Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

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Maritime Drag Racing
Re: Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

Postby Maritime Drag Racing » Thu May 26, 2011 7:27 am

I love the DRAGCAR INDEXING FORMULA - finally there's a system that makes perfect sense to me. Unfortunately I feel the one with the most $$ will still be the first one to the stripe unless you outlaw exotic materials for valvetrain, rotating assembly, etc, and impose restrictions on allowable carburetors or even have a formula for carb CFM allowed per cubic inch. This concept is so good I had a job even finding those minor concerns.

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Bret Kepner
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Re: Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

Postby Bret Kepner » Sat May 28, 2011 5:14 am

My personal (and worthless) opinion?

THESE ARE THE GOOD OLD DAYS!

That said, when are you folks ever going to understand the fact that, other than legalized traction control in ADRL racing, there are no electronics in drag racing? Throttle stops are not electronic nor do they use computers. Fuel and alcohol crewchiefs do not have computers actuating the clutches. There is no active acquisition of "real time data" involved. All that stuff has always been illegal; the sole exception was ignition interruption devices in bracket racing which were outlawed at virtually every track almost three decades ago. Delay boxes have nothing to do with the visual performance of a race car. Cars with delay boxes are not unbeatable. Want to argue that point? Take it up with a guy named Mr. Dirt; he's taking his bone-stock 17-second '95 Mercury Grand Marquis to a $5,000-to-win event 140 miles away ten hours from now to battle those "unbeatable" box racers.

Why? Because he just "doubled up" at the same track a month ago and knows he can beat 'em. That's why.

By the way, that stuff about Englishtown drawing two dozen AA/FDs every week during its regular drag races in the 1960s is total and complete garbage. Rather than believe the distorted memories, simply check the race results from any track in any era and you'll find it's simply untrue. The sole exception of this fact was Lions Associated Drag Strip and only for a very brief period between 1963-1967 did even Lions draw an average of more than two dozen cars during most weeks. Eight AA/FDs at any other track was HUGE and two or three was the norm. Ninety-eight percent of tracks didn't even RUN a "weekly AA/FD show"; they booked in the big names for match races or offered an open fuel show only on rare occasions. The old weekly Top Eliminator program ran at the majority of tracks prior to 1970 usually consisted of the eight quickest cars on the property from any class and only one or two was usually a fuel dragster of ANY kind. Why? Because, after 1957, any vehicle running nitromethane cost a TON of money to campaign. That's why.

Don't believe it? Do some research. Ask Wally Bell or Jon Lundberg right here on DragList. Ask ANYBODY who raced one of those cars and you'll find the reason why the average life expectancy of a nitro team in the '60s was no more than two seasons. In making this post, I'm not attempting to slam anybody with my opinion, I just want to make sure the facts are out there.

Concerning domination in the sport by a handful of teams, I'll add another statistic. While a few underdog triumphs were mentioned earlier, I'm required by law to rebuke the fallacy of "anybody can win" fuel racing by mentioning the winner of the 1965 NHRA Winternationals, 1965 NHRA U.S. Nationals, 1966 NHRA Winternationals and 1966 NHRA U.S. Nationals, Roland Leong's "Hawaiian". Has anybody ever researched how few human beings have actually won an NHRA, AHRA or IHRA TF or FC title at a National Event? How about Pro Stock, in which a group of less than two dozen indivduals have won more than eighty percent of all National Events ever held in ALL sanctions? "Upsets" have been few and far between over the past sixty years. Even Art Arfons was expected to win the inaugural World Series of Drag Racing in 1954...and he did!

The top classes in the sport have always been expensive, the best competitors have always dominated and racers and fans have always complained. During the normal ebb and flow of the economy, car counts have gone through the roof only to fall drastically and then rise again to even greater heights. The sport has been hugely popular, fallen to dismal lows and returned to favor many, many times. When somebody mentions a recent NHRA event which featured "only sixteen AA/FDs", I chuckle and remember the 1983 NHRA Summernationals at Englishtown when only thirteen cars appeared for the category.

