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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to All,

Roger Stockton wrote:

>I am a bit confused by John's explanation of 'heads-up' racing though:
>if I understand him correctly it makes no difference who is the first to
>cross the finish line, nor if one lane red lights; the winner is whoever
>has the best ET?
>
>

Actually, that's essentially it.

As I said before, it's of course much better to see both cars leave the
line together, and that's exactly what both drivers try their best to
do. Unless there is a large discrepancy in the reaction time, the car
with the best ET is also the one that crosses the finish line first. In
heads up racing, as opposed to bracket racing, there is no
handicap...that staggered computer controlled head start thing to help
make it fair for the car everyone knows in advance, is the slowest
machine (the expected ET is already written on the side glass for all to
see). In heads up, the cars are sent on their way at the same time, just
as it was in the days of illegal street racing, and the quickest car
always wins...the way it should be. Unlike bracket racing where everyone
knows what the dial-ins are of both cars before they even race each
other, in heads up you watch in anticipation and have to wait to the end
of the run to see which 'car' was quicker (who won). In bracket racing,
you can actually have the slower car and win...boring! For me, bracket
racing is like socialized racing where the playing field is
intentionally leveled so that slower cars can have a chance at winning.

>What's "heads up" about the race if it
>makes no difference if the racer leaves the line before or well after
>the green light?
>
>

Again, no one intentionally does this. I can assure you, that when the
Zombie pulls up next to a macho Vette, the guy's certainly not wanting
to just sit there and let a little bat-tree powered Dat-sun get off the
blocks before he does. I know of no one in these Friday and Saturday
night late night drags who wants to be seen sitting at the light while
the other guy takes off. The point is though, that in heads up racing,
most everyone is trying to see how much better they can get their ETs
to....exactly what we need to show the world the performance potential
of EVs! It's all about getting the quickest ET possible. Bracket racing
is about the 'driver' winning...heads up is all about the best 'vehicle'
acceleration possible...which one is best for advancing the performance
image of an EV previously thought to be s-l-o-w, dull and boring?

Try this....in bracket racing, you can take a dog-slow 4500 lb. 96V EV
to the track and against a much quicker gas car 'win' the race. You
will, however, lose the battle over winning the hearts of car fans.
Instead, they'll all be laughing at the EV that has to have a 10 second
head start (to even the playing field) while they'll cheer on the gas
car that has to use its raw power to catch up and try to overtake the
EV. In a heads up race, the electric has to have the same raw power and
has to demonstrate it's better with a lower ET at the end of the
run...this is the opposite effect and it wins race fans' hearts instantly!

>I thought the big difference between bracket and heads-up racing is that
>the winner in bracket racing is the racer who is most consistent (i.e.
>runs the closest to their dial-in without going quicker (breaking out)
>than it) while heads-up is all about who gets to the end of the track
>first.
>
>

You have the last part backwards. In bracket racing, if everything goes
as planned (no red light, no break-out), it is indeed, the car that
crosses the finish line first, that wins. The whole contest, after the
leveling of the playing field staggered start thing, is to not red
light, stay within your dial-in, and still get across the finish line
before the other guy. It's fun, but it does little to advance the image
of electric performance.

>Brackets may emphasise the
>consistency of a vehicle's (and driver's) performance while heads-up
>racing emphasises the absolute performance (speed/ET), however, in both
>cases a skilled driver is going to make the difference between a win or
>loss.
>

To an extent, you are right. But, it's still more about the driver in
bracket racing over the car, and it's still about the car over the
driver in heads up. Yes, in both cases, it's best to have a good driver
rather than one who isn't...that's kind of a no-brainer.

Roger, I spend I lot more time at the strip than you do, so I doubt you
hear all that Tim and I have heard over the years. In heads up racing,
after a run where a car's ET is impressive, everyone is talking about
the launch, the hole shot, the acceleration, the ET, the trap speed, and
most importantly, the car! They all come to see the car afterwards,
whether it's an electric, or a turboed ricer, or a classic V8. Pretty
much no one is talking about the driver, or the strategy used to beat
the other guy, or the purposeful hitting of the brakes at the far end to
keep from braking out, or the stealth paint job designed to make it hard
for the other guy to see where the nose of the car really is....there's
none of that posturing going on. Instead, it's all about the motor, the
gears, the tires, the fuel supply, the torque, etc. As I said, it's all
about the car, this is what we want the public to remember...the EV!

