First time at the drag strip? Here is how to avoid embarrassment

Spring is in the air and I have to say this is my favorite time of the year! Everyone is bringing their cars out, meets are back on (as best as they can be with COVID restrictions), and people are driving. Even better, track days at the drag strip are also coming back.

While drag racing might not be for everyone, I do recommend that everyone try it at least once in their life. It’s absolutely a great time and you’ll probably learn something new. Of course I should warn you, like any motor sport, there are some dangers to drag racing. For starters, drag racing is NOT street racing. You should always be aware of our vehicle’s capabilities as well as your own and stay within them.

The Christmas Tree.. of drag racing

Let’s start with the basics, and probably the most important thing to learn with drag racing, the Christmas Tree. While this light fixture can be confusing, it’s actually quite simply and only compromising of 2 small staging lights, 3 yellow lights, a  green light and a red light. The staging lights are there to acknowledge you are perfecting lighted up on the starting line. There are 2 sensors across the track that are triggered by your front tires which activate the first staging light. The first light activates the second your tires hit and the second ones light up shortly after wards (there is a 7” space between the two sensors).

The yellow lights are there to get you ready for your green light. If it’s a test and tune or amateur race they simply count down one at a time. If it’s a Pro race, all 3 of the yellow lights will light up at the same time.

The green light is the easiest one to explain. As soon as you get the green light, you can take off. It literally means “go!”.

The red light is illuminated during a false start. If your car moves too soon, basically before the green light, you will get a false start. If you do so, this light will illuminate red and you’ll know it.

Make sure your car is fit for the track

I have seen people race vehicles that aren’t fit for the road let alone the drag strip way too many times. Make sure your car is fit for the track so you are bringing you’re a game. It should also be noted that drag racing can be difficult on your car, which can cause things to break. Make sure your car comes to the strip in prime condition so you have a better chance of things not breaking on you.

Go with friends

Preferably bring friends with experience which will make things much more fun for you. If your friends have experience at the strip, you’ll someone you can rely on for advice and to mentor you as well.

Race for yourself

As fun as it can be to be competitive don’t forgot to have fun and race for you. If you are going there to out run everyone, you will probably be disappointed because someone will be faster than you. That’s why you should race against yourself, your skill and your car. This will also help you develop your own driving skills! Have fun!