Episode 4: Four Ways to Adjust Your Vehicle Rollout

Welcome to The Winner’s Circle, a Drag Racing Podcast.

I’m your host, Leroy Leese. Our goal is to help you win more rounds at the track by sharing tips and tricks. This is episode four, brought to you by dragtracker.com an online logbook serving the racing community through tools and technology. In this episode we’re going to cover four things you can do to affect or change your vehicle rollout. But before we dig in, I want to encourage you to check us out at dragtracker.com. On the right side of the website there’s a voicemail link. If you click that link you can leave me a voicemail and share stories or questions for a future topic on the show. Also to leave a comment about this episode go to dragtracker.com/podcast and click on episode four. There you’ll find a transcript with links from the show. We also out a youtube version of the show, so check us out at youtube.com/dragtracker and subscribe to our channel. We update it with podcasts and other videos, so check it out! Another way you can find us is we are now on Stitcher Radio, so if you use Stitcher radio as your radio, or iTunes we are all these places. So, feel free to rate us. If you rate us it helps us get more visible to drag racers. If anybody searches for drag racing, that’ll help us come up. Also I wanted to tell you about another drag racing podcast if you’re not aware. The WFO Radio podcast, the broadcast great NHRA footage. It’s really interesting, I really enjoy listening to it. Especially when I’m driving to work or whatever, where I can just get amped up about the upcoming race season. So check them out.

Alright, four ways to adjust your vehicle rollout. Now, if you runs delay box, you’re probably not worried about this at all. You set your car up to react, and make sure that it’s consistent every time, and that’s probably good enough for you, so I might not actually be talking to you for this episode. Who I’m talking to are the foot-brake guys who ever time they go up they’re either cutting a -0.010 light, or they’re constantly cutting an 0.070 light. You would ask yourself, “what can I do, I can’t react faster, maybe when it gets dark I react a little faster, but I feel like I’ve found a groove, I don’t want to mess it up. What can I do to the vehicle to change the reaction time?” Well you’ve got some things that you can do.

Tire Pressure

If you think consistently that you want to slow the car down a little bit, I would recommend letting some air out of the front tires. If you let air out, it’s going to squish a little bit, it’s going to come down, it’s going to increase the overall diameter as far as how it sits in the staging beams. And it’ll take longer to roll out of the staging beams. It also acts as a little bit of a suspension change because it’s springier so it takes more time for it to fill up that space as the car moves, and it takes longer to get out of the staging beams.so tire pressure is the first way that I’m going to say you can change a vehicle rollout, or vehicle reaction time.

Launch RPM

Another way is to change your staging, or launch RPM. So a lot of times what I’ll do, I mean it depends on the track, it depends on how I can tell my body’s reacting I will change the staging RPM from 2500 or 2400 and I’ll come down a little bit at night because I feel like I react fast and I want the vehicle to slow down a little bit. So I’ll change it. If I’m running 2500 in the day time I’m looking at 2300 staging RPM. So staging RPM is the second way to affect your vehicle rollout. Just drop it down a little bit, you’ll be a little slower. Or up against the torque converter, you can actually go up if you needed to increase your rollout. Now this will start to affect things. Like your 60 foot and It may affect your ET I mean if you change this number too radically because your getting closer to your RPM band. When you look at how long it takes the car to ramp up in those RPM as the torque converter is tightening up, it doesn’t take long. So this could be negligible but it’s something to keep in mind if you find that when you do make these changes then the car not only reacts faster but the ET is changing, maybe this isn’t an option.

Tire Size

Another option is to change the size of the tires. So we bought from Cosco or from Sam’s club an actual bigger radius street tire to try out and we found that it was better as far as my reaction times. When we were running a Goodyear Front Runner tire which looks great on the car. It had the Weld Wheel five star on there, it looked awesome. It looked like a pro stock car, but my reactions were just too close to going red too often. So there were driver inconsistencies there that we had to work out, but we just felt like it was too close to the edge of having too fast of a vehicle rollout. So we put on the big radials and I red light very seldom now. So that’s one of those things where you compromise how the car looks maybe just to get it so it’s more consistent.

Deep Staging

Then finally, deep staging. So, you know, when you pull into the staging beams and the prestage lights actually roll out, that’s know as deep stage. You don’t have to be deep staged to just do a deeper stage. You can roll two inches and still not have rolled out of the prestage beams, but you’ll be deeper staged then you would be if they just twinkled. So that’s something to think about too. The only reason I don’t like doing that a lot is because it tends to be difficult to be consistently the same amount deep staged. If you know you’re not turning the light off it becomes a guessing game. And as I told you in episode three, I really like to have a very consistent pattern from round to round, week to week, track to track, so that it doesn’t matter where I’m at, I feel like my system
keeps working. So if I’ve decided to start deep staging by rolling in just a little bit like once the light twinkles then I let off he break for just a little bit, and then I let it back on, and hopefully I’ve moved up one or two inches, the same two inches every time. It’s difficult to reproduce that run, after run, after run. So the only time I’ll do that kind of thing is if I’ve just done back to back rounds, I’m running in two classes, and I’m just consistently not hitting the tree, and I don’t wanna change my mindset of how I’m doing the tree. I’ll just bump it in, just a little bit more. But before that if I’m finding I’m going rounds and my tree isn’t where I want it to be I’ll probably change my staging RPM first, then I’ll tell one of my crew guys to either let air out of the front tires or out air in,
something like that, and then I’ll consider, if I’m still not seeing the results I want, then I’ll consider how deeply I stage. But I kind of look at that as a last resort. So I’m kind of curious if anyone else out there has any other ways to affect their vehicle roll out. One of the things I was thinking may be helpful is if you wanted to change suspension component, I’m personally not a big fan of that. Not only because of the expense and effort it takes to do that, but because it could start affecting your ability to have consistent traction. If you’ve got a ladder bar or whatever set up that you’ve finally got it dialed in you don’t want to go messing with springs to try and affect your vehicle rollout. You probably want to change some of these other thing first. But what are things that you’ve done? What are things that you’ve noticed affect it? I mean there’s something to be said for feeling so confident that your reacting the same
every week and you can bring a change to the car to help bring your consistency band down closer to that perfect light. Even when I’ve taken some time off and come back to it and I start hitting it 0.070’s, 0.060’s, sometimes I make one of these just to account for me getting back into the groove at the beginning of a season. And we’ll find that once I’m in the middle of the season I can start going back to what I had as far as roll out adjustments.

