Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 8, Page

What does it take to win in bracket racing today?


realize this is a loaded question and if anyone REALLY had all the answers they would never lose. Is it money, luck, equipment or what? The reality is there are things any racer can do to not only improve their chances of winning but actually measure how they are progressing. To some racers these things are not new ideas but rather the way they do things now. There are some racers who are searching for ways to help them improve their race program and start collecting some more winning ET slips. I think this column will be pretty good reading for those guys and I hope you all get a little something from it that help you get better.

WINNING: For most drag racers it is their primary goal when they pull in the pit gate at the dragstrip, while some racers say they are racing just for the fun or it is something they have always enjoyed. I still think, deep down, everyone who races likes to see the win come on in his lane. If it isn’t for the thrill or fun of winning, then I am sure we all have personal reasons for being there.

Personally, there is nothing like seeing the win light come on in my lane after a competition run. Sure, I like other things about racing, the preparation of the racecar and

support equipment and the greatest friends on the planet, my racing friends. All the work and all the money come down to a couple things for most racers: COMPETITION and FUN. The competition is easy to understand. Line up and see who is the best racer at that particular moment in time.

Fun is a bit more complex. Naturally, winning is fun and spending time with great friends is fun, but, to be honest, I struggle a little bit after losing a very close race to think that it was still fun. I am getting better at it but it takes a lot of work and money to get to the races and to lose because of a stupid mental error still isn’t fun to me. Believe me, I try to keep learning from those errors and of late it looks I have been learning a little bit more than I used to.

Bracket Racing has become so competitive it is difficult to win. I would have to agree. It is very competitive and if you can go deep in the rounds every week you have accomplished a lot. I talk to a lot of racers at the track, through emails and on the phone every week. I have to be honest, most of my conversations are with racers who race in the brackets that use delay boxes, throttle stops or anything they choose to use. The general consensus is if you are going to be a regular winner in today’s electronic-equipped classes it takes a new 4-link dragster, $20,000 engine and $100,000+ tow rig. I have to agree that it does appear that way but I do no think that is always true. A lot of the guys you see piling up the wins now were doing the same thing over 10 years ago with much different equipment. They are the winners, not the vehicle. I have to admit having a new lightweight racecar and a powerful and consistent engine definitely doesn’t hurt your chances, but it will not make you a winner.

I think winning starts before you even load the car in the trailer.

1. Preparation: To me this is the most important step besides the actual race. If you have inspected the car after the last event for loose bolts or wire connectors, and looked the chassis and suspension parts over for cracks or wear you have a good start. How about checking the valve lash every week and valve spring seat pressure? It only takes about 15 minutes but can prevent catastrophic breakage if you catch a problem early. Fuel filter, fuel lines and carburetor air bleeds -- have they been cleaned every week? Did the starter sound okay last weekend? Have you cleaned the battery connections and checked the cable ends? Vibration is hard on fragile wire and cable connections and they are a critical part of the winning package.

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