So, you want to drag race, but you aren't 100% sure what's involved? You've come to the right spot, because this is Mo-Kan Dragway's Drag Race 101.
First things first, your car. Before making the trip to the track make sure your car is in safe and good running condition. Things like all your lug nuts are on and properly torqued. Make sure all of your tires are in good condition (and are not studded snow tires). Also, check that the vehicle doesn't have any leaks from the engine, transmission, rear end, etc. The reason for this is if the starter thinks that the car is leaking an unsafe amount of fluid, he will back you off from a run and ask you to repair the leak before coming back for another run. Another good idea is to make sure your car is clean (inside and out) so that when you leave the starting line your car doesn't dump out any foreign debris. If you are running a pick-up truck, please make sure that the bed of the truck is cleaned out. Just a good once over of your car is always a good idea before you head to the track. Doing all of this not only helps you get more runs, but your fellow racers as well. Most of these instructions were written with the stock street car in mind. If you have a modified vehicle, from mild to wild, check our general safety regulations for more information.
Once you get to the track (A map of how to get there is provided through this link.) if the vehicle you are driving is equipped with air conditioning now is a good time to shut it off for the rest of the night. Not only does air conditioning rob power from your engine when racing, but the condensation that drips out will get on the track and this takes time for the starting line crew to clean up.
Now that you have paid for your tech card at the front gate proceed into the pit area. Please keep in mind the 10 mph speed limit in the pits. Also, burnouts and dry hops are not allowed in the pit area. Find an open pit space and park there. While you're parked go ahead and fill out your tech card completely and legibly, at this point put it in your car where you won't lose it. This is also a good time to remove any loose items in the car (tool boxes, jacks, etc.).
The announcer will start calling cars to the staging lanes about 10-15 minutes before racing is to start. Once you have heard this call, head to the staging lanes with your car and tech card. At Mo-Kan we have a total of nine lanes. During most events we use all nine lanes. Pay attention to the announcer, as he will usually let you now which lanes are being used for what car type or class.
Once you arrive in the staging lanes a track employee will be around to pick up your tech card and put your car number on your windshield and passenger side window. Anytime your car is in the staging lanes you need to be as well. Do not leave your car unattended in the staging lanes. Once you near the front of the lanes pay attention to the staging director, do not leave the lanes until he has instructed you to do so. He will motion to you which lane of the track to use.
When you pull onto the track you do not have to drive through the water box, if you would like to, just drive around it. The water box man will motion you to start your burnout once he has determined that the pair of cars in front of you has made it sufficiently down the track. Do not start your burnout until instructed to do so.
Now here is where opinions differ greatly. Some people think with a regular set of street tires that little or no burnout is required. Others on the other hand seem to prefer a smokey burnout with their street tires. Really it is up to you. Either way, a dry hop to knock any debris off of your tires is probably a good idea. Once you have a few runs under your belt you should get a feel for what the tires you are using want.
Once you have completed your burnout watch the starter. If he is holding his hands out with his palms flat towards you, stop and wait for him to motion you towards the starting line. At this point start watching the Christmas tree. On the top of the tree on each side there are four yellow light bulbs (as pictured below), the upper most set of lights is the pre-stage lights. The pre-stage indicates that you are only seven inches away from the stage beams. Creep forward until the pre-stage lights are lit and then until the stage lights are lit as well. Now wait for the ambers on the tree to start to count down. Of course the idea is to leave just as the green light comes on, resulting in a perfect reaction time. If you wait until the green light comes on you will have a late reaction time. After several runs with the same car you should start to get an idea of where its spot is on the tree. Meaning, some cars launch hard enough that you wouldn't want to hit the gas until the third amber is full on, others might need to leave as the second amber goes out. Again, this takes practice.
All right, you've left the starting line and now you are barreling down the track at a high rate of speed. What do you do now? Look for the quarter-mile stripe. At Mo-Kan the second orange cone in the center of the track indicates the quarter-mile mark (the first indicates the eighth-mile). The quarter-mile stripe is also just about even with the scoreboards that display your reaction time, elapsed time and miles per hour.
After you pass the quarter-mile stripe it's time to slow down and make one of the three turn offs. The first turn off is about 100 feet past the quarter-mile stripe and should only be used if the car is having problems and you aren't going very fast. The second turn off is about half way down the shut down area and is usually used by slower cars. Then there is the third and final turn off. If you miss this turn off don't worry, there is a gravel run off area that you can use and make the emergency turn off. What ever you do, never turn around on the track and head back towards the starting line. This is a big no-no.
You are headed back to the pit area on the return road. It's a good idea to keep your speed to 25 M.P.H. while on the return road. When you get close to the pit area you will notice a white building on your left, this is the E.T. shack. This is where you pickup your E.T. slip with all of the information from your run.
The E.T. slip has the time and date of the run, your last name, your car number, plus your reaction time, 60 ft E.T., 330ft E.T., 1/8 mile E.T., 1/8 mile M.P.H., 1000 ft E.T., 1000 ft M.P.H., 1/4 mile E.T., 1/4 mile M.P.H. and the finish margin. The finish margin shows in seconds how far ahead the winner was.
Now you can either return to the staging lanes for another run (if it's a test & tune event) or go back to your pit area. Just keep in mind the 10 M.P.H. speed limit in the pit area and watch for other cars/people moving around in the pits.
Also if you have any questions before you head out to the track, there are several ways to contact us. You can e-mail us from the info page, post a question on our message board or visit our Facebook page. While at the track if you have any questions just ask one of track employees.