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Cutting a Light!

Posted: Thu May 15, 2003 10:41 am
by Guest
OK--Let's all be honest, the most important thing in drag racing is cutting a light! For many of the races, the win light is determined by who cuts the best light. Certainly a consistent car and driving the finish line is important, but having good, consistent reaction times is key.
Psychologists would suggest that practice helps reaction times. Most psychologists would believe that a practice tree used a bit before the race (maybe 20 hits to get into a routine) can greatly improve reaction times.
What have you found to help cut good lights? :?:

Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 1:49 pm
by 99SSleeper
Being relaxed.

Everythime I "try" to get a perfect light, it is usually red or .030 late. Most people will try to time when the 3rd amber comes on...I usually leave too early when I do this. I thought of making some kind of blinder in my car that would only allow me to see the last yellow if i turned my head a certain way, then I think I wouldn't be so temped to try and count out the intervals.

How you stage the car also plays a part in it too. I always stage shallow and my r/t's are almost always in the .550 range on a .500 tree. This helps ETs, but does hurt the r/t's a little.

I'm sure practice has a lot to do with it, but I also think nerves play a big role as well.

Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 6:56 pm
by Guest
Focus on being consistent first, even if the lights are bad or you red light. You need to find a comfortable "spot" on the tree :!: to leave on. Of course, a practice tree is the most economical way to get consistent.

At the track, once you get consistent with the car, make changes to the car to adjust the overall reactions. I.E.:

Quicker - Raise starting line rpm, shorter front tire, more air in front tire, tighter converter.
Slower - Opposite of the above.

There are a variety of other things to do, including small rear tire pressure changes (maintaining the maximum contact patch is more important than the minor RT results) , suspension changes and/or learning to consistently roll in deeper for a quicker RT, but with a small loss in ET. It's easier to change the car once you are consistent rather than trying to change your reactions.

Practice enough so it's a "reflex". Thinking what you are doing takes time and is inconsistent.

Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 7:07 pm
by Locomotion
:? Thought I was logged in last time! :P

In addition to the above info, it will take some time before you can actually dial in a similar rollout/delay into your practice tree for similar RT's when compared to being actually on the track. But bottom line is still to focus on consistency and adjust the vehicle accordingly.

Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 7:46 pm
by 358T
What most beginners do is fail to stage the car consitantly. This plays a huge roll in reaction times. If the car is not staged consistantly one can't derive any meaningful patterns or tendancies from the on track results. I agree that a practice tree is very helpful but it only lets one practice half of the routine.

I'm at my best when I'm relaxed and I use the pratice tree just enough to keep the task a "reflex". If one uses a button to release the transbrake and/or delay box then he/she must be aware of how much pressure they are putting in the button. Different pressures yield different results. The difference from an extremely light touch to an extremely heavy touch can be .040 or so.

It is all about doing every detail the same.


Reaction Times

Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 11:03 pm
by Tami
This is a really interesting discussion.Cutting a good light is the single most important (and probably most difficult thing to do consistently) aspect of drag racing.I think two different threads are going on, first someone with a delay box and second someone without a delay box.
It is much easier to cut consistent lights with a delay box because a person can react to the first flicker of the yellow light and then adjust the delay box accordingly. Folks who don't race with delay boxes are going to have to come up with a method that works for them--ask 100 no box racers and you will get 100 different answers. But most psychologists would agree to use the "KISS" method--Keep it simple. Too much head turning, tape on the window, or other stuff is bound to get you in trouble and force you to think too much. It would be best to find a spot on the tree that you can consistently leave on and then adjust the car with the above suggestions. Psychologists would also agree that a practice tree is a good idea for most people.

Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 9:28 pm
by 358T
Tami, you are correct. I use a delay box. But I think that was easier to figure out because you know who I am. :wink: Don't you? :wink:

I started out in nobox though. No matter how you control the launch of the car, some things are the same. Mechanically, the car must be staged the same every time. Physically and psycologically the driver needs to be have same level of tenseness (sp) and mental state every time. Stiff and tense muscles react different than relaxed muscles. Excited and bored result in different reaction times.