Wednesday night, as it always is in bracket racing, we heard the
complete opposite after runs were made. We heard things among the other
bracketeers, like 'man, you really psyched that guy out...you
sand-bagged him...your reaction time was awesome...you fooled him at the
end...you intimidated him...you're so skillful...etc., etc. It's a
completely different take, and the focus is all about the driver, his
reputation as a skilled competitor, what races he'd won, etc. The guy
pitted right next to us had a 10 second trailered-in 1/4 mile car that
was running low 6 second 1/8 mile ETs. Of those who came by to talk with
the driver, barely a word was said about his car...why would there be?
Though powerful, it was the same old gasser thing that dozens of others
also had at the track that night. The car was nothing special at all.
Instead, they all came by to congratulate 'the driver' for his win over
the other guy, they talked about his staging strategy, they talked about
his percentage in his dial-in, and they talked about 'his' reaction
time....it was all about the driver, very little about the car.

> I think it's a fairly safe bet that one could not replace either
>Tim or Dennis with a driver picked at random from the crowd and get the
>same sort of performance from the vehicle.
>
>
>

On this, we agree. You've got to have a competent driver who knows the
car, knows how to keep it under control, and knows how to exploit the
best of it and how to avoid the worst of it.

Roger, a suggestion...take some time and go to your local drag strip
over a few months. Go to bracket racing events, and go to heads up
events. I think you'll do a 180 from your current position once you see
for yourself, the completely different culture of the two. I've done a
lot of both styles over the many years I've drag raced, believe me, and
the difference between the two is HUGE.

Back when cars and their power plants were still being developed and hot
rodding was in its formative years, heads up was the 'only' racing
style...may the best 'car' win. People bragged about their 'Hemi' or
their 'Super charged small block', and there was devout brand
loyalty....it was all about the cars! As cars improved and the after
market hotrod scene evolved, pretty much all cars could be quick and
fast...just go out and buy the right go-fast stuff. The NHRA knew this
and instigated bracket racing to make it easier for the masses to be
racers....you suddenly didn't need to have the quickest car to win, but
you 'did' have to be good at driving to win...the focus shifted to the
drivers. Why not? The cars are all the same technology, the same old
thing...nothing special to get excited about.

If EVs were mainstream and there were all sorts of companies selling
go-fast EV parts, my desire to push heads up style racing would fade
back, because the mission would have been accomplished (EVs widely known
about, accepted, and mainstream for everyone to drive and enjoy). That
is far from the case today and EVs need to be showcased, not the racing
EV's drivers.

To quote Roger "Heads-up racing emphasizes the absolute performance
(speed/ET)"

In conjunction with the efforts of many pushing advanced batteries and
specifically extending the range per charge of the EV, this is exactly
what we need to keep doing until everybody gets it!



See Ya.......John Wayland

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
John Wayland wrote:

> Actually, that's essentially it.

Geez, John, just when I think I've made sense of it you go and confuse
me all over again! ;^>

> Unless there is a large discrepancy in the reaction time, the car
> with the best ET is also the one that crosses the finish line
> first.

I'm not sure if you mean this literally, or if you are meaning to make
it clear that there isn't a handicap to stagger the starts as in bracket
racing.

> In heads up, the cars are sent on their way at the same
> time, just as it was in the days of illegal street racing,
> and the quickest car always wins...the way it should be.

My understanding is that clock starts ticking when the light goes green
and stops when the vehicle crosses the finish line. The time between
the green light and the vehicle breaking the staging light beam at the
start line is the reaction time, and the time from here until the finish
line is the ET.

I've only street raced, where obviously both vehicles try to launch at
the same time and the first to the finish wins. I thought that heads-up
racing was meant to provide a venue to get this sort of racing off the
streets, and so that the winner is the one who gets to the finish first
just as in the street version. This would mean that it is not the ET
alone but the lowest combined ET+reaction time that determines the
winner.

(In the case of the Mazda/Zombie race, the Mazda's ET was only a few
hundredths slower than the Zombie, but neither it or the Zombie cut
particularly great lights; I'm not saying I could do better, just that
someone like Dennis driving the Mazda would have cleaned Tim and the
Zombie's clocks, making it to the finish line first.)

