HomeColumnsStarting LineThe Starting Line : What is cross over / cross talk?

The Starting Line : What is cross over / cross talk?

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 is cross over / cross talk?

Brad Gott
Cross talk is used in Pro bracket classes where delay boxes are mainly used.
Both riders are pre-staged and staged, when the tree begins to fall for the slower dialed rider the top bulb for the quicker dialed side will also light up with the slower dialed rider’s bulb. The quicker dialed rider has the slower dialed riders dial and his own in his delay box. The quicker dialed rider can leave off the top bulb, which will stay lit up for the amount of time equal to the difference of the two dials, then start to drop. As a street bike rider a box is not used, but still nice to know when racing in pro classes if the cross talk is being used.

Janie Palm
Cross Talk is generally used in what is designated Pro ET or ET classes that allow electronics. Thias allows a racer to cross over the tree and react off the the other racers top yellow light, but today a class with cross talk will light both top yellow lights so the rider crossing over can concentrate on their own side of the tree. The racer that is crossing over types into their delay box the dial in ET of their competitor and their own dial in. The computer calculates the delay needed to react to their own lights, so the rider will let go of the button on the first yellow versus the last. Its often times considered easier to react off the first yellow versus the last yellow.

Bob Carlson If your a non delay box (bottom bulb) racer, you may think there is nothing to learn here, wrong! You have a lot to learn here, and this could help you run against delay box (top bulb) racers. Such as “NHRA king of the track”, Manufacture Cup, and other delay box classes.Cross over is a term used for delay box (top bulb) racers. What this means is, if your the quicker bike, your leaving on the slower bikes top bulb (cross over). The dial-in’s are entered into the delay box, the delay box then adds the difference of the two dial-in to the delay time. This allows the quicker racer to react to the slower racers top bulb (first light that flashes), much easier then reacting to his or her bulb (second light that flashes ). It will mess with your mind and your reaction time. “Cross talk is on” means, both top bulbs flash at the same time, the quicker bikes top bulb will then freeze, for the amount of time, between the dial-ins, then it continues down. Sounds pretty simple, right? I could go on with the reasons for cross talk, the simple answer is, it gives both delay box (top bulb) racers a equal hit on the the tree, and makes it fair for both racers.

Now here is a fact that a lot of racers don’t know, even the best delay box and non delay box racers. If your the quicker bike, by NHRA and most sanctions rules, you can have the tower shut off cross talk by simply putting the letter “N” next to your dial-in or number. Why would you want cross talk off you ask, well if your running a delay box, you wouldn’t want the cross talk off. However, if your not running a delay box, and leaving on the bottom bulb, like myself, you don’t want the top bulb to freeze. You want the tree to come down normal like you are use to. A few things you should know is, most tracks get confused or don’t know you can ask to turn off cross talk if your the quicker bike. Best thing is to visit the tower and/or talk to the official in the top of staging lane to let them know you want cross talk off and be sure to put the letter “N” on your bike and point it out. Another thing you should know, your dial-in on the board and your time slip, will show up with a minus (-) sign in front of it. Don’t panic, your dial-in isn’t a negative number. The whole cross talk off thing does seem to confuse most racers and officials, but oh well, that’s your right per the rules, plus your the one with the disadvantage without a delay box, so make sure you don’t make it even harder on yourself, insist for the cross talk off if your the quicker bike. If your the slower bike, well it doesn’t matter, your tree will come down normal with cross talk on or off. If your racing in a non delay box class, crossover and cross talk doesn’t exist. I hope this helps all you non delay box (bottom bulb) racers out there.

Jerry Turner
Cross over is using a delay box and leaving on your opponents top bulb if you’re the faster bike. Cross talk is the software utility that lets their top bulb and your top bulb light up simultaneously, their tree will continue dropping and your second and third bulb will be delayed according to the difference in your dial in and their dial in. You should only see this at a track, series or class that allows delay boxes. We’ve said this before in other columns, but it’s always a good idea to ask when you go to a new track or a new series whether or not delay boxes or cross talk will be used and how to “turn it off” if you don’t want to use it. Here’s why. Say you have a street bike and you want to enter the Pro ET class or maybe there’s only one bike class. If you’re faster than your opponent and cross talk is being used, then your top bulb will light when his lights but your tree won’t continue down until the difference in your dial-in allows. You won’t know it’s on during time runs and you won’t know it if you’re the slower bike. But when it happens and if you’re not prepared, it can definitely cause you to have a red light, a bad reaction or a terrible reaction in some cases. Some tracks will “turn off” cross talk if you have a “N” by your bike number or some other indicator. Some tracks will turn it off if you tell the person who is getting the dial-in. I’ve even been at tracks that tell you that they can’t or won’t. I think Paul Cavanaugh can back me up in saying that if it’s an NHRA track and an NHRA event, then NHRA rules say it can be turned off. Paul got it turned off ☺.


Dustin Lee Cross over is when you are using a delay box and you are leaving off your opponents top yellow vs your own top yellow. If you don’t know what a delay box is well I will explain. A delay box is basically a timer a racer can adjust the time it delays between the bikes launch. This allows you to let off the button on the first light that falls on tree, so when you cross over you enter your dial and your opponents dial into the delay box and it does all the math for you and you release the button on their top yellow. Cross talk is when the the slower racers tree falls both top yellow bulbs come on then the slower racers tree continues and then the faster one will follow in the difference in ET’s cross talk is to help you always be focused on your top yellow no matter if its eliminations or time runs! Hope this helps, 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.

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