Best Time on Motor: 12.392@112.230, 1.761 60'
Best time on Nitrous: 11.271@124.573, 1.764 60'

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from my Simpson helmet box

John Force's 1998 car - we were comparing notes... :-)

On June 14, 1998, I went drag racing, for the first time in my life. Wow, what a thrill! A bunch of the Bay Area F-Body Club came up to Sacramento Raceway, for the day, so there were plenty of folks to point me at Jeff Tyler's Drag Basics, which I recommend the first time out.

I ran the car pretty much without any particular changes from my daily setup. I did remove anything that was loose in the glovebox and trunk, and double check my fluid levels. I went with 3/4 of a tank of gas, but really could have had less than half without concern. At the track, I used my street BFG Comp T/A tires, but raised the front pressure to 40psi, and lowered the pressure in the rears to about 28psi.

You can see my time slips below. I'm very happy with the mph I was able to reach, though the ET's are poor. That reflects my lack of experience as much as anything else, and I was also having traction problems. Next time, I'll have some better tires...  

Centerline Warrior wheels in size 15x10, with a 6" backspace. This is about the only Centerline I could find that comes in a 15" diameter, with a deep enough backspace. It weighs 13lbs in this size. Fortunately, it matches the Sabers on the front! Apparently, Centerline is one of the few brands that will clear our rear calipers with the 15" size, so check carefully before you buy. One reason I wanted the 15" size was to be able to use the 275/50R15 BFG Drag Radials, if I decide the slicks are just too much (trouble for me, hard on the car).

On the wheels, I've mounted Mickey Thompson ET Street tires, these are essentially street legal racing slicks. I got the 26x11.5-15 size. They should give me that sidewall wrinkle on launch, and improve my 60-foot times. Now all I need is practice!

Here's an interesting graph, where I've mapped my 60' times against the tire pressure in the ET Streets (when hot). I've only plotted data points where I felt I did a "good" launch, rather than include every botched effort.

You can see better times as I've lowered the pressure - stay tuned as I drop past 13psi!

Once I mounted the new wheels on the car, they were just a bit too tall (the picture on the left is the BFG 275/40R17 compared to the MT 26x11.5-15, the one above is with this low ride height). In addition, the right side of my car has always been 1/2" lower than the left, so I ended up with about a half inch of clearance between that tire and the fender. Not enough! See my suspension page for how I handled this...

Okay, we're gettin' serious this time. This is me heating up the tires as Las Vegas International Raceway, November, 1998

Timeslips of Interest

Sacramento Raceway, June 14, 1998
Very warm day, around 90-95 - my first time ever at the track, street trim

Ran a 13.726 @ 111.739, with 2.179 60-foot time. Not too bad, I guess, with the learning curve I'm dealing with.

Sacramento Raceway, July 18, 1998
Street Midnight Drags, Started very hot at 105, but dropped to probably 85 at sunset.

Ran a 13.107 @ 108.271, with 1.955 60-foot time. Most of this came from a set of ET Streets, and a little more practice.

Sacramento Raceway, September 2, 1998
Warm Wednesday night, around 90-95

This was a fairly miserable outing. A few comments: I removed my front swaybar, lowered the slicks to 15psi, got a new helmet, and aired up the airbag (right rear spring). I really wanted to give the 12 second mark a run tonight. The combination of all this gave me a very squirrely ride - often pulling left or right on 1-2 and 2-3 shifts, once enough to let off completely at half track as I veered toward the other car. I've decided I made too many changes in one trip, since I really don't know what caused my problems. Next time, I'll back off on the mods, and do them more deliberately.

I was also told by the tech that I needed a 5-point rollbar and a 5-point harness to race again ("I'll let you run today, but don't come back"). I've scheduled the bar to be installed, but there's a long wait.

Sacramento Raceway, October 11, 1998
Chevy Showdown, 75-81 all day
Running on ET Streets, put 1 quarts of Trick Octane Boost in full tank of 92 octane gas, ran with front swaybar on, no air in airbag

Ran a 12.777 @ 110.120, with 1.932 60-foot time. This is the first entry in the 12 second range, my best so far.

