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E.D.R.A. - Drag racing basics


What is a Drag Race

In basic terms, a drag race is an acceleration contest from a standing start between two vehicles over a measured distance at a specifically designed drag race facility. The accepted standard for that distance is either an eighth-mile or quarter-mile. These contests are started by means of an electronic device commonly called a "Christmas Tree." Upon leaving the starting line, each contestant activates a timer, which is stopped when the same vehicle reaches the finish line. The start to finish clocking is the vehicle's E.T. (elapsed time), which serves to measure performance and often serves to determine handicaps  during competition.

What is E.T. Racing?

By far the most popular form of drag racing is a handicapped form of competition known as "E.T. Bracket Racing." In this form of racing, two vehicles of varying performance potentials can race on a potentially even basis. The anticipated elapsed times for each vehicle are compared, with the slower car receiving a head start equal to the difference of the two. With this system, virtually any two vehicles can be paired in a competitive drag race.

For Example: Car A has been timed at 17.78, 17.74, and 17.76   seconds for the quarter-mile, and the driver feels that a "dial-in" of 17.75 is appropriate. Meanwhile, the driver of Car B has recorded elapsed times of 15.27, 15.22 and 15.26 on the same track and he has opted for a "dial-in" of 15.25. Accordingly, car A will get a 2.5- second head start over car B when the "Christmas Tree" counts down to each car's starting green lights.

If both vehicles cover the quarter-mile in exactly the predetermined elapsed time, the win will go to the driver who reacts quickest to the starting signal. The reaction to the starting signal is called "reaction time." Both lanes are timed independently of one another, and the clock does not start until the vehicle actually moves to start the timing system. Because of this, a vehicle may sometimes appear to have a  mathematical advantage in comparative elapsed times but actually lose the race. This fact makes starting line reflexes extremely important  in Drag Racing!

After both cars are staged, the Starter activates "Christmas Tree" and three amber lights and one green are sequenced.

Drivers use amber lights as a guide to anticipate the green bulb coming on. Leave too soon and a bright red "foul" shows. This happens when the driver reacts to the "Christmas Tree" too quickly and drives his car away from the starting line before the green "go" signal.

When dual infractions occur, say a red light and then a break out, the red light takes precedent over the breakout. A red light will be an instant disqualification unless both cars red light. In the case of both vehicles red lighting, the win goes to the driver who red lit last. Should a driver go quicker than his/her predetermined "dial-in", it is called a "break-out," and grounds for disqualification. In the case of both vehicles making their runs under their dial-ins, the win goes to the driver who breaks out the least.


We hope this will help you understand Drag Racing a little better.

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Last modified: April 16, 2013