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Drag racing tips?!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 53 hemi, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Hemi Joel
    Joined: May 4, 2007
    Posts: 818

    Hemi Joel
    from Minnesota

    I think you have a good shot at this if you are prepared. If you can’t beat him, you can at least surprise him with how well you do. But you are going to need time to prepare the car, and to practice. You might as well do this right, because you will have so much fun you will be racing the car on a regular basis from now on. I have been racing stickshift Hemis for over 20 years, so I would LOVE to see you beat this guy. But it is up to you to spend the time and do the work to get it sorted out.

    Your first step is to prepare the car. You have to meet the track safety rules. Here are some of the basics that they will be looking for: Those slapper bars are going to need a u bolt or a strap on the front of them to prevent them from accidentally coming into contact with the track. You have to have a radiator overflow catch can. All of your wheel studs need to protrude through the lug nuts. You need a seatbelt, and an approved helmet. The battery needs to be securely attached. And you need a driveshaft loop within 6" of the front U-joint.

    Obviously, the brakes, steering and suspension all need to be free of excessive wear, and everything checked for tightness.

    You need to set the clutch up for .050 inch disc separation. The best way to do this is to install an adjustable clutch stop that limits how far you can press the pedal down. Adjust it so that you can just get a .050 inch feeler gauge between the pressure plate and the disc when the pedal is against the stop. If you don’t install a stop, you can do the same thing by using the floor as a stop and adjusting the clutch linkage, but your pedal will be pretty low.

    Since you have been loping around on the street with that big Isky cam, the backsides of your valves are probably all carboned up. This will KILL power and limit RPM. Pull the intake manifold and the exhaust headers and have a look. If they are carboned up, get yourself several cans of Berrymans B-12 carb cleaner SPRAY. Oriellys has it, most places don’t, or you can get it online. Don’t get the B-12C, that is the worthless California version, and don’t get the liquid you can pour, and don't waste time on any other cleaner. Berrymans B-12 carb cleaner SPRAY will melt that carbon off your valves like a snowball in New Orleans in August. Close the valve, spray and soak, scrape if you need to till they are clean, then blow out the port with compressed air. When you are done with all 16 and putting it back together, put a straight edge across the top of the ports, and mark the head so you will be able to see where the top of the ports are once the manifold and headers installed. Also lay the straight edge across the top of the ports on the headers and the manifolds and mark the flanges. So when you install them, you can see if the top of the ports are aligned. Usually they are off. To correct the headers, oval out the bolt holes as needed, line up the marks, and install. On the intake, try different gasket thicknesses if needed. This is almost free horsepower. If it is a solid tappet cam, adjust the lash to spec.

    Once it is all back together, you need to have someone sit in the car with the engine off and floor the gas pedal. Look down the carbs and make sure that all the throttle blades are straight up and down. Adjust as needed. If those are AFB’s or edelbrocks, make sure the secondary air valves open and close freely.

    I HIGHLY recommend a trip to the chassis dyno for a few hours. This will allow you a chance to discover any shortcomings, optimize the timing and jetting, and very importantly, learn where the horsepower peak is. Choose a good dyno shop that has O2 sensors for each side, is experienced with carbs, and has jets on hand. Then go weigh the car. Go here: and punch in the numbers. Now you will know what your car is capable of running at the dragstrip.

    The Clutch tamer “hillbilly softlock” are a good idea, but will take quite a while to sort out. It’s probably best to learn to race and launch the car without it, then install one later if you keep racing.

    This is part one. I’m tired of typing. I’ll cover part 2, the track, tomorrow.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
  2. There is a ton of good advice here. Joel has really nailed it on getting you coupe set up properly. I think with your coupe all dialed in and some practice at test and tune nights will have you well on the way to giving your buddy a hell of a run.
    loudbang, JUNK ROD, 53 hemi and 2 others like this.
  3. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 5,487


    One thing for sure. Your car looks way cooler than his.
    loudbang, swade41, JUNK ROD and 3 others like this.
  4. 53 hemi
    Joined: Jan 8, 2009
    Posts: 464

    53 hemi

    I can't say thanks enough! I'm planning on the race near the end of the month; I'll most definitely get lots of practice in!

