There are no prerequisites. Drag racing is a sport in which any licenced motorist can compete. Children as young as eight compete in Junior Drag League events, while others as old as ninety race at small tracks across the country in weekly programmes. With each race, your driving talents increase. While a driver learns the qualities of a vehicle, its complete performance capabilities are tested.
The HMP Dragstrip is a 50-foot-long strip with precisely flat laser-laid specially prepared concrete to endure the wear and tear of spinning tyres. From the starting area until the end of the shutdown area, concrete safety walls line both sides of the racing track.
The Tree of Life
The start of a drag race is signalled by a device known as a “Christmas Tree,” which stands 42 feet ahead of the starting line. The drivers are notified to stage their vehicles as they near the starting line and begin the race by seeing the coloured lamps light up in sequence.
At the top of either side of the “tree,” two small yellow bulbs indicate that the vehicle is approaching the starting line. The first bulb illuminates when the car is nearly on the line, or “pre-staged,” and the second bulb illuminates as the vehicle advances to a “staged” position on the line.
On each side of the “tree,” there are three larger amber coloured bulbs, followed by a green bulb, and finally a red bulb. The “tree” is triggered after both vehicles are staged, and the first amber coloured lamps on both sides of the tree light up. The next amber bulb lights up 12 seconds later, while the first amber bulb goes out. The last amber bulb turns on 12 seconds later. After a half-second, the green bulb illuminates, indicating the drivers to begin the race.
The red bulb will light up instead of the green bulb if any car exits the starting line before the green bulb lights up. This signifies a bad start for that vehicle, resulting in an automatic win for the opposing driver.
While both vehicles may leave at the same time when the green light becomes green, a driver’s reaction time from the moment the green light turns green will play a role in the race. If one vehicle stays on the starting line after the green light turns on, the other vehicle gains an advantage, allowing the slower vehicle to win the race.
More Information on Reaction Times
Keep in mind that the tree counts down at.500 second intervals (five tenths). The declared reaction time is the time it took the car to move from the starting line in comparison to the last amber bulb lighting up.
A reaction time of.543 indicates that the car exited the line exactly.043 seconds after the green came on (.500 seconds after the last amber plus.043 =.543). With a reaction time of.410, the vehicle was on the road for.090 seconds before the green bulb ignited, activating the red light instead…a bad start. .500 seconds is the optimal reaction time. A reaction time of more than.6 seconds is regarded minor, while a reaction time of more than.6 seconds is considered excessive. 7 is a sluggish number.
The finish line determines the winner because all of the racers leave the starting line together. During the race, a system of infrared lasers spanning each lane measure incremental times as well as top speed.
The elapsed time, or E.T., of the race for each lane is recorded and announced, followed by the peak speed for each vehicle. The clock begins when the vehicle crosses the finish line, not when the green light turns on. The reaction time is used to illustrate how long a vehicle waited to leave, whereas the E.T. is used to show how long the race lasted. When you add these numbers together as a “package,” you’ll always get the mathematical winner.
On finish line scoreboards, the E.T. is displayed in seconds, tenths, and hundredths. The vehicle’s top speed is displayed in whole numbers, then tenths and hundredths. For example, at 88.31, E.T. = 9.43 (seconds) (miles per hour).
The Final Mile
The driver takes off the gas and slowly applies the brakes in the shutdown area while keeping in his own lane after crossing the finish line. Skidding should be avoided by drivers. The vehicle in the left lane exits first, followed by the driver in the right lane. Both vehicles will be able to exit safely as a result of this. There should never be a driver who turns around on the course since another pair of vehicles may be waiting to start the next race.
The Road Back
The vehicles use the return route to return to their pit area after exiting the track. Racers can stop at a point called “Time Slips” along the return route, where a track official will deliver them a printed slip with their times. The speed limit on the return road is 5 mph.