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The Starting Line: Volume 2 - Issue 11

The Starting Line

The Starting Line is a biweekly column for our Sportsman drag racers brought to you by Schnitz Racing. Every other week we will feature a frequently asked question and have it answered by a panel of experienced sportsman racers, led by Ben Knight. Having questions answered by multiple racers will give our new racers several perspectives on the information they want.

December 21st, 2015

How to pick a Target at the Starting Line? Any suggestion on choosing a target or maintaining focus at the starting line?

Dustin Lee


When I’m on the starting line I like to make sure I’m straight and there is no oil or anything on the track in my path. Once that is fine I focus on getting myself ready to stage the bike and knock the tree down!

– Good luck be safe!

Ben Knight


The starting line is the single most important part of the 1320 feet you are about to traverse.  If you lose focus on the starting line (or struggle to even have focus) you’re immediately increasing your chances of a loss.  Now this is going to relate somewhat to your routine and how you focus, but it’s definitely important to block out everything around you on the starting line.  Sure, there’s hundreds, thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of people in the stands…. then you have officials, photographers taking photos, people yelling and screaming, etc., etc.  Needless to say there’s a lot of potential distractions around you.

So take a couple deep breaths before you stage and block out everything completely.  Don’t worry about anyone but yourself, not even your competitor. See, if you do your job, then what the other person does ultimately doesn’t even matter.  Focus only on your side of the tree and be ready to go.

Once you leave the starting line it’s important to focus on controlling the clutch (if applicable & generally in first gear) and then hitting your shift points.  Keep the finish line as your target, but if you’re bracket/index racing also keep your opponents whereabouts in your peripherals.

Finally, once you cross the finish line remember to stay alert and be on the lookout for your opponent.  I have seen many accidents/crashes take place in the shutdown area of the race track.

Be safe and have fun!



Clear your mind, after envisioning your perfect run, execute that perfect run.  Racers have their own tactics on what works for them, personally I am a bracket racer, bottom bulb racer, so I concentrate all my energy on the bottom bulb.


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