What do i need to know if i want to run at a track
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This is a discussion on What do i need to know if i want to run at a track within the Motorsport Stickies forums, part of the Motorsports Talk category; I have never been to a track before or have any expericne on what to expect. Are there any rules ...

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    Registered User Jack's Avatar
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    What do i need to know if i want to run at a track

    I have never been to a track before or have any expericne on what to expect.

    Are there any rules involved? such as a helmet? do you have to be a certain age...how much money?

    the track that is closest to me is english town on the east coast.

    Thanks!
    Tom
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    Buzzz Wannabe's Avatar
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    E-town is an NHRA track.
    If your car is stock, or close to stock and facotry prepped, you will get past tech pretty easily. When you start adding parts and going faster, tech becomes more detailed. (Basically they look at your car and check if it meets NHRA specs.)
    You need a helmet if you run any quicker than 13.99. I suggest you run one anyway. You can purchase a cheap one, or a good one off of ebay that is out of cert for cheap. Clean it up and go. You need to look at safety as not your car, but the other car. I have never been out of my lane. I run out of fingers with how many cars have been in my lane. I have three full crashes and many near misses in the other lane. Two of the crashes, crashed in MY lane. This stuff does happen. Get a helmet.
    You need a roll bar if you go quicker than 11.99, or a certified roll cage is quicker than 10.99. (If you are in a convertable, you need a roll bar at 13.99.) If you go quicker than 11.99 with a stick, you need a certified scatter shield. 13.00 and quicker you need a driveshaft loop on street tires. That is about all the general regs you will run into. Later you can get into the parachute manidtory at 150 mph etc.
    Just go watch a few races to see how staging goes, and how the track works. then jump in your car and give it a whirl. Never roll treaded tires through the water. Drive around and back in if you want to get wet, or just drive around and hop it once in the dry to clean the tires off. With a WRX and radials, a burnout will do more harm than good.
    Good luck!
    Oh yeah, wear long pants. It will be about $10 bucks to race. (At least that is what it is around here.) Anyone with legal state drivers license can run a street car.
    Last edited by Wannabe; 12-21-2003 at 02:04 PM.

  4. #3
    WRX
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    this is a good reference for a first timer: not E-town, but it'll help
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    Registered User bcblues's Avatar
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    Arrive early.

    Register, and don't be afraid to ask what class you should register in. They are there to help.

    Find a spot in the parking lot. Try to park by cars similar to yours. Empty out any of the equipment you brought. I would remove the spare, jack, floor mats, and anything loose in the cabin. Just stack them up in the parking lot and cover them with the tarp you brought, and then stick your spare on top to hold it all down. Bring your helmet with you to tech inspection.

    Line up for tech inspection. Talk to the other drivers while you are in line. Let em know you are new to the sport. Most will be very helpful and friendly!

    After tech inspection, either return to the parking lot, or go to grid immediately. It will depend how the track runs. If they don't tell you at registration, ask. And it doesn't hurt to ask the other drivers, too. Also find out where you pick up your time splips. Sometimes it is NOT obvious.

    When you go through the bleech box, try to drive around the water, iff possible. If it is not possible, drive slowly through it and lightly spin the tires on the far side to dry them off. DO NOT attempt a smoky burnout!

    Concentrate carefully on your launch. I would suggest focussing on your launch technique, and don't worry at all about cutting a perfect light. You can do that once you have a feel for the launch. Try to be consistent when launching and shifting. Change one thing at a time until you find a procedure that works for you. Talk to the other drivers, especially the AWD turbo drivers, like other WRXers and the DSM boys. They may give you some really good pointers.

    Relax and have fun, and let us know how you fare!

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    Registered User VetteVert's Avatar
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    Good info for a first timer. I'm going to make it a sticky for the time being.

    If you are not in a hurry to get a run in, I would suggest going once first as a spectator. Watch how they move cars through the staging lanes, see how the staging process works, note where the exit ramp is for the return lane, etc. Basically just get a feel for how everything works. If you are comfortable with everything else, you will be able to concentrate more on your run. Also, not to scare you, but know the number to AAA or your tow service of choice...just in case.

    VV

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    Moderator YBNormal07's Avatar
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    Here are some common items that many of us "old timers" forget to post, as it is just the norm and not unusual:

    Arrival and Payment: When you drive up, they will ask if you are participating or spectating, then you pay a fee for either. They will normally hand you a waiver to sign if you are participating at this point.

