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Drag Strip Timing.. what it means...

from the horses mouth so to speak..

Carl (The official timer at York) sent me this info and he has no objection to it being posted on Cliosport.

Excellent Stuff !

Joe.. (I have thanked him a lot for this, what a nice guy !)

To: <A href= "">U face=Arial color=#0000ff The Captain /U
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2002 11:00 AM
Subject: RE: advise please.

Well, in "proper" racing he reaction time, although not part of the run time is usually what wins the race.

The reaction time is the time between the last amber and the cars front wheels leaving the staging beams. There is .5 of a second between the last amber light (if using a sportsman tree - um, all lights count down one by one) and the green light - thus if you set off when you see the ambers you will get a better reaction time.
As the green comes on .5 of a second after the last amber, if you less than a .500 reaction time you are deemed to have jumped the lights (because you started moving before the green light was showing).

There are different types of racing :

"heads up" racing is where both drivers get a green light together. The first one to cross the finish line is the winner.
Now, imagine the 8 second car in the left hand lane is asleep on the line and the 12 second car cuts a .500 light (ie perfect). The 8 second car sets off and gets a 4.5 second reaction time. The 12 second car passes the finish line first and wins - yet the 8 second car is a faster car.
This type of racing is used for a lot of classes, but sometimes can be seen as unfair (fast car will usually beat slow car - and there is not so much "good driving" involved). This is the sort of racing you will be used to with RWYB, and the shootouts.
Reaction time is not important during qualification as it is not counted in the time.
Picture 2 identical cars on the start line, if both drivers can get their cars to run 12.5 all the time, the winner of any race will be the driver who can cut the perfect light.

Top fuel drivers who drive 6 second type cars will consistently get .501 lights. This is because the cars are so closely matched it is all in the reaction time.

"bracket" racing is where drivers write on their cars what time they think they will run. This is called a dial-in. The driver that runs closest (without breaking out of their dial-in) will be no.1 qualifier.
When the elimination rounds happen, the dial-ins become really important. Imagine again that an 8 second car and a 12 second car are racing. The 8 second car writes an 8.1 dial-in on the side of their car and the 12 second car writes 12.2. These figures are put into the computer and the lights will go down to green at different times for each driver, so as to handicap the faster car.

How this works is, the 12.2 dial in is 4.1 seconds slower than the 8.1 dial-in, thus the 12 second car gets green lights 4.1 seconds before the 12 second car.
When the 12 second car gets green lights they have to catch-up to the 8 second car, and overtake it ! without going faster than 12.1 seconds.

This makes the racing more exciting as each car has equal chance to win - it is all down to driver skill.


60ft times are the times when you go past the tree.
1/8th mile is by the york dragway sign
1/4 is obvious :)

The 60ft times can tell you how good a launch you are getting. For example if you can adjust your turbo, you will be able to make changes and see how much difference it makes to your start. A turbo that does not kick in for ages will not help your launch :)


There seems to be a trend for taking out one of the front lights of a car, do not see how this can make the car quicker (if it worked I suspect the pro stockers would do it). Oh, and burning out on one wheel is a no-no (one hot wheel one cold). Handbrake whilst burning out (hahaha) you would not believe how many people think that is right ! All it does is spot your back tyres.

Trick with burnouts is to get your wheels in the water on the concrete burnout pads... then drop clutch and floor it. Make sure traction control is off :) Gets your tyres warm, thus should give you a better launch.

Oh, call-up... the little call-up lights on the top of the tree - no point being on the start line till they are there lit. MANY people sat on the start line hurting their clutches and giving their rev limiter some action. MMMmmm love the smell of clutch in the morning - smells like victory. The lights cannot go green until call-up is there. I enter the race numbers into the computer and tell it that race control is ready which brings the call-up lights on. That is when drivers should come onto start line :)

Cant think of anything else atm :)

I am still a happy bunny as I saw Vectra GSis racing for the first time, and saw that my Astra GSi is as fast as the Vectra GSi :) Woohoo. I knew it was much faster than the Vectra SRi (2.0) as I have one of those too.

Anyway, Hope that helps.

Any questions feel free to ask :))

Carl Smith
  Renault Laguna Coupe

I wish Id known all that before Sunday! On the other hand maybe ingorance was bliss. Thanks Joe - thats really useful - they really are jolly nice people at York arnt they?

Cool. Hows that for a response?

Next time I might try using the water patch!!

