The most important thing about a practice tree is that you are practicing in the car. If you are sitting in the living room using a different, or same button as is in your car, it is ok, but not as good as being in the car. If you practice in the car, go thru all the motions of pretending to bump the car in to the second light with the brake, launching the car the way you would if you were at the track. This really works. All the other motions become second nature and never become a distraction at the track because you don’t have to think about them. I even put my gloves on. (Open xpit)
The next most important thing is working on a consistence release motion. This might take awhile and several changes in technique. The objective, if you are a box racer, is to be consistent, not fast. You should be able to analyze your track reaction time and your practice reaction time and adjust the roll out in the practice tree to match your track reaction exactly. I have found the trick to the best motion is find one that uses the least amount of muscles possible.
When you get that part down, then you can start working on a motion that is consistent. It takes some work, but when you get it you have it for life. Again, in car practice is the key. This is when the practice tree translates to the track exactly. What you learn practicing, you can now put to use in the car.
Next is focusing on the light. This takes practice also. Believe it or not practice with your eye motion. How many times have you cut a bad light and after the run you realize you weren’t even focused on the light? Here is a technique that works for me. After I light the first bulb I drop my eyes to the first yellow (I am a box racer) then back to the second bulb, then I do it again, training my eye motion to go to that first yellow when the second bulb is lit. From that point on there is nothing else in my world but that bulb.
Here is another trick that I have learned, and at first I didn’t like it, but I have found that by shorting the time I am focused, it helps keep my focus. That trick is not pressing the trans brake button until all four pre stage lights are lit. When I first heard that idea I didn’t like it, but I begin to play with it on the practice tree and became comfortable with it. If your track, and most do, have autostart, it reduces the amount of time you have to focus, and the amount of time your trans brake solenoid has to heat up. When I press that trans brake button it is a que to my brain to automatically lock in on that first bulb.
When you become confident in a consistence release you can add and subtract numbers from the box with confidence. At my track we qualify by reaction time. I can take .010 out of the box and cut a .00x light every time. Then in eliminations put .010 back in to be safe and race. If I am racing a guy that I am up for, I might add another .010 to compensate for the adrenaline. If for some reason when I pull in I want to be extra safe, I can just press a little bit harder on the button and add another .010. When you reach that stage it gives you another whole level of confidence. In car practice is the key. Good Luck..