    Sent from my SM-G950U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  5. mcmopar
    Joined: Nov 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,541

    from Strum, wi

    Here is my opinion and my friends say I have a lot of them. I just got back into racing and my truck turned out faster than I thought it would be.
    I am running 1937 dodge pickup, with a 340 mopar with trickflow heads, mild cam, 750 double pumper (to big right now), TKO 600 ( that don't shift to like I want it to and just spent another $700 on 2nd and 3rd gear so I can race another year), chassis engineering 4 link with pan hard bar, and a ford 8.8 with 4.11 gears. My truck weighs 2800# and I leave at 4000 rpm's. I don't have the chassis set up right yet and it bogs down leaving at that rpm. I shift at 6000rmp's, sometimes 6300. best time yet is 12.2 at 110mph.
    If you don't ever shift fast learn how to do it without destroying the tranny, in other words no speed shifting. I was told by the tranny builder, to loose a tenth of a second and save the tranny. Hemi Joel has some pretty fast cars and a lot of knowledge on this. I agree with practice, practice, practice. I watched my daughter go from 15.7 on here first run ever to a 13.5, in one day by just doing it and learning the tricks that day.
    Good luck and be safe. The good is that a Mopar will win the race anyways.
  6. SNELL is a rating not a brand. I probably wouldn't be able to race at PIR (or any sanctioned track) any more. My helmets have a BVD rating.
  7. raven
    Joined: Aug 19, 2002
    Posts: 4,619


    Uh, that’s mid-tens...


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    chryslerfan55 and loudbang like this.
  8. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 2,963

    from so-cal

    GEEZ, some of you out there a trying to prep the guy for a National event or something, only two things required here 1- listen and be respectful to the Tech person, 2- HAVE FUN
  9. RR
    Joined: Nov 30, 2008
    Posts: 99


    I would check with Towel City or the manufacturer to see what air pressure range you can run in the slicks you ordered. Late January in Gulfport, the track and air will be cool and you will want to run as low an air pressure as possible to maximize traction (but be aware that could affect top end stability of the car). That being said, unless you are really radical with the clutch, they will probably pull the engine down. Also check with the manufacturer to see what burnout they recommend. Not the same tires, but slicks and drag radials require different burnouts- the cheater slicks may have a specific type of burnout recommended.

    Otherwise, leave when the bottom yellow bulb starts to turn yellow. Your car will react slowly, so leaving on the yellow will give you the best reaction. Most people who don't race are typically slow on the tree. Practice is the best advice if you are serious on beating your buddy. Try different tunes on the engine, different shift points, etc. If you know the HP curve of the engine, leave just below peak torque and shift at maximum horsepower- or at least that's what a Pro Stocker once said.

    I think the advice given by dreracecar in the above post is probably the best in this thread- listen and have fun.
  10. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 916


    Anything you can do to rid weight, every 100# is a tenth. If you're heavy find a good light driver with a good reaction time. Some nitromethane in fuel helps. Lean and advance helps (before it blows). Accelerator circuits good (you don't want it to want more and sooner).
    Run nitrous oxide .
    Rig up a solenoid activated flat black painted aluminum sheet up under front, low, so you can press a button, break the beam at the top end.
    There are two kinds of racers...those who cheat and those who lose!

    Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  11. There is a ton of good advice here. I raced for four years before I got married. Had a ton of fun but was never any good. I had a lot more fun just running the car and not running for points. The only advice I can give is this:
    1. This is going to get in your blood and like any addiction, be very hard to kick.
    2. No matter how fast your car is, you will always want to go faster.
    3. There is no such thing as “too much power”.
    4. Contrary to what some have said, if you run slicks or drag tires, you will be REQUIRED to have a driveshaft loop.
    5. Cars that are driven to the track and raced are super cool until you break a transmission bellhousing on a THM350 and have to limp the car home 50 miles at midnight going 20 mph. Ask me how I know this.
    6. Stick shift cars are very cool and fun to drive, but well built automatics are easier to race and MUCH easier on parts. When you get addicted to racing, consider an automatic.

    Good luck, have fun, be careful and you have been warned!

