Preparing for a weekend at the dragstrip requires a lot of planning. Lack of preparedness makes for a chaotic experience when things don't go perfectly. Here are five things you should always have before leaving the house for the track:
1. Torque wrench
As much as possible, major fasteners should be torqued to proper specs. Flexplate to crank bolts, valve train, bellhousing to engine block, and countless other connections need to be properly tightened for safety and reliability. An inch lb. wrench is also a good tool to have for powerglide band adjustment!
Drinking water, engine oil, and automatic transmission fluid should be in every trailer. Hopefully you won't need to drain an oil pan, but you may be able to help out a fellow racer in need that is having to check an engine bearing or swap a torque converter.
A prepared racer will keep a box or cabinet in their trailer with commonly replaced items such as spark plugs, transbrake solenoids, carburetor gaskets, starters, and brake pads. A five dollar spark plug replacement will cost a lot less than a final round of a ten thousand dollar race!
4. Plastic tarp
When the storm clouds roll in, it isn't always convenient to re-trailer your car. One of those big, blue classic plastic tarps is a life saver to cover up your car, engine, or other sensitive stuff. (Just dry the thing out before re-folding it!)
5. Buy back money!
Thanks to our wonderful BTE racing community. We appreciate you!
We all come to the drag strip to have fun, spend time with friends and family, and maybe take home some of the purse. And while it's often a challenge because of heat or the stress of the competition, we should always consider those around us to make it a good weekend for everyone.
Even in possibly the noisest of all pasttimes, race tracks need quiet time, too. Don't fire up and test your rev limiter at 11 PM, and make sure your generators are properly muffled—someone or their family is probably trying to sleep! Also, be respectful of pre-race religious ceremonies on Sundays and avoid cranking up before they are finished.
2. Excessive finishline braking
In bracket racing, finish line driving is a careful ballet of judging your speed versus your opponent's, and manipulating the position of your car as you race to the end. Braking is part of that strategy, but excessive braking isn't safe. Don't slide or smoke your tires to finish line drive. It's not safe for you or the car in the other lane.
3. Driving in the pits
Keep the speed on the track. Drag strips are generally full of people walking, riding bikes or scooters, or kids playing. Speeding around the pits before or after a pass isn't safe and makes everyone uncomfortable.
4. Ripping the throttle
Congratulations, you just won a round! Don't flaunt it to the racer in the other lane by ripping the throttle repeatedly after the finish line.
5. Respect facility and its staff
Keep the track clean, put your trash in the right places, be careful with spills, and most importantly: be cool to the staff. They make the races happen so we can all enjoy our passion. If you've made a mistake or lost the last round, don't take your frustration out at the ticket booth by peeling out. In the end, it's just a race!
Here's five important checks to make to your racing powerglide transmission before the start of season.
1. If the car has been sitting for a period of time, look for any obvious oil loss on the floor of your trailer or shop. Automatic transmission fluid may be leaking from a worn seal, bad gasket, or cracked housing. If you are using a stock case, they are more prone to crack and leak in the rear clutch section. If this is a problem, we recommend upgrading to a more reliable housing.
2. Change the automatic transmission fluid and filter. Inspect the used oil in the pan after removal. If more than normal amounts of clutch material or metallic flakes are found, it may be time to do a rebuild of the transmission to replace worn out bushings, washers, or the band. Also, when it is time to fill the transmission and converter again, we recommend using a quality full synthetic fluid or a semi-synthetic blend like this one.
Also, don't forget to check the oil level with a quality dipstick - over- or under-filled transmissions won't perform properly.
3. To prevent the premature wearing or failure of the powerglide band, set the band adjustment to the specs as found in our band adjustment guide.
4. Test the line pressure of the transmission in all modes of operation. Less than standard line pressures will cause clutch and band failure in high performance applications. BTE recommends low/high gears line pressures of 225-275 psi for most powerglide configurations, and we have pressure springs available for all pressures.
5. Remove the yoke from the rear of the transmission and inspect for wear. Improperly matched yokes can cause problems with transmissions using roller bearings in the tail housing. You'll need a nitrided yoke if using a roller tail housing.
Follow those five points and your racing powerglide transmission will be ready to stage.