Tips to Motivate and Keep Your Gearhead Resolution
Resolve to Race
2013 is the year you are going to get out on the track and race. We're here to give you some quick information to get you started. For the purpose of this article, we're talking drag racing, but we'll oval back around for endurance racing in another blog. Research your track, find out what organization they are sanctioned by (i.e. NHRA, IHRA, NMCA, etc.). Familiarize yourself with their rules and regulations. You can get more information on the website for your track's sanctioning body, for instance here on the NHRA website and the IHRA website.
Bring a tool kit, tire pressure gauge, gas can, jack, water bottle, some towels and a helmet. Fire retardant suits are ideal for obvious reasons. Safety has to be your number one priority at all times. Make sure you have the appropriate seat belts, at certain times you need SFI certified harnesses. Carry a fire extinguisher in your car. Don't run your car full out on your first passes, if you're not used to handling your car at those speeds you could lose control and wreck. Before you make a pass, walk the 1/4 mile to locate turn-offs and finish points. Having anti-freeze in your car makes the track unsafe and can get you kicked out, so when you're racing only use water.
Pay attention to the lane attendant. When you are ready to stage roll forward to light the pre-stage bulb, then wait for the other lane to do likewise, then you can creep up to the second light. This is just proper lane etiquette. After every pass, do a walk-around and inspect your wheels, lug nuts, tire pressure and your hood. After some test runs, you should be able to determine a pretty good dial in time which you'll need to do bracket racing.
Before you do anything, do more research. This article was to get you started but there is a lot more to know. We found a great thread in this forum from 2003 that is still accurate. If you have tips to add for beginners, leave them below in the comment box, the more knowledge we can compile here the better.
Some recommended products
• Safety equipment: helmet, SFI seat belts, window net, fire extinguisher, the most fire repellent clothing available.
• A big water bottle and towels, because it gets very hot.
• Tool kit, tire gauge, gas can and a jack.
• Driveshaft Safety Loop - We're most concerned with safety. If your driveshaft breaks, it could flip your car mid-pass. Our driveshaft safety loop holds your driveshaft into place to prevent this from happening and is required by major sanctioning bodies.
• Master Disconnect Switch - This switch is spliced into the battery cable line to provide a direct power shut-off. In the event of an electrical fire or fuel leak this will cut the the power and possibly save your life.
Resolve to Restore
Is there a project hanging out in your garage in need of attention? It's OK because it's a brand new year and there's no better time to get started. To get some tips, I talked to Dave, who you might remember from his 68' Chevelle we covered earlier this year. The most important thing to remember is safety and this is not just lip service. Double check jacks, car stands and ramps. Wear safety eye wear, rust and road debris is going to shake loose. Four hands are better than two, so find out which of your friends can be bribed to come over and help out.
Obviously, your first steps depend on the stage of your project. Dave was working with a body and frame with the wrong rear end. He elected to go from inside to outside, saving the body work for last so not to nick the paint while working. This was a good move as he's left a few dents so far.
If your car has been sitting for a while remove the gas tank and clean it out. Gas will calcify and turn into a syrup-like consistency, so inspect your sending unit as well. Flush your transmission system, cars that have been sitting can gather harmful condensation. Inspect your brake lines, fuel lines, calipers and wheel cylinders. We've mentioned this before, but check your sealing, retorque fasteners and if you need new bolts, Mr. Gasket has those as well as the best sealing gaskets on the market. If you're restoring your engine we have different gasket materials to suit what you're looking to do.
Keep this handy
• A good ratchet and box wrench, screwdrivers, pliers, 3/8" and 1/2" sockets.
• Safety eye-wear, quality jacks, car stands and possibly a ramp.
• New fasteners and gaskets, of course Mr. Gasket has what you need in that department.
Resolve to Rule
Could your car be king of your area car show? This year, you can find out. First, find out which area car show you would like to enter and see if they have a website. Hopefully their website will include information such as deadlines for registration, contact information, what they need from you and special instructions for the day of the event. If not, you'll have to make a few phone calls. The last thing you want is to be running around the day of the show gathering information.
Type up all the information that they need from you (i.e. make, model, year, paint color, engine, etc), even if they have a form to fill out and print some copies to bring with you the day of the show. Once you get to the event, be respectful of the other entrants, spectators and staff. Don't speed, don't peel out, don't blast your radio. This type of stuff will get you kicked out, or possibly in trouble with the local police that will definitely be keeping their eye on things.
Don't count on other people being careful. If your car is absolutely never to be touched or even breathed on, bring your own version of velvet ropes. Can't afford velvet? We see people use sand filled coffee cans and posts with police tape. Make sure to bring last minute detailing supplies to get the dirt off from the transport.
Some things you might need
• Household glass cleaner, micro-fiber cloths, compressed air cans and de-greasing compounds
• A print-out of all the required information about your car, information about the location of the event and all the contact information for who is in charge. • You may want a new set of ACCEL spark plug wires to make your engine compartment look it's best.
• If you're looking for chrome accessories, Mr. Gasket has plenty of options for popular applications.
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