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  12. RmK57
    Joined: Dec 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,444


    #4 isn't correct. You can run an M/T D.O.T. drag radial with no driveshaft loop. Has the R2 compound developed for drag radials and works quite well. That being said a driveshaft loop is good idea in any car you drag race.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  13. Tickety Boo
    Joined: Feb 2, 2015
    Posts: 1,091

    Tickety Boo
    from Wisconsin

    Drag Racing Consumes you, your time and money. But its a great learning experience and you may become an excellent tuner. :cool:
    chryslerfan55 and JUNK ROD like this.
  14. Yes...No

    Interesting thread.
    I'm afraid you are at a big disadvantage here. Your friend already has an idea of where to leave on the tree. Most likely , he already has a line lock . That being said, when I used to be the shoe for my buddies' 4 speed cars, I didn't have one either. You get pretty good at right heel , brake, right toe, gas. They do help with the burnout.
    So far, not mentioned ,are interval times.. For your purpose, just worry about the first one..60' time, on practice night.
    It will tell you whether you need more starting line RPM..or less. If you can lower the 60' by say a tenth, you should double that in ET pick up on the other end, anyway.
    Of course , reaction time is the first number to concern yourself with. I do believe your car would give your buddy some trouble, but if you're leaving two tenths on the line with r/t, that's about two car lengths you'll have to make up.
    Lots more to discuss here, but I'd suggest working with an accomplished stick shift racer near you, if you can find one.
    Let us know about practice night..We'll do what we can from there.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
  15. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 9,995

    from Missouri

  16. Almostdone
    Joined: Dec 19, 2019
    Posts: 232


    I love your hot rod, but you won’t beat the Dirt Wagon! You two will have a lot of fun though.
    JUNK ROD and 53 hemi like this.
  17. 53 hemi
    Joined: Jan 8, 2009
    Posts: 464

    53 hemi

    Hahaha don't tell Tom I'm looking for advice here!!
    Sent from my SM-G950U using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    chryslerfan55 and JUNK ROD like this.
  18. Ok, I stand corrected, but when I was racing they were required with slicks or tires like the Hoosier Quick Time drag tires (are those still being made?).

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  19. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,478

    from PNW

    practice and a well tuned car is a must. the time slip i'm most proud in my short drag racing career reads 37.17@123.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  20. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 6,515

    from Nicasio Ca

    DO NOT race for pinks.
  21. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 999

    from Brooks Ky

    First thing you should do is tell him you'll race him later this year, maybe in the late spring.
    Then take your car to the track with your stock tires and make practice runs for a few weeks.
    Experiment with tire pressure, and try to decide on an rpm that launches and gives you the best reaction time and the best 60 ft time. Also note how your car pulls the rest of the way. Does it pull strong the rest of the way ? What I'm saying is to consider what you are doing by analyzing the first 60 ft as one part of the race, and the rest of the track as another part.
    By using your stock tires you can gain a little experience and consistency and have less chance of breaking something. After a month or so, you should have some idea how fast your car is,and if you have any chance to beat him. Then put your slicks on and adjust for the change in traction and probably overall gear ratio and see what else you need to make it work. At the very least you are going to need some type of traction bars and positraction. Those are nice starting points if your car doesn't have them and you will like having them even after you race.
    chryslerfan55 and JUNK ROD like this.
  22. AldeanFan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2014
    Posts: 545


    Here’s my similar story to the op’s.
    My friends have been racing for at least 5 years and have race only cars.
    I had tagged along with my ‘54 Country Squire twice and made about 6 passes over two weekends. They were incredibly slow but so much fun! Also I got to learn what you do at the track, how to go through tech, how to stage etc.

    Last summer one of my racing friends wanted to try his Valiant street car on the track and I brought out my FFR.

    His car is a 360 4 speed with 355 gears,
    Mine is 302 5 speed also with 355 gears.
    He’s got almost 100 horsepower on me but I’m at least 1,000lbs heavier.

    First pass we ended up side by side. I had planned to make an easy first pass and feel the car out, but we both knew this would be for bragging rights.
    I had bought a set of used drag radials from a friend but I had too much air pressure and no line lock so I didn’t get a good burnout.
    He was running BFG T/A’s so I still had the advantage.

