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The Starting Line : What do all the blocks on the track represent and how should I use them when racing?

Motorcycle Drag racing Sportsman

The Starting Line is a biweekly column for our Sportsman drag racers brought to you by Schnitz Racing. Every other week we will feature a frequently asked question and have it answered by a panel of experienced sportsman racers, led by Ben Knight. Having questions answered by multiple racers will give our new racers several perspectives on the information they want. If you have a sportsman related question, submit it to editor@dragbike.com.

What do all the blocks on the track represent and how should I use them when racing?

Jerry Turner

The blocks or cones as they are sometimes called are for timing. They hold the reflectors that give the elapsed times and mile per hour(s). From the start, typically there is a 60 ft block, 330 ft block, 1/8 mile mph block, 1/8 mile block (660 ft), 1000 ft block, ¼ mile mph block and ¼ mile block (1320 ft). Besides giving you the track times, they are great references when you go down the track. As an example, I’ve taught my 8 year old daughter than when she is racing her jr dragster against kids that run the same speed as her, when she gets to the 1/8 mph block and cannot see the front tires of the other jr dragster, then she should “whomp” the throttle to make sure she doesn’t break out.

Unfortunately, the first time she did this was in a time run. I neglected to tell her to only do that during eliminations ☺. She has since won rounds by using the mph block as a reference and slowing her car down and not breaking out. I use the cones as reference with my bike also. Typically, it’s decision time at the mph cones. Will I run it out the back, get out of the throttle because I’m ahead or even get out of the throttle because I think they are breaking out and I’m not going to catch them anyway.

One last note on this. If something happens to my opponent and they are not coming down the track, I will run to the last incremental time block (330 ft for 1/8 mile or 1000 ft for ¼ mile) to get all the incremental times I can before getting off the throttle.

Janie Palm

The orange blocks contain photocells and reflectors and they are situated at the 60′, 330′, 660′, 1,000′ and 1,320′ marks on the drag strip. There are also two more, one right before the 1/8th mile (660’) and the other right before the ¼ mile (1320’) or finish line that are for mile per hour readings.

Dustin Lee

They are used to win a rerun. If you red light, and start weaving in and out of the blocks, without hitting your opponent or crashing, you get a rerun. Lol

Brad Gott

The blocks on the track are Timing Blocks. They are responsible for the times on your slip. There is a 60ft block, 330ft block, an 1/8 mile time and speed blocks, 1000ft block and 1/4 mile time and speed block.
You can use them to judge where you are at during your run.

Dustin Lee

Every block is a increment of your run. from start to finish you have 60′ 330′ 594′ (which helps calculate mph) 660′ 1000′ 1254′ (helps calculate mph) 1320′. In bracket racing there are many ways to use this as a marker in a race. Alot of racers will use 1000′ to start judging finish line and others will wait just a little longer, it all depends on your style and what suits you. I will also add once you pass the 1320′ block which is the last one its time to let off the gas and start slowing down.

– Be safe

We’ll see you in two weeks for another addition of the Starting Line, in the meantime check out our column sponsor Schnitz Racing.


Volume 1 – Issue 1 : What is the best advice for someone going down the track for the very first time?

Volume 1 – Issue 2 : How do I decide what class to enter? Most tracks have a street class and pro bike class but I sometimes see streetbikes racing in the pro bike class with the bar bikes.

Volume 1 – Issue 3 : What is the difference between a bracket class and an index class?

Volume 1 – Issue 4 : What is the difference between a pro tree and sportsman tree? And what is the best technique for cutting a light?

Volume 1 – Issue 5 : What is rollout and how does it affect my ET??

Volume 1 – Issue 6 : Does a practice tree really help with your reaction time and do you have any tips to how to use it?

Volume 1 – Issue 7 : What is courtesy staging?

Volume 1 – Issue 8 : What does “the race was won on the starting line” mean?

Volume 1 – Issue 9 : How are bye runs determined? If I get the bye, should I make the pass?

Volume 1 – Issue 10 : What is the best technique for a burn out?

Volume 1 – Issue 11 : What is cross over / cross talk?

Volume 1 – Issue 12 : Some racers do a quick launch after the burnout, why is that?

Volume 1 – Issue 13 : Do you have any advice on methods for consistency?

Volume 1 – Issue 14 : Do you recommend changing visors for daytime and night racing?

Volume 1 – Issue 15 : Deep Staging verse Shallow Staging

Volume 1 – Issue 16 : Some people log all of their runs and are always looking at old timeslips. How does this help them?

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