When class racing became monstrously expensive in the very early 1960s, the concept of bracket racing was created to offer a new challenge. When bracket racing became too costly, index racing became the rage. The funniest part of that evolution is the fact the earliest form of bracket racing was, in fact, index racing. That's the origin of the term; classes were simply one-second or half-second "brackets" which were contested without a handicap because the electronic handicapper wasn't invented until 1963 and most tracks couldn't afford one until the late 1960s! Like so many other aspects of life, the sport of drag racing simply repeats its history over and over...even to the extent of resurrecting its past in the form of nostalgia fuel classes which have virtually no basis in the era they struggle to represent, ("Cacklefest" cars excluded). In somewhat comical fashion, each new generation fails to acknowledge the past and takes credit for revolutionizing the sport with the exact same solutions used decades earlier.

As many of you are aware, I don't post many diatribes on the InterNet but I occasionally make a long post here on DragList because I honestly KNOW most of the folks on this board. I fully expect you'll take this comment in the spirit in which it was intended. The bottom line is this: The excitement of one's first great love affair often dissipates with initial overindulgence and later the often disheartening changes of age. Some people fall out of love because things eventually "just aren't the same". Others revel in the growth, the expansion of the experience and the thrill of new and exciting discoveries...until death do them part.

How's YOUR relationship these days?
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Re: Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

Postby jim sanders » Sat May 28, 2011 10:11 am

8) great read Bret! go get em this weekend and say hello to PdiddyDerek and the gang for me
GOOD TO GO !!
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Re: Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

Postby draglist » Sat May 28, 2011 2:20 pm

Thanks, Bret! Great read as always. The bloom does fall from the rose a bit over time. But it can be rejuvenated time and again. (Think of the impact of the USSC in the late 80s and how the nostalgia craze finally caught on about 10 or 15 years later). I think that we never feel things the same as we get older, and the things that occurred before us seem dated. I think this core time is our teens. The music seems greater, our relationships with others are huge, and our heroes are larger than life. In the 70s, I remember hitchhiking to OCIR from San Diego to see funny cars with no earthly idea of how to get back. Today, one of the world's great drag strips is 20 minutes away with continually great shows. Despite free entry, I usually choose to experience the weekend with my wife and kids, and -- I hate to admit it -- to rest up after the workweek. So passion does fade and priorities shift. But... what about today's fans? Or those of the 00s, 90s, or 80s? To them, are the 70s the same as the 50s were to me? I remember playing some Hendrix on a cassette in my car after getting out of the Navy in the early 80s. I was giving my kid brother and his friend a ride somewhere. The kid remarked on my choice of "old fashioned music." Holy crap -- this kid heard Jimi the same way I heard "Rock Around the Clock" (and the way I saw 1950s racing). That is, essential to how we got here, but not a source of passion. So is that it? The lost passion of youth? The longing for a time when heroes were heroes? Do young folks today see Schumacher, Hagan, and Anderson the same way I saw Garlits, Prudhomme, and Jenkins? I suspect they do. And our job will be to keep listing the info on the fastest racers, no matter what path the sport takes. bp
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Re: Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

Postby Race4Wheels » Sun May 29, 2011 4:15 pm

I cannot speak to all of that without boring everybody to death so I just will pick one for today;

Delay Boxes:

20 years ago after being sent home by losing a bracket race with a very decent run (probably something like a .04 package) my dad was so discouraged with racing that he was talking of selling the car. I was racing a car for someone else at the time and that owner had just ordered a throttle stop and delay boxes for the car I was driving since my argument to NHRA that the brackets ought to stay on a Pro tree in Div 7 failed and we were now on the Full tree with the rest of the country.
So I told Dad that we should just somehow put a box it the car. I started running through the ways we might still do it without a trans brake since we did not want to change transmissions, and he says to me the same thing that I have heard so many others say, "They're not winning because they have a box in the car!"

"BULL!"

