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History "Staging lanes poker"

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by loudbang, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. Yes

    3 vote(s)
  2. no

    2 vote(s)
  1. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 29,171


    Back when I started Drag Racing back in the early 60's I always ran in the stock classes for trophys because I didn't have the funds to move up to the money classes.

    In those days they didn't assign who you were going to race against. They "called the class" over the PA system and you drove up and got in line and who you ran was up to the gods of fate.

    Unless you had been racing for awhile and learned from some kind longtime racer or figured out how to play "Staging Lanes Poker" yourself you always got matched against a faster car during eliminations.

    It is played like this. Most people watched the time trials closely to see how their potential competitors ran during time trials or had their wife or pit crew report what was happening.

    So you eventually figure out under this system of staging cars you could even the odds of running a slower car simply by sitting in the pits watching to see who is moving up to get in line in the staging area.

    I ALWAYS got to the track real early so I could claim my usual pit parking spot for Staging Lanes Poker close to the entry to the staging lanes that way I could pop out right behind or in front of my intended victim for this run depending on how many cars in your class had already got in line. You had to count or have a crew member report if there were even or odds number of cars lined up so you knew to get in front or behind your victim.

    Or in later rounds you could most of the time get inline and be sent to the lane you want just by how many cars are in front of you because they always directed the first car to the left and the second to the right more on this later.

    So through the years I moved to better cars and had to keep playing poker in the lanes until I got my Super Corbajet Torino with Drag Pac. A GREAT CAR.

    I was on a tear and pretty soon I had 20 class wins in a row to my credit. With this car I wasn't afraid of anyone so as soon as they called my class I drove up into the staging lanes and most of the time I was first in line no more poker need for me.

    And I noticed a funny thing happening. NOBODY wanted to line up behind me so they would end up running against me. The pit lane behind me was EMPTY and there was always 13-15 guys in my class.

    LOL THEY were playing "Staging lane poker" against me. :rolleyes:

    They would call other classes and still nobody would show up so the announcer would get peeved and yell "Stock class E cars you have 5 minutes to be in the staging lane or you will be disqualified."

    AND STILL no other cars got in the lane LOL. :)

    The track announcer was getting real mad when finally he said in a gruff voice "gentlemen you have two minutes to be in line or you are disqualified." :mad:

    All this time I waiting in line and you can see the other cars in my class like a pack of sharks circling the pits waiting for someone to make the first move LOL.

    I got to know my nemesis For Stock eliminator sitting in the other lane and the same thing is happening in his D stock lane as he had a record as good or better than mine in his D stock black GTO. His name was Bob Stella and we were from the same town but really never knew each other.

    I don't remember how it was determined but every once in awhile the track would announce today we are having a Trophy class stock elimination, if you win your class you are entered in the elimination. Well we played lane poker off each other and invariably we would end up in the finals. And he beat me every single time. :(

    So finally a new guy or someone would loose their nerve and pull into my staging lane and it was like a parade with all the others cars following the sacrificial lamb into the staging lanes.

    Well Paul, the jack of all trades at Lebanon Valley, who ran Tech inspections, weighed cars, then staged cars said I know what these %$^%^&*78's are doing and I will fix their wagons and he started randomly assigning lanes and therefore opponents so you never knew who you would end up running.

    I got to know Paul quite well and he said "lets have some fun today when the class is called you stay in the pits and wait for someone to enter the lanes." So I did and it was great fun to see all the confused faces on the others drivers faces when I just sat there waiting for them. Finally some brave soul raced into the lanes and it was a mad scramble with all the other cars trying to get in line before I moved.

    I ended up winning E/SA class 32 weeks in a row before moving up to a 5.0 Mustang.

    So that is how we played "Staging Lane Poker" now it's time some of you drag Racers out there to post some of your Staging lane shenanigans or strategies so we can enjoy reading about them. :)
  2. GordonC
    Joined: Mar 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,987


    Been to the track many times but never raced, always a spectator. Its fun to hear little inside tricks like this! Thanks!
    HunterYJ, czuch and loudbang like this.
  3. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,470

    seb fontana
    from ct

    I used to see the others in my bracket class playing games in the staging lanes, was amusing at times to see the antics they would go through to make an honest looking delay to get in line..I never "gamed" with the car; I picked the lane that had the least cars and pulled up..Ran what ever was next to me, had a 50/50 chance as far as I was concerned.. How ever while waiting in line if asked how my car was running I verbal "gamed". Depending who I was paired with would determine my reply..
  4. The Shift Wizard
    Joined: Jan 10, 2017
    Posts: 1,956

    The Shift Wizard

    Mr. Loudbang, you and I are from the same era and experienced similar circumstances and culture at the strip(s). But in my case, we were lined up in pre-staging in two lines so my opponent was next to me as we advanced to staging. I played the "poker game" in the early rounds while it was easy to pick out a sacrificial lamb so I could focus on traction, testing any new mods and checking the competition. My "game" was to pick off a few easy prey at first to get into my rhythm and hopefully one or two of the faster cars would make a mistake or be paired off in their rounds and eliminate themselves. As the herd thinned and the weaker were killed off, the "game" for me changed to a more psychological one. I would start messing with the mind of the guy next to me in the line-up. I would do any number of little things to shake him up, either to worry him or piss him off. I could have gotten an Academy Award for some of my acting. LOL! My final shot was to let the other guy stage first then I would do a goofy roll-up a little too far, then back up a little too much, and even duck down under the dash like I'm adjusting something important. The trick was to do just enough delay to mess with the other guy's concentration and not enough to piss off the track personnel. The green always came on seconds after I staged and I was ready/set/gone.

    Beating the guy in the other lane was the main point, but for me, there was a second competition going on, too. I was always trying to beat my own time and shave a little off my E.T. Sometimes I could win a trophy but still have a "bad day" because I was slower than the week before or some new super tunning trick didn't work out. I was in a rather popular class and there would be 30+ cars showing up at the beginning of the season. But by the end, in the fall, there would be about 4 cars, maybe 6 at most because usually, no one took home a trophy unless I was a no-show.

    A few years later, the strips went to that bracket racing BS and took all the fun out of it and I saw no reason to go and run the exact same times over and over.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
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  5. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,934

    Jalopy Joker

    great stories/info - just a x-street racer here, which can be it's own form of staging poker
    The Shift Wizard and loudbang like this.
  6. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 29,171


    This is what I'm talking about great story. I'm sure a lot of us did this same thing psychological warfare LOL.

    And I was just like you with my early less winning cars basically what you said trying to do better each time down the strip even if you didn't win it was a win in my mind if I did better. THAT is what bracket racing took out of Drag Racing now they settle for the same time over and over without trying to improve your car or yourself.
  7. steinauge
    Joined: Feb 28, 2014
    Posts: 1,507

    from 1960

    Never ran brackets but have played plenty of staging lane poker-When I was running fuel bikes you would always take as long as possible getting staged hoping to get your opponent to over heat or lose fire.The more likely you figured he was to beat you the longer you tried to play. Needless to say this can backfire on you big time--

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