    Tech Inspection/Staging: Depending on what the track is offering that day in regards to the format (bracket racing, grudge, open, etc.) your tech inspection and staging may be different. If it is an open/grudge night, where pretty much anything can run, they will most likely provide tech inspection at the staging lanes. If it is a sanctioned event, or non grudge event, then you will likely need to find where the tech inspection is held, and go there prior to staging. This format varies for track to track so don't be afraid to ask at the payment window. At tech inspection they will look at your car and safety equipment, then again have you sign a waiver, and normally provide evidence of the inspection completion by writing your car number on the windows, and providing you with a wrist band.

    As someone else mentioned, do not forget to wear long pants. They won't let you run otherwise.

    In case you haven't figured it out, staging is where there are multiple lanes that the vehicles line up in, which all eventually merge to the 2 race lanes. Just pick any lane, and follow the vehicle ahead of you. Once you get up to the front, you will encounter two track personell. The first is the stageman or flagman. He will be positioned before the bleach box/water area. This is a wet area on the track used to spin your tires in and heat up the rubber. With AWD, avoid getting your tires wet. When the stageman points at you and waves you forward, drive around the wet area. Don't worry, if he is in your way, he will move.

    At this point, you will encounter the race starter. Normally, what tracks do is they stage a car in each lane for racing, and at the same time, stage a car in each lane in the bleach box. The race starter does two things. He waves up the cars staged in the bleach box to the race start area, and he also indicates to the cars in the bleach box when they can start roasting their tires. Typically, when a race starts, he will have the cars in the bleach box heat their tires up at the same time. Pay attention to this guy, as he will be the one to tell you when to move up.


    Once you are actually in the race lane, look to the center between the two lanes. There are two sensors used to "stage" your launch, located at track surface, and sometimes very hard to see. These sensors activate the staging lights, which are 2 yellow lights. Going over the first sensor activates the first light, and the second sensor the second light. Once you've activated the second light, hit your brakes, as you are now "staged". If you go past these sensors, another light will illuminate. Just back up an "re-stage". Note that you can see not only your own staging lights, buy the other lane's as well. This is important, as once both cars are staged (both yellow lights on for both cars), this activates the light tree....so be ready!!!!

    Watch the light tree. It will go from yellow to green. The trick is to be launching when the green light comes on, providing you with a good reaction time. However, don't focus on reaction times initially, as unless you are bracket racing, it means nothing in your final times. A slow reaction time will not count against your 1/4 mile time unless you are bracket racing or maybe heads up racing....in which case you'll know if your were too slow because the other guy just beat you out of the hole. If you launch too quickly a red light will appear (called "redlighting"). Don't sweat it. You will still get a timeslip. Just wait a nanosecond longer the next time before launching. I look at it like this. On a grudge night, if I don't get at least 2 red lights, I wasn't trying hard enough

    There are numerous posts on launching and shifting, so do a search and that should hook you up.

    At the end of the 1/4 mile, there will be an exit from the track (left or right...just watch what side everyone is returning from). This will send you past the timing shack, where you will stop to receive your timeslip. Don't look at it yet...keep going and get re-staged. Many tracks will have you pass through the pitt area or spectator area, so keep your speed down once you get into that area when re-staging.

    When you are restaged, pop your hood to release the heat, and if possible, bring a bag of ice to cool down your intercooler with. Helps a lot!

    I probably made a few errors here, as I'm not reviewing it, so anyone want to chime in to correct me, please do so.

    Good luck!!
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    Registered User bcblues's Avatar
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    On the launch, I have had good results (1.6 60') by reving to 5000 on the first yellow and holding until the second to last yellow. Then as soon as you see the second to last yellow light, floor the throttles and let up quickly on the cluct. Don't drop it, just raise your foot quickly, a bit slower than the pedal would raise if you side-stepped it. You should feel the tires slip for a split second than then hook hard. The slipping of the tires initially is important (IMHO) since it allows the turbo to spool up.

    Shift at, or even a split second before red line in each gear, and DON'T run up against the rev limiter!

    You can toy with your tire pressures to get the right amount of grip that will allow you to spin for that split second. But, I strongly suggest that the first few times out, just keep everything the same and work on your technique.

  9. #8
    Registered User Jack's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys really helps. My freinds and I are going to make a trip down to englishtown when it opens up. I will show all of them this thread because it is very informative.

