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Drag Racing Story of the Day!

More Thoughts on a Variable Christmas Tree

By Steve Taylor

Everyone knows that cars have different reaction times. My Z-24 Cavalier probably needs 0.65 to 0.70 seconds to leave the stage lights from a normal stage (Not Deep). An eighth-mile low five-second dragster probably needs 0.40 to 0.45 seconds to accomplish this. Most S/SS cars would need 0.50 to .60 seconds to leave the stage lights. Of course, these times include the driver's reaction time, which is probably between 0.18 to 0.26 seconds. How difficult would it be to have a Christmas Tree that had a variable sequence time between bulbs?

Each racer would specify this time on his tech card and would be entered into the system. When the racer's number was entered for competition, this interval would be programmed into the Christmas Tree. When my car number was entered into the timing system, the tree could have 0.65 seconds between the bulbs. The time between the first light and the green light would be 1.95 seconds instead of 1.50 seconds.

This would help the bottom bulb racers with staging and would help prevent delay box use in the S/SS, Comp Eliminator, and Sportsman classes. It doesn't allow the opponent to cross over to the racer's top bulb. Racers wouldn't have to deep stage or stage and bump in some more. This would work perfectly in the Sportsman classes and would help Footbrake Racers be more competitive. There would be a definite stagger of the Christmas tree. The sequence would be programmable to the hundredth of a second.

In S/P or Top (IHRA) classes with delay boxes, the standard .5-second difference between bulbs would remain. This would be true for most tracks in the country.

If delay boxes weren't legal in these classes, tracks could use the racer's specified variable time between bulbs. This would definitely make crossing over to the opponent's bulb futile. I would like opinions and comments on this new Future Tree. Any interested racer or track promoter with the spare time may reply. This is another proposal from the innovator of the first and/or worse red light option.

PS - This was a topic on DragRaceResults.com Bracket Talk a couple of years ago. It received a somewhat cool reception at the time…

Steve Taylor

Read Wally Knoch's article on the same subject HERE.


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