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Drag Racing Staging 101

The length of a drag racing track is, as you can probably guess, a quarter-mile, or 1,320 feet, with each lane measuring 30 feet wide. Here are the various components of the track:

  • Burnout (aka “water”) Box: An area reserved for vehicles to enter that’s been sprayed down with water to help reduce friction as a driver initiates a burnout.
  • Pre-Stage Beam: As each vehicle’s front wheel enters this area, it’ll break the “pre-stage” infrared beam, which triggers the Christmas Tree’s pre-staged lights, alerting drivers that they’re closing in on ‘”staging”.
  • Staged Beam/Starting Line: This is another infrared beam in each lane that controls the starting and timing of the race, triggering an independent lane timer for elapsed time (E.T.) – and unless both drivers are fully staged, the race cannot be started. The staged beam will also trigger a red light if a false start takes place. The staged beam is located just six inches past the pre-staged beam.
  • Interval Timers: There are five intervals along the track where time and speed are recorded, which include: 60-foot, 330-foot, 1/8th-mile, 1,000-foot and ¼-mile.
  • Speed Traps and Elapsed-Time Clock Beams: The last of the infrared beams are your most important: the first is located 66 feet before the finish line and measures top speed; the second is located at the finish line and shuts off the elapsed time and top speed clocks, triggering the win light. The 66-foot speed trap records top speed.