Well, I figure a good place to start is with the basics. The following is a combination of old articles and things I've learned the hard way. This time I'll talk about getting staged. Again, I don't claim to be an expert and I welcome any input based on your personal experience. As with all aspects of racing there are a basic set rules that, if followed, will keep you from looking like a chump.
Pick your spot: Be sure to pick a spot in the pits that your sure no one else is using and is not blocking someone else. I've seen people nearly get into fights over this one. Related to this issue is the number one way to piss somebody off (And it happens all the time). When your in the staging lanes stay with your car! The abuse you will get from your fellow racers when you block the lanes is brutal! It will ruin your day.
When your pulling up to the lights, resist the urge to burnout in the waterbox unless you really need to. Nothing looks goofier than a 17 second car trying to powerbrake a burnout on street tires. Unless you are running a low 14 sec car or are using slicks, its usually a waste of time anyway. Oh, and pay attention to the starter. Don't pull up until he signals you.
Here's a good one. Pay attention to where the staging beams are. I don't know how many times I've seen someone go to nearly the 60' mark before they realize the've passed the beams. The folks in the stands will be rolling in the aisles! On some tracks if you roll past the staged light you're disqualified. Many tracks employ a courtesy rule that requires that the first car entering the pre-stage light wait until the second car is prestaged. Once the second car is prestaged the first one stages and is followed by the second. This helps to minimize starting line games. I prefer to pre-stage first in order to allow myself a few more seconds to get ready.
A personal note:
I perform a ritual each time I prepare to stage. I go through each of the steps necessary to properly stage my car (this varies for every car, mine is a non-electronic bracket car) in the same order every time. This helps ensure that nothing is missed.
- Windows up
- Shifter in Low
- Cooling fan on
- Transmission cooler fan on
- Fuel Pump on
- Check Temp
- Check Oil Pressure
- Verify low oil pressure switch is engaged
This gets you up to the lights and staged. (Staging is a whole article in itself and that's the next tip).