Thunder At The Rock
Drag Racing Terms

Below is a list of terms most commonly heard when people are talking about drag racing. Hopefully this will help you understand what someone is referring to when talking about Drag Racing.

What is Motorcycle Drag Racing:
In basic terms – A Great Time – Motorcycle Drag Race is an acceleration contest from a standing start between two motorcycles and they race measured distance at a Drag Strip. The accepted standard for that distance is either a quarter-mile or an eight-mile. These riders are started by means of an electronic device commonly called a “Christmas Tree.” Upon leaving the starting line, each rider activates a timer which is, in turn, stopped when the same rider reaches the finish line. The start-to-finish clocking is the vehicle’s E.T. (elapsed time), which serves to measure performance and also serves to determine handicaps during competition.

Bracket Racing:
Motorcycles are grouped for competition according to their performance levels, these groups are called brackets; for example, all motorcycles that run 14 seconds or slower are in the “street” bracket.

Used only in handicap racing, “breakout” refers to a contestant running quicker than he or she “dialed” in his or her motorcycle (predicted how quick it would run). Unless the opponent commits a more serious foul (e.g., red-lights, crosses the center line), the rider who breaks out loses. If both riders break out, the one who runs closest to his or her dial is the winner.

Racers spinning the rear tire before going down the track, is very much a part of Motorcycle Drag Racing. Burnout are colorful and excites the crowd plus tires perform better at higher temperatures. A burnout is the quickest way to raise tire temperature immediately prior to going down the track.

Classes:   Groups racers put themselves into, to make sure that like races like.

Christmas Tree:
The starting lights. It’s used to position the riders correctly and to start the race.

Deep Stage:
To roll a few inches farther into the beams after staging, which causes the pre-stage lights to go out. In that position, a rider is closer to the finish line but dangerously close to a foul start.

The E.T. you think your bike or snowmobile is going to run, determined by your time trials.

An absorbent blanket made from ballistic material, often Kevlar that surrounds the oil pan to contain oil and parts in case of an engine explosion.

E.T. – (Elapsed Time)
The time it takes a motorcycle to travel from the starting line to the finish line.

After qualifying, motorcycles race two at a time, resulting in one winner from each pair. Winners continue in tournament-style competition until one remains.

Full Tree – (Sportsman Tree)
Used in Competition, Super Stock, and Stock, for which a handicap starting system is used to equalize competition. The three amber bulbs on the Christmas Tree flash consecutively five-tenths of a second apart, followed five-tenths later by the green starting light. A perfect reaction time on a full Tree is .500.

The most basic form of drag racing. Both racers start at the same time and whoever crosses the line first wins.

Heads Up:
Is the purest form of racing based on an even start with the first motorcycle to reach the finish line is the winner.

Handicap Racing:
Handicapping compensates for the difference between competing motorcycles or snowmobiles to produce closer and more exiting racing.

Hole Shot:
When a rider reacts quicker to the Christmas Tree to win a race against an opponent with a quicker E.T.

Interval Timers:
Part of a secondary timing system that records elapsed times, primarily for the racers’ benefit, at 60, 330, 660, and 1,000 feet.

Nitro Methane:
Produced specifically as a fuel for drag racing, it is the result of a chemical reaction between nitric acid and propane.

Nitrous Oxide:
Adds serious horsepower to a motorcycle, in sanctioned drag racing it is like a wild card–it can get the job done but extra horsepower can easily lead to a break out or a breakdown.

The area where motorcycles and snowmobiles come in for fuel, tires, adjustments and repairs during on-track sessions. The name originated from early race tracks, where the mechanics actually stood in a shallow pit where they could duck if an out-of-control motorcycle came their way.Pre-Stage:
To position the front wheel about seven inches behind the starting line so the small yellow lights atop that riders side of the Christmas Tree are glowing.

Pro Tree:
Used in Pro Classes, that are heads-up competition All three of the large amber lights on the Christmas Tree flash simultaneously, followed four-tenths of a second later by the green starting light. A perfect reaction time on a Pro Tree is .400.

Qualifying determines starting positions, and usually consists of the combined results from two on-track sessions. Each motorcycle is timed, and the starting grid is determined by the order of fastest motorcycles.

Reaction Time:
The time it takes a rider to react to the green starting light on the Christmas Tree, measured in thousandths of a second. The reaction-time counter begins when the last amber light flashes on the Tree and stops when the vehicle clears the stage beam.

Red Light:
This occurs when the rider reacts too quickly and leaves the starting line before the green light comes on.

Sandbagging Finish-line Driving:
It’s like slowing down the motorcycle and trying to pace the other rider so that he breaks out or at least breaks out more than you do.

Race only tires with no tread designed for maximum traction on dry surfaces.

Speed Trap:
This is the last 60 feet to the finish line. It is in this area that the speed is recorded. The second set of numbers-the bottom set-is the speed that has been recorded in the “speed trap”.

To position the front tire right on the starting line so the small yellow lights below the pre-stage lights are on. Once both drivers are staged, the calibrated countdown may begin.

Staging Lanes:
That’s where you see all the motorcycles and snowmobiles that are going to race line up and wait until it’s their turn to race.

Tech inspection is where the track inspectors check over your motorcycle or snowmobile and make sure that you have all your safety requirements for the class you are running in.

Time Slip:
This is a ticket that you’re given after you do a run down the track. It’s basically a chart showing your E.T. and what your speed was at various points along the track, during your race.

Wheelie Bar:
Used to prevent excessive front-wheel lift and to help the rider control the motorcycle.


Sonny Productions LLC
280 Haynes Rd
Summerfield NC 27358
Sonny / Office 336-643-1367    Cell # 336-580-1638

Email –