If you’ve read last week’s blog, I spoke about some of my concerns regarding the timing systems we have to deal with on-track. Boy, did that ever start a s##t storm of sorts. If you hadn’t read it, click here - https://dragracingedge.com/the-blog/did-we-land-on-the-moon/.
Most of the people responding were very positive and had much of the same feelings. But there were some who thought I was a crackpot and out of my mind. Obviously they didn’t understand the meaning of a drag racer. Aren’t we all out of our minds to a point?
But seriously, this was really just my opinion and not mired in any facts. I guess opinions are like a$$holes, everyone has one and this one was mine. In no way am I insinuating there is a problem with any of the various brands of timing systems out there. And I apologize if you took it that way. But anyone who’s been racing for any length of time can attest to having been duped by a timing system malfunction. What do they say? S##t happens! And you know what? It does! Ask Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert.
In case you didn’t know, they were the crew of Apollo 13 back in 1970 who were supposed to land on the Moon. But a “s##t happens” explosion forced them to return to Earth in a crippled space ship. Back then, it was classified as a “successful failure,” whatever the hell that means. Maybe that’s what happens when your car doesn’t move on the starting line and the red-light is triggered? Although I don’t see much “success” in that.
So what is this an answer to all of this? NOTHING! There never was and might never be. Lazy photocells. Low incoming voltage. Spiders on the photocells. Wiring in the ground for ages. Someone posted this video - https://youtu.be/74ztIJ4Atgs - regarding testing the timing system lane to lane. Not sure it even works or would work on any of the brands of systems which are out there, but it is interesting.
I guess what I really find interesting is how we can measure to four or five decimal points when there is no way you can even blink your eye anywhere close to that. Then there is this: Super Comp first round for me at Indy last month, my opponent is .000 perfect on the ‘Tree and runs 8.913 on the .90 index. I’m .013 and run dead-on 8.900 for the win. Two .013 packages and I get the win light by .0004! Of course I was on the brake pedal knowing I could run faster than that, so that brings up my question. How much more or little brake pedal pressure would it have taken for me to either be under or over the 8.90 index and lose that race?
Final round at the Maple Grove nationals last month, Herbie Null is dialed 9.70 and me a 9.26. Herbie is .012 on the ‘Tree. Me, I miss it a little and am .029. Figuring I can’t catch him, I dump, he catches the dump and goes dead-on with a “0” for the win. Same type of question. And had I hung in a little longer – I run a .271 on my .26 – could it have pushed him under? Had he missed my dump by just a little, would he have run out? Guess the only answer to any of these questions is… wait for it…. that four letter word… LUCK. Although I used a couple of other four-letter words after losing that final round.
My wife likes to go to Bingo. When we were first going out, I would go with her until one day I said to her – bear in mind AFTER we were happily married – “I don’t want to play a game where luck defines winning and losing.” And now we have drag racing.
Maybe she has been right all along. You just gotta have faith!