The following excerpt was taken from inside the ThisIsBracketRacing ELITE Facebook community.
I wanted to share another piece of in-car footage to detail every aspect of finish line execution: Game Planning, Decision Making, and Execution. This run is a Super Gas round from last weekend in my Corvette (my apologies: I didn’t realize the camera would pick up so much surrounding noise and wind noise… I’ll have a better setup next time I do this!).
I detail the strategy to some extent in the intro. For a variety of reasons, I decided to approach this round as the pure “Driver.”
Let’s break it down, one step at a time:
I’m set up to run 9.80 on the 9.90 index, and for several reasons, I’m not all that confident in my ability to run that number (if I was, I probably wouldn’t be holding near as much!). The plan here is fairly simple: I intend to have the better reaction time, and I think there’s a decent chance that my opponent misses the dial to the slow side. Combine that with the fact that I’m not real confident in my own ET, and I’m the faster car by 20+ mph, it seems like a great spot for the the “Driver” strategy – and the more I hold, the easier it should be to execute (because it allows me to trim down the MPH difference).
Specifically, as I detail in the pre-race, by studying the incremental times prior to the round, assuming I’m running 9.80, and my opponent is running 9.90, and we’re even on the tree, I should be .09 behind when we reach 1000’ (a little bit more than a car length). In .90 racing I often use the 1000’ increment as a cheat code: if I’m closer to him than that, it means one of three things: 1.) I had the better light, 2.) he’s running slow, or 3.) I’m running fast. To simplify things, if I’m within a car length at 1000’ in this round, I’m going to take the stripe. If not, I detail my plan to kill a little bit early with the throttle pedal, then drop at my typical .06 spot (about 60’ in front of the mph cone). This sounds complicated, but it’s simply the result of going through the 3-step process we encourage you to think through each round:
What am I going to do if:
A.) I’m ahead (in this case, within a car length at 1000’… I’m going to try to cross first by as small a margin as possible).
B.) I’m behind (in this case, I’m more than a car length behind at 1000’…. I’m going to pump the throttle a couple times, then stop early).
C.) It’s really close (In this case, I’m a little more than a car length behind at 1000’… As long as I feel good on the tree, I’m going to go ahead and try to take the stripe here).
(If you haven’t already watched the video, do so before reading the rest)
Again, in this case, the 1000’ “cheat code” simplifies the decision making process significantly. As you can see in the video, when his front end hits the 1000’ mark, I’m within a car length (on the time slip, I’m only .060 behind at 1000’). Armed with that information, I make the decision (at or a little bit before 1000’: I want to cross the finish line first by as small a margin as possible).
As I’ve detailed before, I personally use the “90* method” for driving the finish line. If you’ll notice, when we both pre-stage, I look over 90* at my opponent. I picked a spot on his car (in this case, it was actually the “H” in “Hammertime” on the door). When we’re both pre-staged, I’m looking right at that spot, and I know that the front end overhang on my Corvette positions me comfortably ahead at the finish line if I can get myself to that spot downtrack. It’s hard to tell in this video because there’s so much wind noise, but I’m off the throttle right at 1000’ and coast for a bit before giving it 3-4 slow “rips” the rest of the way. Notice that once I lock in on my “spot,” my head never turns back toward the finish line. All I’m worried about at that point is positioning myself right on that spot, ensuring that I’m just ahead as we cross the finish line.
It’s also worth noting that by holding so much, I was able to essentially match MPH with my opponent (he went 149.40, I went 149.41 – down from 170 on my last wide open run). This makes it easier for me to not only cross the finish line first by a small amount, but to “know” that I did (or as I like to say, to “do it on purpose.”)
Obviously I didn’t win this round. While my opponent didn’t make an unbeatable run, the run he did make was essentially the worst case scenario, at least in my mind. I even thought to myself prior to the round that the absolute worst thing he could do was to be .02x on the tree and run 9.89 – but honestly I thought if he did I’d beat that (and I should have).
My finish line execution was excellent: I took .007, down 20+ mph. While I’d set up to go 9.80, I was actually running closer to 9.76 (which made it look even more obvious that the “right” decision was to cross the finish line first). My fatal flaw was being .020 up front: not an awful reaction time, but about .01 slower than my target. In the end, I’m .020, take .007 to be 9.897 (9.90 index) to his .025, 9.899.
While the loss was disappointing (you can sense my frustration in the aftermath!), the reason for the “L” is strictly starting line execution. While the finish line strategy was bold, I did execute on that end. And, given how far I was from the target ET (set up 9.80, was going 9.76), a less aggressive finish line strategy would not have produced the desired results either!