Well the season is getting underway. Testing season that is. This past weekend I was working for an NHRA Pro Stock team testing in Bradenton, Fl. Now if you ever get a chance to work on a professional race team, the first thing you will notice is that its a game of tweaks and endless stacks of what may seem like useless or redundant information. Pin gauges and micrometers are the norm for checking jet sizes, air bleed diameters and float heights and I won't even get into clutch settings just to name a few. All this information is recorded with precision and programs and weather stations will tell us within .01 of a second how fast the car will go the next pass. It was correct 7 times out of 7 on Wednesday and 4 times out of 5 on Thursday.
You can almost think of a Pro Stock racer as a touring bracket racer. The car is super analyzed and known inside and out. Forget about bracket racing your pro-stock car and cleaning up though. The cost per run is astronomical even if you won a $20,000 to win event you would lose money. This is the Formula One of drag racing. Its expensive, cutting edge, educational and humbling.
Anyway, back to the point. Sure in any form of motor sports there is a need for good clutch, engine and chassis guys. Yet, before any wrenches are put in their hands a lot of paper work and computer data has been analyzed.
There are systems out there now that will give any average racer information he/she can use to adjust his/her car. From video taping the run/pull/lap or event. To recall tachometers and of course EGT and O2 meters. Some of this stuff is real affordable and takes away a lot of guess work. So think about investing in these systems or utilizing them to their fullest.
In racing there are the usual mad thrashes to make a mechanical change or fix to the car from one round to the next. But for the most part its all about record
keeping and data translation.
I can’t stress enough how important detailed information about your program can be used to help your program be faster or operate more consistently. That same information that may or may not assist you now, may begin to make sense at a later date with a clean eye and a clear head so don’t throw away any scrap of information no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time.
So write down everything. Keep notes, lots of them. Then in these winter months when you’re just sitting around thinking about racing, you can review your
mountains of notes and scribblings and find power and E.T. in the written word…Yours.
Sure its important to maintain a good operating vehicle and its also important to be a good driver. But anymore, exceptional driver ability is a given. No matter how much power you have, if you can't shift in time or react on time, you're probably going home early in any form of racing.
So set yourself up this year to become an information junkie. Write down everything and then use your brain or someone else’s later that night or this winter to interpret your next move. Wrenching on the car is important…but wrenching with information to back up your concepts is key.
Well we're off to Vegas to test again next week. I got my pencil...now give me something to write on man. (Van Halen, 1982)
Thanks for reading.