Perhaps the head-up racing you participate in is 'informal', where there
is nothing at stake each run but one another's pride and so the winner
is taken to be the one with the better ET, but in a more formal
'eliminator' type of event perhaps the 'win' light would be used and it
would be clearer if the win depends on ET alone or ET and reaction time
(first to the finish)?

> The point is though, that in heads up racing, most
> everyone is trying to see how much better they can
> get their ETs to....exactly what we need to show
> the world the performance potential of EVs!

I may disagree with you about the nature and attraction of bracket
racing (I particularly think you downplay the importance of the vehicle
in delivering predicatable and consistent performance), but I agree
completely with you regarding heads up as a good venue for demonstrating
the performance potential of EVs.

I do not, however, think that bracket racing doesn't provide similar
opportunities. I think it would be a mistake to underestimate the value
that Dennis's long career of EV bracket racing has for putting the ICE
world on notice regarding the performance potential of EVs.

> To an extent, you are right. But, it's still more about the driver in
> bracket racing over the car, and it's still about the car over the
> driver in heads up.

Yes, I would agree with this, though I'd be inclined to state it as the
two different types of racing emphasise different aspects of the
vehicle's performance and the driver's skill, with bracket racing
perhaps requiring greater driver skill.

> Roger, I spend I lot more time at the strip than you do,

Which is exactly why I'm trying to get these nuances explained by the
experienced racers on the list, such as yourself!

> Roger, a suggestion...take some time and go to your local drag strip
> over a few months.

I probably should (my local strip is Mission Raceway, I believe you took
the Zombie there some years ago, but there was a kafuffle over your
helmet's ratings... ;^), but I have to confess that I don't really find
spectating all that interesting. I've been out a few times for the road
racing, but haven't made it for the drags yet (it helps that a friend
road races, but I don't know anyone who drag races there). I'll
probably visit the strip more when I've got a car to run (you know, had
I made it to PIR for the NEDRA nationals this year, I think my EV
could've taken Chris' Honda...).

Having made the pilgrimage to Woodburn multiple times, I've got to say
that all-electric drag racing is significantly less involving for the
spectator than ICE racing due to the lack of audible feedback to the
crowd. I think the absolute best way to showcase the performance
potential of EVs is to pit them head-to-head with ICEs, just as you and
Tim and Dennis, etc. do regularly.

Cheers,

Roger.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
--- Bill Dube <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> Here is how it works:
>
> http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=977040
>

Hey Bill, I read all about torque and launching v8's and v6's, standard and automatics, front and
rear wheeel drives, but where's the part about racing your EV?

Sheesh, don't these guys know what they're missing?

Dave Cover, Least coaster longing to move west

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In a message dated 8/24/2007 1:01:52 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
[email protected] writes:


~~~Misunderstandings about how the timing works on the dragstrip are
pretty common. I have talked to folks that have drag raced for a
whole season (or more) that have misconceptions about it.

Here is how it works:

Who Wins? = In a drag race, the "winner" is the person that crosses
the finish line first, but does not commit a foul of any sort. If one
driver commits a foul, the other wins. If both drivers commit a foul,
there are rules for deciding the winner based on the sequence and
severity of the fouls.

World Record = For a record, all that matters is the Elapsed Time (or
the MPH at the end of the strip). Who got to the end of the strip
first has no bearing on a record. Some types of fouls are allowed.

Elapsed Time (ET) = The time starts when your front wheel cuts the
starting line beam and ends when your front wheel cuts the finish
line beam. Not effected by green light. You can wait up to 20 seconds
before you decide to go and your ET will not change, only your "reaction
time".

Reaction Time (RT) = The time that passes between when the green
light goes on, and when your front wheel cuts the beam on the
starting line. A very short reaction time is called "cutting a good
light." Crossing the starting line beam before the green light comes
on is a foul and causes a "red light". A red light will come on
instead of the green light.

There is about 10" to 12" between your front tire and the starting
line when you are "staged" with both of the small yellow staging
lights lit at the top of the tree. The three large yellow lights come
on at a specified time before the green light comes on (there are a
couple of different styles of sequence) The driver sees the yellow
lights, and uses them to time his "launch" so that he crosses the
starting light just an instant AFTER the green light comes on.

http://www.nhra.com/basics/basics.html
http://www.nhra.com/basics/index.html

and also:
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=977040

Bill Dube' ~~~

---------------------------------

Bill, this is an excellent, brief, description of the drags, couldn't have
said it better myself.




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