Sacramento Raceway, November 25, 1998
Wednesday Night Street Legal Fun Drags,  45
Running on ET Streets, at 14psi, using the LT4 knock module and octane boost

Ran a 12.584 @ 111.544, with 1.780 60-foot time. Just a perfect run, really. Lowering the tire pressure helped, but I just got it all together on this one.

Sacramento Raceway, January 1, 1999
New Years' Day Drags,  45
Running on ET Streets, at 13psi, 100 Octane gas, new ported MAF and Line Lock

Ran a 12.392 @ 112.230, with 1.761 60-foot time. Lost me the bracket races in the quarter finals, but I was happy anyway. The line lock worked just great.

Sacramento Raceway, September 17, 1999
Test and Tune,  65
Running on ET Streets, at 14psi, 100 Octane gas, 175hp nitrous

Ran a 11.757 @ 122.204, with 1.698 60-foot time. Beat a seriously setup 1st generation Camaro, by 0.03 seconds, a great race!

Sacramento Raceway, December 18, 1999
Test and Tune,  55
Running on ET Streets, at 13psi, 100 Octane gas, 175hp nitrous

Ran a 11.682 @ 124.570, with 1.837 60-foot time. Wish this one had been the 1.69 60', but I was having major traction problems today.

Sacramento Raceway, September 30, 2000
Test and Tune,  65
Running on ET Streets, at 14psi, 100 Octane gas, 175hp nitrous

Had a friend, Jeff Stevens, take the car down the track a few times tonight. He's a great driver, and weighs less than I do too. He pulled off a 11.271 @ 124.573, with 1.764 60-foot time.


Most drag racers eventually decide to pull weight out of the car, as another way to faster. Here's a list of things I've accumulated from various places that you might consider:

Remove all misc. junk in the car
Smaller stall converter
C/F driveshaft
Remove hatch cover
Remove spare tire and jack
Remove antenna
Remove windshield wiper reservoir
Remove windshield washer fluid
Install headers
Remove catalytic converters
Remove passenger's seat
Remove rear seat
Lightweight driver's seat
Remove seatbelts
Draglite wheels
Slicks or street slicks
Skinny front tires
Lightweight flywheel
Underdrive pulley
Remove EGR
Aftermarket airlid and FRA
Remove catback
Remove center console
Remove AIR pump & hardware
Lightweight battery in rear
Remove cruise control
Remove sound deadening
Remove front & rear bumper supports
Remove AC compressor & condenser
Fiberglass or C/F hood
Remove front swaybar and brackets
Remove crossmember brace
Remove airbags
Remove side impact bars
Remove heat shielding
Electric water pump
Remove power steering
Lower gas level
Remove wiper arms & motor
Remove visors
Remove rear view mirror
Remove stereo & speakers
Remove headlights & foglights
Remove ashtray & lighter
Remove glovebox
Remove emergency brake
Remove headliner
Remove floormats & carpet
Lightweight steering wheel
Lightweight brakes
Fuel cell
Lightweight clothing
Lightweight springs and shocks
Remove extra double walled sheetmetal
Wash car inside, out, and underneath
Go on a diet
Remove excess wiring
Shorten excess bolt lengths
Drilled axles
Use a spool
Aluminum LCA's & Panhard
Lightweight k-member & A-arms
Remove power brake booster
Remove ABS
Remove hood & hatch shocks
Lexan windows
Remove seatbelt retractors
Remove door panels
Lightweight tranny
Steering shaft
Remove Rear left taillights
Remove interior plastic molding
Remove license plates

For the f-body, Brent keeps a list which can tell you what a lot of the above items weigh. 

Most tracks are sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), and your car must meet certain criteria before you can race. Here's a summary of the rules. See my Safety Equipment page for additional information on what I've done to be as safe as possible when racing.


Copyright 1997-2004 David Mills, no part of this site ( may be reproduced without permission of the author. The author makes no claims or guarantees as to the quality of the information on this site. I'm an enthusiast just like you, and while everything here is correct as I know it, I'm not responsible if your car breaks.