get consistent reaction times, your car must hook and leave the same way every time. This is an especially important point for delay box users, who will tend to try to compensate for a 'missed light' or an early one, which may have actually been caused by the car. For foot-brake racers, try to tune the car so that you can leave off the flash of the third amber. You'll find that if you set the car up right, leaving off the third can be almost as good and easy as having a delay box. My average reaction times are mid .520's off the foot brake - and I give much of the credit for them to my car.
  • Hook - As mentioned above, hook can make or break your r/t's, but it can also have a drastic effect on the consistency of your ET's. Go overkill on tires. Wide slicks will hook more consistently and you won't have to burn them so hard. Tire life translates into money saved. I'm certainly not the fastest in my class, but running 12.50's with a good working chassis has allowed me to run tiny 8.5x26" Mickey Thompson ET Drag slicks more than 430 runs a set. That's money in my pocket.
  • ET - 8's, 10's, 12's, 14's? Who's to say? ET's are a matter of driver strategy. Some like to chase, some to be chased. My personal recommendation is to shoot for the median ET for the class, such that you never have an abnormally large handicap in either direction. Driver versatility is essential.
  • MPH - Again, mph is a matter of a driver's taste. However, as has become vogue in the Sportsman "Super" class index class ranks, high mph can be your savior. A soft bottem end pull followed by a hard top end charge will accomplish both the high mph top end strategy as well as the easy-leaving characteristic that will help hook.

We're bracket racers. Kill them with consistency, not ET's.

Copyright 1996-1999 Michael G. Beard

Main Sections