    As soon as we were waived up I forgot all about my friend. Don’t worry about what the other guy is doing, just run your own race.
    I did a weak little burnout and staged the car mostly in the groove. The track officials were lining up street cars out of the groove and my friend didn’t understand the hand signals, it looked like a drivers ed car parallel parking.

    The light when green and as expected my experienced friend tree’d me bad but his lack of tire meant his lead didn’t last. I spun for at least 2 car lengths. When I finally got traction the car hooked up and took off like someone shot me out of a cannon.
    The night before I had added a shift light. I remembered to look at it shifting in to 4th and that’s when I realized that was the fastest my car had ever travelled and that I had a lot more gas pedal than I was using. In that split second I took my eyes off the prize my friend passed me, 6-pack carbs wide open.
    I lost but had more fun than should be allowed and learned a lot about my car.

    I need to either move the seat or the gas pedal so my knee isn’t locked at wide open.

    I need to learn how to shift a lot faster.
    I need to move the shift light where I can see it better.

    Most importantly I need more traction. Line lock is already installed and I’ll have proper slicks this summer.

    My friend of course is installing headers as we speak so the competition will be tough again.

    Hope this story helps,
    Have fun, be safe!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  23. SEE POST # 2
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  24. One time my sons had a couple of cars. one a64 fairlane 289 4 speed the other a 70 chevelle 350 turbo 350. This guy older than them but younger than me wanted to drag race them. had a 350 high Hp engine in a chevelle .I told him I would race him with my 302 ford mustang. 1972 stock 2 bbl C4 auto. the rear end seal had leaked and ran dry. spider gears galled and it was noisy. So we lined up and I held the brake and came up on the converter as much as possible. And I jumped him out of the hole and beat him by more than a car length. those chewed up & galled spider gears where almost like a locked rear end. I never spun a tire just took off. Leave first is a good start.
    chryslerfan55 and JUNK ROD like this.
  25. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 999

    from Brooks Ky

    As you probably realize, being able to somewhat tune a cars rear suspension can have a dramatic effect on how a car leaves the starting line......and many races are won/lost in the first 60 feet. The "slapper bar" will most likely stop wheel hop and may add some traction, but I've never considered them to be a true "traction bar". Thats just my personal view though and maybe the car will perform satisfactorily with them. Myself, I would never use them. I think getting a car to hook up properly is the biggest key to winning to HP that is.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  26. See if you Can get your Car Dyno'ed and What ever it is Add 1or2 hund. more
    RPM to geting out of the Gate.
    Your Friend will try to get you to Screw up your Head at the
    Starting Line by Doing Burn outs & Pulling Wheelies
    Don't fall for it &
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  27. In a early Post wait for the Third Yellow Light to come on &
    count 3 seconds & GO

    Just my 3.5 cents

    I Raced for 6 Years at NY National Speedway in LI,NY
    and other Places, back in the Day when it was Men & Machine.

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
    chryslerfan55 and bobss396 like this.
  28. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 9,995

    from Missouri

    If you wait for the third yellow and then count three seconds, you may as well pack your lunch and have a sandwich while you're counting. :confused:
    Gammz, JUNK ROD, Mark Yac and 3 others like this.
  29. Saltflats it must have Changed since I was Racing back in the
    early 70's

    Just my 3.5 cents

    Live Learn & Die a Fool
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  30. sevenhills1952
    Joined: Mar 14, 2018
    Posts: 916


    Yes...1/2 second delay between lights is all you get on a standard tree!
    Stage deep! Let the other guy stage up first. He'll do his burn out, heating his tires, then you burn out...pre-stage then ever so slowly creep up until stage light barely comes on. His tires are cooling down and he's getting pixxed. You're deep, with a good reaction time just as that 3rd yellow fades...GO! But you don't want to break out (red light).
    When we were racing so lucky on this nice paved back road here almost no traffic, we'd practice here. Nice flat straight area then long uphill spot. Neighbors would come out watch the fun.
    A good stopwatch isn't worth much, we used one, we had road marked off and at least it was practice.

    Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk
    chryslerfan55 and JUNK ROD like this.

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