    Once again thanks!
    Tom
    -My name is Tom not Jack

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    Moderator YBNormal07's Avatar
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    Since you are using this thread as a sort of guidline, then some words on tire pressure may be needed. For a stock WRX, standard tire pressure should be ok. For an STI, raise the pressure to at least 42-46 psi. For both cars, the idea is to spin the tires off the line. This allows for boost to build quickly and be maintained during a launch. For the STi in particular, you do NOT want it to hook up at the launch...only after a bit of tire spin. There have been a few rare cases of rear axle snappage when this happens. Must likely these are freak cases, but better to be safe than sorry.
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    run about three-four gallons in your tank, put ice on intercooler in the pits, do not leave car running long in the staging lanes, raise the boost, take off your exaust and leave it in the parking lot, put a torque strap on your motor, put the best gas in your car can handle, take out your floor mat on drivers side, buy a short belt to by-pass your power steering, and take off your belt to a/c, fold in mirrors, must have windows up and seat belt on, and lights on at night.
    ask guy at burnout box to please not make such a large pool of water, and just roll around it. Do not stage lights untill you are relaxed, but alert, nobody is rushing you. Look at track and try to get tires in "the groove".
    These cars are the hardest to launch! Took me over 100 launches before I saw some 1.6 60'. I was thinking it was impossible! Yes I have every part made, and then some on my car. I have never raced a "stock" wrx, don't know what the limit is for 60' with a stock car. Don't ask how to launch, or you will get 86 different answers. just do it your way, and keep trying.

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    hey

    When i goto english town I try to get their as early in the morning as possible! Their is also a couple of places near by where you can rave also, their's a track in pen thats also not far away.
    No Ecuses Racing

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    Registered User crazycam31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbo2nr
    run about three-four gallons in your tank, put ice on intercooler in the pits, do not leave car running long in the staging lanes, raise the boost, take off your exaust and leave it in the parking lot, put a torque strap on your motor, put the best gas in your car can handle, take out your floor mat on drivers side, buy a short belt to by-pass your power steering, and take off your belt to a/c, fold in mirrors, must have windows up and seat belt on, and lights on at night.
    ask guy at burnout box to please not make such a large pool of water, and just roll around it. Do not stage lights untill you are relaxed, but alert, nobody is rushing you. Look at track and try to get tires in "the groove".
    These cars are the hardest to launch! Took me over 100 launches before I saw some 1.6 60'. I was thinking it was impossible! Yes I have every part made, and then some on my car. I have never raced a "stock" wrx, don't know what the limit is for 60' with a stock car. Don't ask how to launch, or you will get 86 different answers. just do it your way, and keep trying.
    That seems like a bit much for a beginner but good anyways. A few things I'd like to point out though. There have been a few people that get a lean condition when running very little fuel in the tank during launch or hard shifting. Maybe go with a little less than half a tank. Also, since you are shooting for some tire spin you may want to line up NOT "in the groove" since there is more grip there.

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    Registered User WrxRick's Avatar
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    What exactly do yall mean about the ice? Ive seen a few STi's put ice cubes in the intercooler fluid or something like that. And some of yall here say to just put ice up against the intercooler....Are yall saying to just get a bag of ice and place it ontop of the intercooler? Thanks...
    I wont be launching hard either. Its my first time using a manual transmission, im assuming that since the impreza is an AWD that if I start normal I will get a decent launch. Correct me if im wrong, I just dont want to burn the clutch much or drop the clutch. If I ever do anything like that, or slip, I wont launch past 3,000 rpms
    Please post any comments

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    Moderator YBNormal07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrxRick
    What exactly do yall mean about the ice? Ive seen a few STi's put ice cubes in the intercooler fluid or something like that. And some of yall here say to just put ice up against the intercooler....Are yall saying to just get a bag of ice and place it ontop of the intercooler? Thanks...
    I wont be launching hard either. Its my first time using a manual transmission, im assuming that since the impreza is an AWD that if I start normal I will get a decent launch. Correct me if im wrong, I just dont want to burn the clutch much or drop the clutch. If I ever do anything like that, or slip, I wont launch past 3,000 rpms
    Please post any comments
    Yes..just buy a bag of ice and lay it on the top of the intercooler. Launching normal and then flooring it is a good way to start when you first run with a manual. Progress to faster and faster launches as you get more experienced. If you ever really want to get a good launch out of it (and you will the first time some crap car smokes you out of the hole...believe me), you'll need to get it abouve 3K to do so. The STi clutch and tranny are extremely strong and can take quite a bit of slipping/launching. Just don't forget to raise your tire pressure. As usual though, practise makes perfect.
    tEh PriUs=teH faSTah!@@!
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    (Scott) Moderator-STi, Drag Racing, Car Purchasing, and Tutorial Forums

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    newb question, but why wouldnt you want to spin your tires, i can understand going around the water but why would you not spin your tires doesnt it warm them up. Thanks


    SR

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