While it is true that a box does not make you "unbeatable", it sure does raise your batting average. I could not believe that my dad, a well seasoned racer, did not see how the delay boxes were sending him home when he clearly made a very respectable run. So I took out my practice tree and I dialed in the rollout time to match his car and proceeded to have him give me 10 hits with no delay, just like in the Mustang, and just as I predicted would be the case, he had some good lights, some crappy lights, and some red lights. All together he was in about a 1 tenth of a second range from earliest to latest. A very good driver I think can possibly have that down to about 8 hundredths. (Mind you that I am speaking of race cars running far better than 17's in the quarter) So then I dialed in some delay and told Dad to hit the first amber like a Pro tree and give me 10. He did and, again just as I predicted, all ten were within 3 hundredths of each other. Suddenly he got the picture.

I used to watch the Stock and Super Stock results very closely to try to get an idea of how good I was against the best of the non-electronics Full tree contenders and I was quite astonished to see that they were actually not performing any better on the tree than myself or my dad. It was common to see .04 to .07 lights and some final rounds were actually won with lights even slower than that. The mind is a wonderful computer but it does not do well when asked to perform tasks to the hundredth of a second consistency without the help of an aid, and this is how the 17 second cars can battle the boxes.

I may be wrong but I think most racers know that if you could just leave on the last amber, your reaction time consistency can improve tremendously. Consistency dramatically falls off when a racer is forced to wait for 8 to 12 hundredths of a second (depending on the car) after seeing the last amber before leaving. It's virtually impossible for the human mind to do that with any better than a tenth of a second consistency. So the reason for a 17 second car to be such a threat to the box racer is simply that this driver has the luxury of a built in delay function in the vehicle. With a 17 second car, you watch the first two lights and pick up the rhythm, and mash the throttle when you know the last amber is coming on, you dont even wait to see it. No, not everybody is going to be good at this but a good driver can do it quite consistently and put a delay box back in the box on a more than occasionally basis. But that same driver, as good as he may be, when put in a 10 second car that has a combined reaction and rollout time of 3 tenths of a second will not do so well repeatedly against the launch timers. The truth to this concept is obvious if you take the time to notice that many non-electronics racers actually do intentionally slow the leave of their car down or increase rollout time by leaving at an rpm just a little above idle, running less air in the slicks, putting larger front tires on, and even dropping front tire pressures so that the tire squats and turns on the stage light slightly sooner. All so they can possibly get the car to leave the beams late enough that they can just hit it on the last amber instead of waiting.

Am I making it up or simply just full of it????

Take a look. There is a reason why Super Stock cars which run a Full tree have 28" tall front tires while Super Gas cars running off of the Pro tree have 23" tall front tires. Racers know what this is all about and it's a bit insulting to be told there is no truth in it by someone who has not done it, or has not done it enough to know of the science of it all.

I know I cannot win an arguement with a well know voice but I do know how to win races and would take it to the track any-time to prove my point. I've done it before and I have studied the sciences of it for as long as I've been able to read.

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Re: Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

Postby WildcatOne » Mon May 30, 2011 2:12 pm

This thread is incredibly good. I don't race...I drive a little VW Bug street cruiser...but this is drag racing philosophy and it's something I think deeply about and appreciate reading. You guys are all great. Thanks! WC1
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Re: Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

Postby Billy Mac » Mon May 30, 2011 3:46 pm

I have to reply to Race4wheels here...In reading your last post....I was reminded of a test and tune night with my own car back a number of years ago. Seeing as how I was only making time runs, I really wasn't tring to get a "green" light....yes, I was using a delay box and leaving off of the top bulb...but I was getting tomato lenses like nobodys business. A friend's wife told me that I couldn't buy a good reaction if I wanted to. Hmmm...gauntlet thrown...
Her hubby was preparing to head to the lanes, so I hustled up there and pulled into the waterbox next to him. Game on. I decided to leave off the bottom bulb (off of my tranny brake button...with the delay turned off) I tree'd my buddy pretty bad and easily crossed the stripe ahead of him. (to be honest...my car was about 3 tenths quicker than his) We got back to the pits and friend's wifypoo says...finally, a green light. But you can't do it again...(the entire statement dripping with sarcasm.) I replied...We'll see.

