11/20/2013 - Ask Tommy: November 2013
What's your take on wearing glasses while racing? Do you think it would effect your finish line racing performance?

Justin, I am not a fan of wearing anything that might change my eyes nature ability to process light. I especially am not a fan of wearing sunglasses during a run unless it is absolutely necessary. This would be in places like Noble, OK in the evening when you are looking right into the sun or Seattle, where you’re not looking into the sun, but the glare off the race track is simply blinding. In cases like that (very rare) I will wear sunglasses because it knocks down my eyes sensitivity to the conditions. I believe so strongly in letting your natural, unaltered eyesight process the lighting conditions that I will actually take my sunglasses off (I wear them regularly except going down the track) 8-10 minutes before I make a run. I do this because I want my eyes to be able to adjust back to the ambient light conditions long before I stage.

My thoughts would apply to racing at the finish line as well. I don’t like any obstruction or color altering lens that might distort my vision at a time where my brain is processing information and turning it into action. Having said all that, I doubt that glasses are a problem in most cases, but the slightest mistake or miscalculation at the finish line is too costly for me to chance it. We only get one shot each time to get it right and Lord knows it’s already difficult enough to calculate strategy and execute it in less than half a second!

Obviously, if you have prescription glasses that need to be worn, then you have to do what you have to do. I would then make sure that I have anti-fog handy at all times and wear my clear glasses. The main thing is to not have your eyes adjusting all the time to conditions that we are introducing to the equation (dark or colored lenses for instance).

I hope that answers your question Justin, and good luck at the races my friend!!


Tommy Phillips is a 29-time NHRA National Event Winner and holds 7 NHRA Division 4 Championships. He is one of 14 NHRA sportsman drivers who have won two categories at the same national event, and one of only 5 to accomplish that feat more than once. Over the course of his illustrious career, Phillips has graced the winner's circle in NHRA Super Comp, Super Gas, Super Street, and Stock Eliminator and has enjoyed great success at the IHRA and big buck bracket level.  To read Tommy's complete TIBR biography, click here.

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