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Back to the track

August 23rd, 2008 · 2 Comments · Personal

It was another evening at the track yesterday, same crew as last time. The weather was really good, no stupid torrential downpours, nice clear skies and the temperature was falling fast. We got to the track almost 30 minutes later than last time, and the weather being as nice as it was I expected it to be crowded, but it was even emptier than two weeks ago when we finally pulled into the staging lanes. Getting through tech inspection was, again, the longest process. I don’t understand why they can’t split the line into street stock cars and tuners, because once I get up to the guy I just hand him my form and license, he writes my number and lane assignment on my car, and off I go in less than 5 minutes. Before that though I’m sitting in line playing games on my iTouch for like 20 minutes. Next time I might as well bring a friggen book.

Anywhoo, we only had to sit in the staging lanes for a few minutes before they started pulling cars onto the track. I came back this time with a different strategy than before, after having a conversation with some other gearheads over at GDNet I set my shift light to blink at 5800 RPMs so that I would shift and drop the revs down into my power range, since my engine’s torque hits maximum at 4800 RPM. I unfortunately could not couple this with a “chirp start” as recommended in the aformentioned discussion as I never took time to practice. In hindsight I probably should have because, once again, my start times spelt my doom.

Run 1

Temp: 76 degrees F
R/T: 1.036
60′: 2.341
330: 6.331
1/8: 9.550
MPH: 76.41
1000: 12.330
1/4: 14.657
MPH: 97.27

Yowch! The last time I crossed the line going 97mph I managed to pull down a 1/4 time of 14.4 for crying out loud. Next run I tried to start with my RPMs up higher and ended up spinning out completely through first gear. Rather than let up the throttle, I just waited until my shift point came and then continued to roll out in second. I still managed to beat my Mazda 6 buddies times, but it was my worst run ever so far

Run 2

Temp: 74 degrees F
R/T: 1.215
60′: 2.645
330: 6.969
1/8: 10.302
MPH: 75.97
1000: 13.140
1/4: 15.493
MPH: 95.58

So that was pretty disappointing. During the downtime before the next run, I took a few pictures of the cars racing down the track and met with some of the other car owners in the staging lanes. There were two other Z’s there as well as 2-3 G35s. The other two were both better than mine, one being an 06 and the other was an 08. The 06 was twin-turboed with an intake, exhaust and drag wheels. The 08 was an enthusiast trim, so it had an intake and exhaust as well. Both being later model years than mine meant they had more horsepower. The 06′s I think run around 300 while the latest 08′s I think are up to 308 or maybe even 312. Too lazy to check. Anyways the 06 guy (I don’t bother asking for names, cause I know I won’t remember anyhow) had a brother who owns a tuner shop not to far from me, so I got his card. Then the 08 guy I saw had spray-painted his stock rims black with Duplicolor paint – and they looked nice. My friend Andrew (there with his Mazda 6) had just earlier recommended that I spray paint my wheels instead of coughing up mucho dinero for new rims. Seeing how nice my calipers came out, I’m seriously considering it!

Soon enough it was time to hop back in our cars for the third run.

Run 3

Temp: 73 degrees F
R/T: 1.101
60′: 2.356
330: 6.315
1/8: 9.536
MPH: 77.88
1000: 12.308
1/4: 14.617
MPH: 97.35

Well, I had gotten my time back down from my last run, but still it was almost a full tenth of a second slower than my first ever drag run two weeks ago. What the fork? Luckily we were allowed a fourth run because it was only 7:41 and it still wasn’t as crowded as two weeks ago. That, and there weren’t any accidents on the track either that required cleanup crews and resurfacing and all that crap. So things were moving pretty smoothly and we were back on the track for our last run in an hour.

Run 4

Temp: 71 degrees F
R/T: .729
60′: 2.391
330: 6.364
1/8: 9.579
MPH: 77.40
1000: 12.354
1/4: 14.646
MPH: 97.77

Too bad that last run didn’t do anything for me, being a few hundredths of a second slower than my third run, which turned out to be my best for the night.

So what happened? How’d I pull down a best time of 14.3 two weeks ago and ended up consistently racing three-tenths slower the next time? I checked my weight off the track and I was within comparable heftness to the last time (quarter tank of gas, no spare tire, cleaned-out car, etc – 3,284lbs) so that wasn’t the case. I didn’t check my tire pressure, this time or the last time but even still that alone can’t count for three-tenths of a time difference.

I think I just came back with too much knowledge. Last time I didn’t really know how to drag, but I knew instinctively how to make my car go fast (I do it all the time, after all :P) so I just drove as fast as I could. This time I tried to be a bit more technical – watching my starting RPMs, shifting at the proper time instead of just smacking the redline… my theory is that I thought too much. So, I certainly don’t want to toss proper technique out the window and just wing it everytime which means I have to either hit the track more often and practice timing my shifts and my starts so they become more intuitive to me ($$$$$) or find an empty parking lot with enough room to at least use my iTouch and Dynolicious to work on my 60′ times. I’m thinking the latter ’cause I’m cheap :P

However I’ll definitely be hitting up the track again – the season doesn’t end I think until October or November, depending on the weather, so plenty of time to get back. 3-4 timed runs for $24? Can’t beat that I’ll betcha.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Kevin

    Ever read the book The Dip? I think that's what you're experiencing. :) Really though, it's a pattern for people to do really well when they start something, then they get into it and research and learn, then they try to apply their new information and do worse than when they started. Of course, if you keep at it (i.e. The Dip), then you'll pull through.

  • Kevin

    Ever read the book The Dip? I think that's what you're experiencing. :) Really though, it's a pattern for people to do really well when they start something, then they get into it and research and learn, then they try to apply their new information and do worse than when they started. Of course, if you keep at it (i.e. The Dip), then you'll pull through.

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