It’s a Matter of Timing – June, 2014
Have you ever considered how important the timing is in determining the winner or loser of a drag race? For example, on Sunday in round one, I dialed 18.45 and ran 18.47 to take the win, even though my opponent had “treed me” but broke out by .06. I knew I had been lucky and was better prepared for round two. Prior to round two, my opponent and I talked. He reminded me that in our previous race on a different day, I had told him that the key to winning was “It’s all in the tree.” Driving such a slow car, and knowing that he would have at least 30 mph on me at the finish line, my plan was to dial slow and dump him at the finish line. I dialed 18.52 but the race was decided at the starting line as my opponent went red by .-001. I ran it out all the way and ran 18.45. For a two consecutive rounds, the timing was in my favor. In round 3 I dialed 18.46 and had what was for me a very respectful .06 reaction time. Against a 12-second opponent, I was out nearly 600 feet when, in the mirror, I saw my opponent launch and ……could it be true? Yes, my opponent’s light was red!! It definitely was my luck day. The timing was right.
But in round four, the story took a different twist. A victory here would give me a single into the finals. I dialed another 18.45. Even though I ran 18.46, my opponent had me covered with his .08 reaction time. My r/t was so bad, I cannot even tell you. He had me covered and took the easy win.
The point of my story is this: Sometimes a racer can go rounds in spite of not having his/her best run. What if my first round race would have been the one I raced in round four? Obviously, my day would have ended early. However, because of the way it worked out, on this particular day, the timing was right for me. Or as Jim Livingston has said, ” A good reaction time is anything that is better than your opponent.” So, whether you are changing a flat tire for a “lady in distress” or lined up against an opponent hoping to go another round, may your timing be right and remember, “It all is in the tree”. I am reminded of the words I heard from one of racing’s great personalities, “If you want to win races you only need to do two things — cut a light and run the number.”
Elvon Kauffman has been drag racing since 1975. He has been a NHRA Northwest Division Bracket Champion twice – first in 1978 when he defeated fellow Woodburn racer, Joe DiFillipi at Seattle International Raceway and secondly, in 1980 when he again defeated a Woodburn racer, Ron Burch at Woodburn Dragstrip. He was the first and only World Champion in Heavy Bracket, winning with his 1970 Plymouth Road Runner 4-speed at the now defunct Ontario Motor Speedway in October, 1980. Elvon’s variety of life experiences become the basis for the stories he shares in Straight Talk, a monthly column produced by Woodburn Dragstrip