Click a section of this quarter mile drag strip to learn more.
The Starting Line
The process in making a pass down the drag strip involves the Water
Box. The water box is where the driver gets their drive tires wet
in preparation to do their burnout. A burnout is the process
whereby the driver intentially smokes the drive tires. This
allows the driver to clean the tires and warm the tires for optimal
traction. By getting the tires wet, the driver can more easily
spin the drive, allowing for an easier burnout with less stress on the
This photo demonstrates a car that has just passed through the water
box and is ready to do his burnout. You will notice the track
official standing between the two race cars. Unless you have a
crew member who assists you in pulling through the burnout box, the
track official is there to help you stop at the right point.
Here, a driver is doing a burnout. A crew member stands ahead and
clear of the race car and waves the driver forward once the burnout
should be complete. The driver will then finish his burnout and
pull the car forward to begin the staging process.
Staging the race car is among the most important processes in drag
racing. The driver's reaction time and elapse time can be
drastically influenced by how "deep" or "shallow" a driver stages.
Essentially, a beam of light reflects across the track. As
the race car's front tire breaks the first beam, the pre-stage bulb is
lit. Once the driver inches in slightly further, the front tire
will trip the second beam and light the Stage bulb. If the driver
chooses and if rules permit, he may inch in further yet and Deep Stage.
Once deep staged, the top Pre Stage bulb shuts off and only the
Stage bulb remains lit.
to read about the staging process in greater detail.
As shown above, the top four bulbs are the Pre Stage lights. Each
side of the track has two Pre Stage and two Stage bulbs. The Pre
Stage lights let the driver and their opponent know they are almost to
the starting line and nearing the start of the race. The Stage
lights let each driver and the starting line officials know the racers
are ready and in position to begin.
Three, L.E.D. amber bulbs then follow the Pre Stage and Stage lights.
Next, is the green light or red light, depending on whether the driver
left at the right time or too early.
to read about the Christmas Tree in greater detail.
Lining the drag strip in strategic locations are photocells that
project an invisible beam that contacts a reflector(the orange cube)
located on the centerline. The disturbed beam triggers the timing
system. These photocells and reflector cubes are situated at the
60', 330', 660', 1,000' and 1,320' marks on the drag strip. These
marks measure the time the race car takes to travel from the starting
to each mark.
Located 60' before the 660' and 1,320' marks are mile per hour
photocells and reflector cubes. These markers, unlike the others,
measure the time it takes the car to travel from the 1/8-mile MPH
marker to the 660' and from the 1/4-mile MPH marker to the 1,320'.
The race car's average MPH is then derived from the measurement
from the MPH cone to the 660' or 1,320' mark.
This image shows the locations of the timing markers for the last half
of the drag strip.
Most tracks, like the one shown in the photo, have the scoreboards
situated at the finish line.
The top row of the score board displays the driver's total elapse time.
The bottom row shows
the driver's MPH. The illuminated bulbs that span the top of the
scoreboard are the "win light." The win light is only lit on the
winner's score board.
Just as the title suggests, the shutdown area is the run off past the
finish line where the driver slows their car to a safe stop.
More information coming soon.