Tips for 1st Time impalaSS Bracket Racers
Dial-in: The ET, (Elapsed Time), that you say your car will run. Write the dial-in on your window before each round of eliminations.
Break-out: Running quicker than what you dialed-in, (a 14.990 ET on a 15.000 dial-in)
Elapsed Time (E/T) The time it takes for your car to pass from the last staging beam to the finish line beam.
Reaction time (R/T) The amount of time it takes for you and your car to move out of the last staging beam. This time is effectively measured from when the 3rd yellow lights, but not really. It takes exactly 0.500 seconds after the 3rd yellow lights for the green to light. If you have a 0.500 R/T then you broke the last staging beam exactly at the same time that the green light came on. That would be perfect. But if you mashed the throttle after seeing the green light, then your R/T would be horrible, (around 1.000). You need a tiny head start in order to get off the line at about the same time as the green light. Most racers leave after actually "seeing" the 3rd yellow, a head start so-to-speak. Doing so gives you and your car some time to roll out of the beams. Typically it takes 0.200 seconds to physically "see" the 3rd yellow and to physically respond. And it usually takes an Impala SS 0.450 seconds to roll out of the staging beams. Thus it takes a total of 0.650 seconds for you and your car to get moving. A R/T of 0.650 is pretty good. But the Pros will cut 0.530 to 0.510 R/Tís more or less A reaction time of 0.499 is RED, or FOUL start. Be happy with a 0.6500 or better. I have found that in order to have R/T's in the 0.550 range, I have to make my car react quicker, and I do that by launching at a higher RPM and by deep staging. Deep staging is defined later.
Staging: The process where you place the tires of your car at the starting line so as to break 2 sets of photo beams. This lights up the top 2 yellow lights on the "Tree". When your tires cross the first beam, the "pre-stage" yellow bulb is lit. When you continue forward about 6 inches, the 2nd set of beams are crossed and the "stage" yellow bulb is lit. Now Stop. You are "Staged". By rolling just far enough forward to light the "stage" bulb is called shallow staging. Rolling about 5 inches further is normal staging. Rolling another 5 inches further is called deep staging and the "pre-stage" bulb goes out. Deep staging is legal but your cars R/T will be much quicker. You may red-light, but you may also come closer to cutting low 0.500 R/T's.
Red Light Where the car rolls past the starting line "staged" beam before the green light comes on. In the Pro tree configuration...a 0.399 or lower R/T is RED. In the Bracket-Sportsman configuration a 0.499 is RED. A RED light is a foul start. First car to foul start automatically looses, no matter what.
Tree The Christmas tree or the starting line lights. A Sportsman tree is three yellow and then green sequenced 0.500 seconds apart, (Bracket Racing).
A Pro tree is where all three yellows come on at once and then the green comes on 0.400 seconds later, (Top Fuel Dragsters).
Make your burn out and starting line approach and staging technique and launch technique consistent. Different burnouts and different launch rpms make for different tranny temps and engine temps thus different ETís. Whatever you do...do it the same way every time. Do not experiment the day of the race.
Light the first staging bulb, (pre-stage), and then wait. It is an unwritten racer courtesy that you should wait for the opponent to light his first "pre-stage" bulb before you light your 2nd "stage" bulb. Inch the car forward until the 2nd "stage" bulb lights. Do not load up the torque converter for launch rpm until you see that your opponent has fully staged also. As soon as both cars are fully staged, then quickly get up to your launch rpm and stare hard at the 3rd yellow bulb. The starter will not dilly-dally. The "tree" usually comes down 2 to 5 seconds after both drivers are fully staged. When you "see" the 3rd yellow light...then GO! Pay no attention to your opponents tree. He may be leaving before you so donít get too jumpy. You will be more consistent if you actually "see" the 3rd yellow before launching. As opposed to "anticipating" the 3rd yellow. If you are cutting poor reaction times, then stage the car just a bit deeper next time. (deeper means to roll the car a few more inches into the 2nd staging bulb).
Mostly stock Impala SS with stock torque converter and stock tires. Left foot hard on brake and bring rpms up about 800rpm....no higher than 1000rpm. Deep stage/see 3rd yellow/ floor it.
Mostly stock Impala SS with higher stall converter and stock tires. Good luck getting traction. hehe. Deep stage/ Try 1500rpm launch /see 3rd yellow/quick squeeze of throttle.
Mostly stock Impala SS with higher stall converter and sticky tires---Shallow stage/2000rpm /see third yellow/floor it.
Highly modified Impala SS with stock tires---If you can hook up, you are my hero.
Highly modified Impala SS with sticky tires---Whatever .
APPROACH TO STARTING LINE:
Stock tires: No water. Warm the tires if you desire. Roll slowly to the staging beams so that your tires can pick up the VHT track bite, (glue). Do not do a "dry hop". Do not do a "dry hop". If you do a dry hop, you will wipe off all the VHT glue.
Sticky tires: Whatever the manufacture recommends. I do a medium burn out to get the tires gooey and roll to the staging beams slowly to take advantage of the VHT glue.
What will your car run during this next round of eliminations? Good question. Study your time slips during the day. If you are lucky enough to have consistent launches and consistent ETís....then chances are your car will run exactly the same as your last time slip. If the weather changes dramatically then factor that into your dial in. It is very important to keep your car at a consistent temperature for every round and timed run. I simply keep my motor warm. I donít spend time icing down the intake...it is difficult to know the intake temperature if you ice it. I just keep it warm. Remember the goal. Consistency. If you have 3 time slips from the open timed runs, put more weight on the last time slip. Typically you get something like this:
1st timed run: 2.300 60í 15.100 ET @ 91.0mph
2nd timed run 2.250 60í 15.040 ET @ 91.4 mph
3rd timed run 2.250 60í 15.090 ET @ 91.4 mph
I would dial in a 15.08 to be conservative. If the air is more humid or hotter, I would dial a 15.100 because the car will not run quicker in the heat. If the air is cooler...then go with the lower number so you donít break-out. Use your own method for deciding how close you want to "dial-in". If you want to play it safe, dial a few hundredths under what you think the car will really run. If you think the car will run a 15.04, then dial in a 15.03. If you know your opponent is inconsistent...then dial in plenty of buffer. If you are up against a tough competitor, then dial in tight.
First to finish, without breaking out, is the goal. If you are way ahead of your opponent, and the finish line is near, then slow down. (That is to make sure you donít break out). You will always get the win light if you finish first as long as you donít break-out. Sometimes there is a dramatic gap at the finish line between the 2 cars. That is usually due to one driver cutting a good R/T and the other car cutting an average to bad R/T. Sometimes there is a neck and neck finish line scenario. You decide for yourself if you should keep your foot on the throttle or if you should step on the brake. It is a tough and exciting game at the top end.