And he worries that third-shift workers who live in the area could have a fatal encounter with a speeding racer.
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Broken taillights, speeding, no seatbelts — police pulled people over for any violation, said police Capt. They towed multiple cars and made at least a dozen arrests, he said, and found drunken drivers, ecstasy, cocaine and illegal weapons, including an automatic rifle. The racers scatter at the sight of police — and sometimes just the rumor of police — but quickly regather. Speed and high performance were more than a hobby for David Lunkas — they were his profession, too. He owned Kustom Equipment, a custom-car shop in the Flint area, and could often be found at various professional drag strips with his Corvettes.
Younger brother Michael would help him trailer the car to be hauled to the track. Lunkas, 40, of Burton was a passenger when his friend Bruce Shoemaker, 50, of Lennon was racing his hot rod against a high performance motorcycle on Cole Boulevard. The roadster struck a curb and slid into a utility pole, according to Flint Journal files.
Lunkas said building a drag strip in or near Flint might go a long way toward cutting down on illegal street racing, since he believes racers will race — one way or another. Leo, the local racer, remembers the night Shoemaker and Lunkas were killed. No one wants to see another human being get hurt. John, who also asked that his last name not be used, rarely races outside of a professional strip these days. For awhile he continued racing along I, but not any more. Despite the danger, street racing is a part of the fabric from which Flint was crafted.
A city best known for churning out cars is bound to churn out car enthusiasts. Before he became the owner of Auto City Speedway, Doering cut his racing teeth at a makeshift dragway on Van Slyke Road in the early s.
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His favorite story involves his Chevy and a Ford driven by his best friend, Don Williamson, before he was mayor of the city. Doering said he eventually wised up to the fact that street racing is too dangerous, and went on to oval track racing — a love that occupied most of his adult life. Over the years, police have tried various ways to stop the races, but nothing ever quite worked. Another police chief in about ordered the streets flooded and a few years later, police tried barricading the street to keep racers away.
Pause Play Play Prev Next This is an illustration of a typical quarter-mile drag race track eighth-mile tracks are similiar. This is what a typical countdown light, or Christmas Tree, setup looks like. Yeah, this big Olds 98 is the proverbial grandma car and is every bit as slow as you think it is.
But thanks to the handicapping feature of bracket racing, you can win—and win often—in a car like this. The key to winning with a slow car is consistency. Practice your launch technique, hone your reaction times, and get your driving skills to the point where you can hit your dial-in every pass and you can clean up in the brackets.
Word of advice: leave those burnouts to the big boys in the pro classes.
All you really need is a quick burnout to put some heat in the tires or slicks and clean any debris out of the tread. The best way to do this is to pull the car forward until the rear tires are just at the edge of the water. This will put enough water on the tread to get the tires to spin and warm up.
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Anything more is just a waste of perfectly good rubber. The best way to learn how bracket racing works is to watch other racers compete. Take note of how the winning drivers approach their burnout, how they stage and launch, and how they drive down the track. Most racers will be happy to talk about setting up a car or their driving technique.
You can use their experience to become a better racer. A bracket drag race is a straight-line acceleration contest between two cars usually starting at different times—more on that in a minute from a standing start over a specified distance, usually a quarter-mile or an eighth-mile. Racers line up in front of an electronic countdown device nicknamed a Christmas Tree or just the Tree. When the cars leave the starting line, electronic timers record how long it takes each one to reach the finish line.
This is called elapsed time, or ET for short. That is why bracket racing is also known as ET racing. Top speed is also recorded, but does not determine a winner in a bracket race. Most tracks are a quarter-mile in length; but there are a good number of eighth-mile tracks too. Refer to Slide 1 in the Slide Show to see where the following areas are located:. This shows you how well the car launches, which affects your elapsed times.
At some tracks, speed in miles per hour is also recorded. Some tracks also have timers at and 1, foot intervals. Mile-Per-Hour Timer —Also known as the speed line, this timer is located 66 feet before the finish line. This is the mile per hour figure on your time slip. Finish Line —When you cross the light beam at the end of the quarter-mile, you stop the ET clock. The amount of time in seconds between when the timer was activated and when it stopped is the ET figure on the time slip.
Shutdown Area —The area past the finish line, usually a quarter-mile or more in length, where you can safely slow the car down to take the turnout to the time slip booth. A drag race starts in front of the Christmas Tree. In simple terms, the Tree is a set of vertical lights that gives the driver a visual countdown to the start of a race.
The lights are as follows from top see Slide 2 in the Slide Show for a visual reference :. Stage Indicator Lights —Second set of yellow bulbs that indicate you are fully staged and ready to race. The bulbs are triggered when the front wheels cross a beam of light from a set of photo cells.
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These cells trigger the timer when the car leaves the light beam. Countdown Lights —Amber floodlights that count down to the green light. There are two types of countdowns, or starts. Typically, you want to leave when you see amber—the top bulb, middle, or last, depending on your car or class.
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