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Bracket Racing Tips and Tricks

This page will have a few different tips and tricks I have picked up over the years I've been racing

The Burnout
Burnout procedure is a very important part of Bracket Racing. The object is to get the tires hot enough to hook the car yet not put extra wear and tear on either the engine or the tires.
What I recommend doing is getting to know your tires. Some tires require very little burnout to get them hot. While others like the long smokey John Force style burnouts to work right. From personal experience the M/T's like it just long enough to get some smoke off of them, I usually count to 5 and then let off the brake.

1. Guide the car into the burnout box. DO NOT stop with the rear tires in the water! Move to the edge of the water box before starting. If you do the burnout in the water, the tires will throw the water into your wheel wells and this will drip back onto your tires when you stage.

2. Once you are ready and the starter gives you the go ahead you can begin your burnout. Like I said, I like to keep these short to save the tires and engine. No reason to do a 8000 rpm 4 gear burnout if it's not necessary. I usually foot brake the car and give it gas, I let the tach swing to about 5000 and start counting, I shift to second gear at about 2 and let off the brake at 5

3. When you let off the brake the car will start moving forward. Its a good idea to pay attention to what is in front of the car. You never know when some idiots going to walk across the lane right when you start moving forward. Also make sure you are not heading for the wall and that kind of stuff.

4. Keep the tires spinning as you move forward and eventually they will hook. After they hook start moving forward when the starter tells you its ok to stage. DO NOT do a "dry hop" to test if the tires will hook. All this does is take the heat out of the tires. Then when you lauch you will have wasted your good launch on the "dry hop".

Staging
Staging technique is probaably one of the most important elements of Bracket Racing. If you get this wrong then your whole run will be shot. The most important thing to remember is to always stage the same way every single time you race. If you do one thing different then it will throw the consistancy off.

staging

1. There are basically 2 types of staging techniques. The first is called "shallow staging". This is where after you light the pre-stage bulb, you slowly move forward until the second stage bulb just flickers on. What this does is gives you a slight head start. You have to remember that your ET clock does not start until the front tire breaks out of the staging beams. Shallow staging can be good and bad. Its good for trying to go fast because of the rolling head start but it can be bad for reaction times if your car is a little on the slower side.
The second type is called "deep staging". Some classes do not allow deep staging but ther are a few different ways to do it. The first way is the way that most classes do not allow. This is where after you light the the second stage bulb you keep rolling forward until the pre-stage bulb goes out. Remember that there is about 6 inches between the 2 staging beams so it doesnt take much for the tires to break out of the first beam.
The second version is where after you light the staged bulb, you "bump" the car. What this means is you just kind of slowly move the car forward by bumping the brake pedal, usually about an inch at a time, until you are set. Remember not to go to far or you will break the pre-stage beam and be disqualified.
The reason for "deep staging" is simple- better reaction times. But it comes with a disadvantage. When you stage deep you lose that head start that I was talking about so your car will run a little slower. So please remember this if you decide to try deep staging in the final round and then run 2/10ths off of your dial.

the tree

The Tree
In drag racing the starting device is commonly called "the tree". This is basically a pole with lights mounted too it. I think people started calling it "the tree" because it reminded them of a christmas tree with all the different colored lights on it.
As far as the tree goes, it has 7 bulbs on each side. The first bulb is called the pre-stage bulb, this is the bulb that is lit when the first stage beam is broken by the front tires. The second bulb is the staged bulb. When your front tires break the second staging beam this bulb is lit. When both drivers have lit their staged beam this tells the starter that they are ready and he starts the tree. This is where the next three bulbs come into play. When the starter activates the tree, the countdown is started. This causes the three amber bulbs to light in sequential order (unless its a .400 pro-tree, but I'll stick to the .500 tree since it's probably what most people will be using). There is .500 of a second between the time each bulb lights. The object is to have your car set up so you can launch at the first flash of the third bulb, this way your car is given enough time to break out of the staging beams and cut a good light. This leaves us at the last two bulbs on the tree, the green light and the red light. If you haven't launched by the time you see the green bulb light up, you have probably already lost. When the red bulb lights up it is one of my least favorite things to see in Bracket Racing (unless it lights up on my opponents side, then its one of the best things). I usually have it happen to me in the first round of eliminations. The first round is usually the worst. Well at most tracks a .500 light (some tracks use .000) is a perfect light. Anything lower is a red-light. What you want to shoot for is lights in the .530-.540 range, that way you can step up a bit if needed in the final round and not worry as much about red-lights.

Please check back soon for more.

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