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In a short video from Hot Rod, a handful of drivers give their view on how to do a burnout before rocketing off down the track and collecting a fast ET. Prior to lining up, cars enter the water box, where a puddle of water has been laid so drivers can perform a burnout. This is to heat the tires up, make them sticky, which is supposed to translate to better traction.
Now, you’d think that doing a burnout is a non-thinking man’s activity, but there is more to it than that. Some drivers, as highlighted in the video, like to pull to the front of the water box, while others like to sit right in the middle. Some drivers do big, smoky burnouts while others do a quick “hazing.” The goal is to get the tires to the same temperature as the track. This allows the tires to adhere better to the racing surface when launching the high horsepowered drag monsters.
After the burnout, the cars enter pre stage and stage—getting their front tires between two sensors. Once both cars are staged, drivers have four-tenths of a second before the lights change and the hammers drop. If a car has a fast speed, but a slow ET, opined one driver, then the car is losing traction somewhere along the way.
Who knew there was so much more to drag racing?