The pratice tree enables a driver to work on many of these things. While practicing I concentrate on not being tense. For me this means not holding my breath, keeping the body relaxed but not lazy, and blocking out my surroundings. Believe it or not, I still practice bottom bulb on occasion. No matter if it is top or bottom bulb, my routine is still the same. While it is true that top bulb is easier to be consistant at, both have one thing in common though. That is anticipation. Anticipating the light happens in both. Some say that it is impossible to anticipate the top bulb. But believe me, it happens. If your mind isn't focused on making sure you see the light flash and you are trying to release the button as fast as possible you can be varying the tension on the button and as you are lessoning the tension (because you think the light is going to flash) the light comes on and you release. This will normally net you a red light, assuming that the box is set for a .00x and your routine is consistant any other time. The same thing happens on bottom bulb. Except, it's worse because you can watch the tree come down. If you are footbraking, its your feet reacting different instead of your hand.

Once you are consistant, most likely, you will be able to guess what you reation time is within .01 or even know if you fouled before you get your timeslip. I've always been aggressive on the tree and have lost many rounds with -.00X lights. With the aid of the bump up feature in the delay box I have only had 4 redlights during eliminations in the last two years. I can just "feel" when I have slightly anticipated the light. I can leave the box on kill and protect myself against the redlight with the bump up feature. With that being said though, I can only recall using the bump up about 8 times.

Have you ever heard someone say that they can be great on the practice tree but suck while in the car? Barring any car problems that can cause inconsistancy (there are many) the problem is probably because they stage the car inconsistantly and don't have good data to create trends by, and therefore can't change the car or the delay box correctly. Or, though less likely, they do not keep themselfs at the same level of intenseness and muscle tenseness.

Sorry for the book, just giving my input based on 12 years of experience.


Posted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 11:22 pm
by Tami
Hi Scott,

Yeah I know you, pretty funny that we live about 5 miles away and then post on a discussion board hosted in Michigan!

Great ideas on everything. There are quite a few guys who say they do really well on a practice tree and then not as well at the track. Of course, you don't have the variance created by the car (e.g., staging, RPMs, etc.). I also think that a person is much more relaxed when they are doing the practice tree. They don't have the stress of a race on the line. Same reason that a lot of people have better lights during time trials than during the race. One thing that can help with the practice tree is to try and make it as close to the race environment as possible (e.g., wear your gloves, etc.). Some guys actually sit in their cars and practice on the tree. I also think it helps a little to actually use the practice tree against someone else, this at least makes it seem more important.

Posted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 10:49 pm
by 358T
Yep, it's ironic to say the least. Small world isn't it?

It's funny you mention the thing about some people actually getting in the car to practice. After some slumps, I've went as far as not only getting in the car and putting on the gloves and helmet but also wiring the pratice tree to the actual button on the steering wheel. Talk about practicing with the same equipment you race with. LOL

One of the biggest challanges for me when I started going faster was getting used to wearing the gloves. Never realized how much I was depending on feel for the button.


Posted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:55 am
by comp
foot brake only way to get started,, street car on a test and tune day so you can make a ton of pass' =D>

good, the bad, and the ugly!

Posted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 10:16 am
by impulse
Good lights ,I think are a combination of pratice,and a good knowledge if your setup. Also track conditions, tire pressure, and also. driver conditon.. If your thinking of the goodlooking blonde from last night .Your not focusing on the tree. :oops:

Posted: Thu May 18, 2006 6:39 pm
by F1Fever
:D ... nttime.php
1) relax
2)find your spot on the tree and adjust your rollout from there
3)race the tree and not the other lane
4)healthy living improves reaction times

Posted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:46 pm
by camarokid
heres a site that has a few diff. types of trees for diff classes. for practice hope it helps

Posted: Fri May 09, 2008 2:46 pm
by GreaseMonkey52
Practice makes perfect thats for sure. A friend of mine who won the brakcets alot and was track champion suggested I order the Biondo practice tree. I use it to practice in 5 minute sessions and it really makes a difference. I also have it set-up so that I can use it in the car. That really made a difference. I practiced using the same routine in the car over and over and now its become second nature.

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:08 pm
by crash
has anyone else ever won over $8000 in a year of bracket racing at local tracks in the foot brake class? if you can learn to cut a light , they will fear you. they go red, they run it out the back failing to lift. you will not have to dail it on the number every time. rule # 1 cut a light - box or no box. rule # 2 see rule #1. let's play