RC Drag Racing 101


Break Out: A Breakout occurs if you run faster than your Dial-in. This results in immediate disqualification unless the other lane red lights. If both drivers breakout, the driver with an ET closest to his Dial-In wins.

Christmas Tree: A vertical bank of colored lights used for starting a race. Also called “Race Lights”, “Event Tree”, or simply “The Tree”.

Elapsed Time (ET): The Actual time it took for you to complete the race. Once a race begins, the ET clock starts when the car’s front tires break the staging beam.

Worst or First Rule: The RCDRL employs a “worst or first” rule for disqualifications. A red light is considered worse than a breakout, Hitting a guardrail (lane wall) is worse than a red light. Crossing a lane boundary is worse than hitting a wall guardrail (lane wall). Any timing equipment is all equal to crossing the centerline. Even though it may have occurred after the red light. (In the event that both cars either hit their side guardrail or both cross the centerline, the driver that crossed or hit the wall first will be disqualified based on track officials call. In the event of a double same infraction that is too close to call, the Race Director can order a rerun. All other technical disqualifications supersede any on track disqualifications.

Full Tree: Race lights will illuminate one at a time every 0.5 seconds. Also referred to as a “Sportsman Tree”.

Handicap: The slower car gets a head start that is the difference between both drivers Dial-In times. This value is referred to as the Handicap.

Holeshot: When a driver reacts quicker to the “Christmas Tree” to win a race, against an opponent with a quicker e.t.

Launch: Ability of the launch is based on physical factors such as vehicle weight, torque, and traction.

Package: Reaction Time and Dial-In … A “Perfect Package” is when a driver cuts a perfect reaction time (.000) and runs dead on their dial with a zero. (i.e. RT .000/ E.T. 2.500 on a 2.50 dial-in)

Pre-Staged: Drivers approach the starting line and cross an infrared light beam aimed across the track indicating the start of the race. Once they break the Pre-Staged light, they inch forward to the Staging beam.

Pro Tree: When the Tree Type is set to Pro Tree, all three yellow lights turn on simultaneously, followed by the green light 0.4 or 0.5 seconds after the yellow lights, depending on the type of Pro Tree selected.
Race Lights: Race Lights are the vertical yellow and green lights that signify the start of the race. The race lights are often times referred to as the “Christmas Tree”.

Reaction Time (RT): The time difference between the instant the green light comes on and the cars front tire break the staging beams. The time actually starts when the last yellow light comes on, so a .500 Reaction Time is a perfect light running a .5 Full Tree and a .400 Reaction Time is a perfect light when running a .4 Pro Tree.
Red light/ Foul start (dual runs only): A Red light occurs if you leave the starting line before the green light illuminates. Red lighting will immediately disqualify you from the race. If both drivers red light then the driver who red lights first is disqualified. If using a .5 full second tree, anything less than .500 is considered a red light. If using a .4 second Pro tree, anything less than .400 is a red light.

Roll-Out Delay: A time that simulates a car’s lag time before it breaks the staging beams finding your cars “Roll-out value” allows you to leave before the green light without affecting your reaction time. Remember, the Roll-Out Delay represents the lag time between when you punch the gas pedal and your car actually breaks the staging beam.

Sportsman Tree: Another name for a “Full Tree”. Race lights will illuminate one at a time every 0.5 seconds.

Staged: A driver is considered “Staged” when he is at the starting line and ready to go.

Staging Beam: An Electronic or infrared light beam aimed across the track in front of the tires. Breaking this beam stops the reaction time timer and starts the actual ET timer.

Tree Type: An option that sets the display pattern for the race lights. Possible settings are .5 Full Tree, .4 Full Tree, .4 Pro Tree, and .5 Pro Tree.

Margin of Victory (MOV): The amount of time the winner of the race crosses the finish line before his opponent.

Yellow Light (amber): Three yellow lights countdown on the “Christmas Tree” signifying the start of the race. These are also referred to as Amber Lights.

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