I cooled my car...and headed back to the lanes...made my pass, again leaving off the bottom bulb. When I got back to the pit with my time slip, I had to admit that she was right...I couldn't do it again...my first reaction time was a .006. The second?, and even quicker .003. "I" would take either of those reactions any day of the week..."some" would "claim" I was "all over the place on the tree". LOL...Leave it to Drag Racers to dissect a second into tens of thousanths ...
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Maritime Drag Racing

Re: Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

Postby Maritime Drag Racing » Mon May 30, 2011 7:33 pm

A very wise man(and a member of this forum) wrote in a prominent Drag Racing magazine a few years ago about the "instant green" concept. Basically just unscrew all the yellow bulbs and have at it. You prestage, stage and wait for the green. I think that would solve a lot of problems....

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Re: Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

Postby Race4Wheels » Mon May 30, 2011 8:12 pm

No I think you may have misunderstood me Billy, I was talking hundredths. 2 double 0's in a row is awsome but I'm saying do it ten times in a row. Generally speaking, if you do any worse than an .035 in an electronics bracket, you will only be lucky to be in the next round. But an .035 in a non-E bracket is very good and if you can pull those all night you have a nice chance at bringing home the pot.

I do agree that racers get too crazy with the boxes, taking time out of the box because they only cut an .02 instead of a .002. When I ran a box in the cars I was driving I didn't go crazy over popping double 0's because I know that my personal reaction times vary by about three hundredths depending on how quick the tree comes down etc. So I while I consider a .03 light to be marginal with a box, I was not in the car flipping dials to take 2 hundredths out of it, only to be blaming the "faulty timing equipment" for my following red light.

It never fails with me that I do better when I have been out pf the car for too long. It has to do with the "who cares" mentality. When I took the car out to the track this year after being apart for two years, I knew I would be in the box after first round so I was just going at the tree with no real concern for the light, and damn, if they weren't all pretty decent for non-E competition, I think the worst was an .06. Then I got a bye in the Semi's and decided to get serious and test the tree. I went .003 red. Okay fine, so I go into the finals and tried to wait just a little longer, and I went .008 red. The point? The harder you try, the worse the results sometimes. If you ran off the bottom bulb all day with more than just a point to prove at the end of the day, I doubt you would be double 0's all the way through.

As to the instant green idea, it is no good unless you are talking about heads-up no-breakout categories, ie. Pro categories. Anytime you have cars running against each other with drastically differing performance capabilities (10 second car vs. 12 second car) vehicle reaction times differ tremendously (about a tenth of a second) and this gives the faster car a huge advantage right off the line. To explain how it all works will certainly bore the majority here so I won't go beyond that, except to also add that any human reaction based starting system such as the instant green or the Pro light start, is just not really appropriate for handicapped start racing. It forces the driver of the faster car to sit with the engine against the brake or at high rpm with the clutch in for longer periods of time than are desirable. It's harder on parts and in the case of converter cars, it effects consistency as the trans fluid heats up very quickly and the stall actually increases, thereby changing vehicle reaction time and/or performance. In a handicapped race, the full tree is a must have.

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Re: Your Opinion Of Drag Racing Today?

Postby Bret Kepner » Mon May 30, 2011 10:35 pm

Race4Wheels, I don't know your real name and I promise not to, as you said, make this an argument. If you've won races then you know what works for you. However, having owned a Drag Racing School for fourteen years from which over 650 students have graduated, (not to mention having won 103 eliminator titles in my career in everything from 8.0 Super Pro dragsters to ten-second bracket cars to record-holding NHRA Stockers to the previously mentioned 17-second...and slower...street cars), I can promise the majority of the techniques you posted are alarmingly wrong. I'll post a more detailed response as time allows.

By the way, I got runner-up in that fourteen-rounder Saturday night when my opponent ripped my head off with a 0.000 in the final.
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