In this second installment of the series by The Tuning School about how to navigate the drag strip as a beginner, President Bob Morreale explains how to read your time slip. This is so you don’t look foolish to your friends when telling them what kind of times you pulled at the track, but you were reading off the wrong section, or you know what number to recite when someone asks about a certain distance. This will help you improve your time and keep the internet trolls at bay.
When you (hopefully) blaze down the track, you’ll turn off shortly after crossing the light sensors that display your time. At this point, the rest of the track goers know what your E/T was, but you have to make the trip to the time slip hut before you get to find out. Sometimes you can pull right up, sometimes you’ll have to sit behind cars, but whatever you do, don’t hog the hut by sitting in your car analyzing your slip; grab your slip and go find somewhere else to read it.
So what are you looking at, exactly? Knowing what you’re reading will help your tuning. The first read out on your time slip will be the R/T, or reaction time. This is how long after the light changed to green that you left the line. What you’re hoping to see here is all zeros, but even pro racers can’t get this part perfect every single pass. You can even get a negative number if you leave before the light turns green, this happens a lot, and costs a lot of drivers the race, it happens to all of us. The reaction time has no effect on your E/T, the timer won’t start until you start accelerating.
The next measurement is the 60’ mark that measures how quickly you got through the first measured segment of the track. There’s a lot of factors at play during the 60’, which is still at the point where your driving is going to make a difference, but your traction also plays a part here too. The more time you can shave off your 60’, the better your overall E/T will end up being. There’s a lot of things you can do as a driver to improve this time, you can also improve your tires and suspension; only after controlling these factors completely can you move on to tuning.
On down will be your 330’ mark, which can tell you a lot about your shifts. Then it’s on to your 1/8th mile, which is where some tracks stop, but this is where you see a lot of your torque. After that, it’s 1000’ and then quarter-mile E/T and mile per hour. This will tell you a lot about your top end and how well your horsepower holds out.
There’s a lot to be learned from your time slip, including how you can improve your driving skills, modifications, and tuning. Stay tuned for the next installment on beginner’s drag racing tips.
Elizabeth is a hardcore horsepower enthusiast with unmatched intensity for making things faster and louder. She wakes up for power and performance and only sleeps to charge up for the next project that’s heading to the track. From autocross to drag racing, Elizabeth is there with you, so stay tuned for her unique perspective on horsepower news, builds, tech info, and installs — with her, it’ll never be boring!