The picture you see here was taken by my own hand standing on the asphalt of an actual race track. The owner of the car you see here was kind enough to invite me for a day of watching him laugh at the competitors at Bremerton Raceway. I had a marvelous time, and I think I learned enough about racing to help you make a convincing character. Let’s start with the obvious: It costs money to race a car. It can be as cheap as paying the entrance fee to the track (I didn’t have to pay it, but if you’re racing I think it was between $40 and $65) or as expensive as $100,000+ to build a muscle car from the ground up. You can race a personal car however, more on that later. ^^

I got to ride inside a real racing car for the start up test, and let me tell you that thing is LOUD. There’s no muffler on these cars (apparently this is extra weight, and extra weight is not good.) There’s also nothing to speak of in the way of anything inside the car. It’s a shell.

It also goes real fast. He did a test run, and I was stuck to the passenger seat like a fly on fly paper. Not that I’m complaining. I believe I was cackling quite loudly. >_>

Drag racers are required to wear a helmet if you don’t know, and they are not allowed to have anything “loose” in the car. (so don’t be throwing your gloves on the passenger seat. It’s not allowed.)

Numbers are painted on the front windshield and on the passenger side to identify the car racing and keep track of wins. Every time you win a round, you are also given a white dot on the windshield. White dots are good. You want lots of them.

Here’s the kicker though. The gas is so expensive for the kind of race car I was with (and you only carry enough for one round anyway) that we had to push the car to the front of the line. Million dollar car, getting pushed like an old klunker. Sheesh.

In drag racing, matches aren’t decided by who goes the fastest. They’re decided by who performs the best. Reaction time is the most critical factor. There’s three yellow lights. You have to wait until all three yellow lights are gone before you can go. Otherwise you “red light”. The best possible time is 0.00. If you’re 0.76 people are going to ask if you were asleep at the wheel.

Anyway, you tell the tower how fast you plan on going. If you go faster than you say you plan to go you’re going to “Break out” and that counts against you. The winner is who has the best time, and goes the fastest without breaking out, not necessarily who crosses the finish line first.

What’s it like to go down the track itself? Welllll, I actually got to be a passenger for one of the test runs. ^^ Basically you wait in line forever until it is your turn to race. Then you’re lined up by the starter guy, and you get to do a burn in the burn pit (basically spin your back wheels so they get all sticky and stuff, and have better traction) then you have to go up to the tree. You “stage” the light, by triggering first one, then two lights. (Unrelated to the three yellow lights also on the tree.)

Then you wait 1, 2, 3 yellows. You start going when you see the third yellow because by the time you lift your foot off the brake and put it on the gas it’ll have changed. I found myself stuck to the seat same as last time. Interestingly enough, I can’t tell you about the ride other than you sort of get tunnel vision. It’s just you and the track and nothing else. Couldn’t even tell you who won.

This is a great sport for people who love adrenaline, and the feeling of engines so loud they rumble in your heart. ^^ Definitely worth writing about.

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