Im gonna dig my timing tickets out tonight and check the 60ft times. I want to know if my pull-offs are my weakness (most probably!!!).

  Clio 197

"How this works is, the 12.2 dial in is 4.1 seconds slower than the 8.1 dial-in, thus the 12 second car gets green lights 4.1 seconds before the 12 second car."

"When the 12 second car gets green lights they have to catch-up to the 8 second car, and overtake it ! without going faster than 12.1 seconds."

Tricky devils that can do that!

Some ecotek sleight of hand or have they discovered the joys of travelling faster than light? Or is it just good old fashioned Padre Pio bi-location?

  mk2 172

me and nick were talking to this guy the last time, he said that to us in person, basically to get reaction time low.


I noticed one of the Vectras that was racing (the black one that ran 15.9s or so - T29?) parked up in my car park at work. Im trying to work out who it is...!Looks [retty good.....for a Vectra!)

  BMW 320d Sport

Yeah in proper drag classes reaction is important. In normal RWYB where youre just after the time and speed, Ive found that the most crucial benchmark is the 60ft time. When I first started I used to ignore the other data and just look at the ET. But this year Ive paid very close attention to the 60fts because that determines where you will end up. Basically for my car, as a rule of thumb, every 0.1 sec quicker on the 60ft is 0.2 sec at least at the 1/4 mile.

Ive run 2.2/2.3 sec 60ft times before (on 18s) but my best on 15s was 2.4/2.5. Anyway I can get a variation of 1/4 mile ET of at least half a second by a variation in 60ft time of only 2/10 of a sec.
  williams and trophy

which is what iv been saying for ages lol

if u see the green light uv lost lol

its like the last race i had with mat brown

r/t me .732 mat .767

60 ft.. me 2.406 mat 2.233

1/8 me mailto:9.753@73.72....mat">9.753@73.72....mat mailto:9.597@73.73">9.597@73.73

1/4 me mailto:15.085@92.81......mat">15.085@92.81......mat mailto:15.008@89">15.008@89

so i know that my car is nearly 2/10s quicker than mats over the last 1/8 so i know with a good launch i can take him.......hehe

it works if i take mats other run against me to my fastest tiome of the daythe last 1/8 is where i make ground on him


  BMW 320d Sport

Yeah I forgot that Mat, it would be interesting to see how you get on with th Willy box as well. Its definitely a longer final drive but the ratios seem closer, easier to keep it on the boil. I tell you what Ill do you a swap. I take your 2.0 bottom end and valver box, and you have my 1.8 bottom end and Willy box? :D
  mk2 172

saying that, with a 6800 rev limit mine does 61mph, so if it was 7200 it would do approx 64-65mp in 2nd, you sure the ratios are closer??
  BMW 320d Sport

Well mine will rev to around 7800, but I never look at my speedo, only the revs! I might be wrong but it just feels closer. Maybe its just my imagination.
  williams and trophy

mine wont do 60 in 2nd.. tis just over 55ish but that will all be rectified soon i hope hehe

plans are afoot



Nick m8, you might get better times by not using the available range as the max power figure is probably far lower.

And Jon... :) . what r yer plans. ???... a nice diff change ???.... a paddle clutch ???.. going for one on the turbo jobby.. bloody quick change possible too.. within the dubious limits of the reno box unfortunately...:(

but, a bit juddery on the road..... am also looking at a quick shift and gear lever extention as whatever I adjust to be comfortable, the gear lever is always a stretch in 1 3 and 5... will have a 2" extention welded on in me thinks...

One of the best I have seen for quick shifts is Craggys gem... that is one seriously nice change, but the wear is telling I beleive Neil ??? lol...

My 172 is a b**ch to go from 2-3 and worse from 4-3... going back in on monday with a view to a new box n clutch.. they have tried better flowing oil, to no avail..

  williams and trophy

yeah think the strip is taking its toll on my box

synchro on 3rd n 4th are on their way out i think...thats knockin it up with aid of the limiter for u lol

as for what plans iv got lol

ill keep that one quiet and shock n surprise u all at the strip next year.....all im gunna say bout em is that the willy WONT be the daily family car after the works done the seats will be comin out permanantly so wont be able to fit the baby seats lol
  williams and trophy

yeah iv been delving into the quaife pages too........might not even be a car engine in there next year if u no wot i mean..........

hyabusa williams........nice ring to it isnt it lol