But anyway, I’m just curious, what have you changed? What have you seen done? If you want to leave a video response on our youtube channel, or leave a voicemail on our website, that would be cool. I’d like to hear that.

Alright, I want to give a shout out to Wade who we used a picture of his ’71 SuperBee as the thumbnail for this video. Thanks for letting us use a picture of your car. It looks like you’re wheels up. I wonder if there’s any trick to affecting vehicle rollout when you’re pulling a wheelie like that. Anyway, it looks great. Wanted to give credit to Steve the track photographer at Thompson Raceway Park, we’ll give a shout out to Thompson Raceway Park up there in Ohio. Looks like you got some good stuff going
on. Track photographer looks like he does a great job. Racetrack looks great. Lots of exciting things happening. So check him out, I’m sure Wade’s there racing on a regular basis. We just added some tracks to the dragtracker.com track database. So that takes me to the next cool thing. If you want your car to be featured as the thumbnail we’re taking requests. So we’d love to have a picture of your car. We of course have to have permission to use it. So we’ll just need to get in touch with whoever the photographer was. So if it was your brothers cousin, or whatever, we just need to make sure they’re okay with us using their picture. So go ahead and send it to me, podcast@dragtracker.com if we can get your car included. We need a high-def image. So if you could make sure it’s a high quality image that would be great. Email me if you have any questions about it and we’ll take care of it.
I had been asking for users to submit stories. I got this one at an event I was at a few weeks ago, this is Steve telling us about something that happened with his trailer. The reason this is interesting and the reason I wanted to use this story this time is because our next episode, episode five is going to be about trailer safety, and garage safety, and how to protect all these assets that are ours as racers. You know, we want to protect the good stuff. We’ll have some tips and tricks, stuff that you may not have thought of as far as your trailer, and garage, and to keep them safe and secure. So this is a good segue into getting you ready for episode five. And we’ll let Steve do the talking.
“The trailer becoming detached, and passing you as you were going down the road, do you remember that story?”
“Yeah it was empty. I had loaned my trailer to a neighbor who, they race in NHRA and they have a forty foot trailer, so they needed a smaller trailer to take his, he has a Dodge Coronet 440 I believe it was. And he took it to have some work done on it and couldn’t get it in with the huge trailer. So he wanted an open trailer. So I lent him my open trailer. And he calls me up and he says ‘you know, the hitch ball isn’t so good on that because I lost the trailer.’ So it actually became detached for him too. It came detached and came up and rear ended his truck and knocked the headlights out of this classic car he was towing. So he lives almost within sight of me. So I thought ‘okay I’ll put it on there, it’s okay to go that distance.’ So I go down the back road that I’m going
and I hit this little bump and all the sudden, zoom! The trailer goes right by me and it had rained and it was very muddy. So honest to goodness it stuck right in the mud. I went into panic. I didn’t know what to do. And some guy that lived right there come by with his pick up truck and he hooked a tow rope, put it on and we just safety wired it on and I limped it home.”
“Another three hundred feet to your house.”
“Yeah, like a half mile.”
“Man, that’s crazy!”
“Yeah, but then I had a new coupler put on that trailer, and then I got rid of that
“Well now Jim’s using it, right?”
“No that’s a different trailer!”
“Well that’s what made me think of it.”

That’s a good time there. We’ll dig in in the next episode. But again, if you have any stories send them to me, tell them to me over the voicemail. Send them to me via email. I interviewed a couple of racers and everybody got tongue tied about sharing stories. It doesn’t have to be the best story ever about going 320 mph and the car crashes or something like that. I’m just interested in hearing something that was unexpected that happened. Something like me telling a story about hitting a goat on the racetrack … that doesn’t happen every day. I don’t expect to always get stories like that. But in that case Steve’s trailer became detached and actually drove past him down the road. That’s kind of a crazy thing. Thank goodness nobody got hurt. He had to get it fixed and he wouldn’t have known if it didn’t happen that way. He’s lucky he didn’t have a car on it, his car or a race car. Anyway, I’m interested in those kind of stories to share so we can have fun and reflect on Some of the cool things that have happened lately.

Well thanks a lot for hanging out with us. I hope that was informative, I hope you have some good tips on how to increase your vehicles rollout or your vehicles reaction time. Like I said put any questions or comments on the show notes. I hope this has been helpful for you. I’m having a blast. We’re up to episode four, I can’t believe it. I’m having fun, and it’s been fun to talk to other racers about what they’re doing, what’s going on. There’s some cool discussions going on on the website. Check it out. Engage us on Facebook. If you have any question there that’d be great. And we’ll drum up some
community around this and see where it takes us.

Race safe, race to win, and take care.

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