Using track position to your advantage

Each drag race is like a three-act story; it has a start, a middle and an end.

  1. First, you have the start.; staging and reacting to the Christmas tree
  2. Next, you have the run down the track, the middle
  3. And finally, the end, the climax where you drive the finish line

It’s the second “act” I want to talk about today, the run down the track as you head towards the finish line. This time can be used to great advantage.

Along the length of the track are consistent reference points you can use to judge your track position compared with your opponent, namely the timing beam reflectors and associated markers (cones, etc.).

Each of these fixed locations gives us a clue as to whether you will reach the finish line before your opponent. You can use this information to build a mental picture of how the race is likely to unfold and formulate a plan to drive the finish line.

If you feel you’re well in front by the 330’ cone, you could give it a rip to tighten the race up well before the finish line. If you’re behind where you think you need to be at the mile-an-hour cone, you can push and drop at the last moment.

How does the Time Slip Simulator help you to understand track position better? Because you can replay your race in 3D, you can get a good idea of your position at fixed locations along the track as compared to your opponent. When you couple this with the Run Generator feature, you have one-of-a-kind tools to help determine who will get to the finish line first.

For example, our opponent has dialled a 5.90 for the next round. He likes to hold a few numbers, so we have him on a 5.88. We’ve been running consistent 6.30s, so we use these numbers in the Run Generator to replay this race and simulate what a dead heat would look like.

During the replay, we slow down the playback speed and pause at the 60, 330, and mile-an-hour cones. We use the “Sideways” and “Watch Opponent” camera views to see where our opponent would be at each point. Now we have a good idea of what the race looks like if we are running even.

Sideways camera view - The Time Slip Simulator

During the actual race, if your opponent is in front of where you think they should be, they will reach the finish line first. If they’re behind, you will reach the finish line first. You now have a better understanding of your track position and can formulate a finish-line plan sooner.

You can also try a few different scenarios to see how the race could look under various conditions:

  • You or your opponent has the reaction time advantage
  • You’re both holding numbers
  • Your opponent likes to dial true, and you hold a few

There are a few things that you need to take into consideration. Savvy opponents will manipulate their track position, so you can’t get a clear picture.

  • Holding numbers puts us in front of our dial-in
  • Using a throttle stop puts us behind our dial-in
  • Depending on when it’s used, nitrous can put us in front or behind our dial-in
  • The greater the ET difference, the more difficult it is to get a clear picture of track position

What’s important is understanding your opponent’s tendencies and using visual references to build a picture of how the race is unfolding. This way, you can make good (informed) decisions at the finish line.

Side note: If you can get hold of run data from an event, it’s always a good idea to put your competitor’s runs into the Time Slip Simulator to get an idea of how they like to run their races. There are some tell-tale signs of racers who like to hold large numbers or run a throttle stop or nitrous.