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his past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a drag race where the delay boxes, throttle stops and four-link dragsters were not invited, the “No-Box Nationals” at Muncie Dragway in Muncie, Indiana. This was the fourth year for the event. It started at Bunker Hill Dragway, then went to Indianapolis Raceway Park, and is now looking like it's found a home at Muncie Dragway.
The event was the brainchild of Greg and Dana Dillman and friend Allyn Neff. They ran a really smooth event and there were about 140 racecars in attendance, a testimony to the support this type of racing has even with the economy not doing so well in a lot of areas.
I think you'll see more and more of these “No Box” events popping up in the northern part of the country very soon. The foot-brakers have a strong hold in the southeastern part of the country and that type of racing is getting a grip as more and more tracks on the north side of Tennessee give it a try.
The basic format of the “No Box Nationals” is simple and straightforward. Bring whatever doorcar or center-drive roadster you want to bring, but DO NOT bring a delay box or a throttle stop. It was great to see so many door cars at one event without dragsters sitting there. (Nothing against dragsters; remember I have one of them too.)
Transbrakes are OK, but those cars are kept separate from pure foot-brakers as long as possible. At this year’s event the transbrake cars outnumbered the foot-braker cars, but that may change in coming years. What I witnessed, both from the bleachers and from looking at the losing time slips I was given, was some of the best bottom-bulb driving I have seen, and as far as that goes we watched some of the best packages being turned in that I have ever seen, delay box race or not.
Just an incredible number of .00 reaction, times and the guys were nailing the dial-ins with dead-on runs all three days. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. As for my performance, or lack thereof, I guess some days you got it and some days you don’t. I would hit a .007 then follow it up the next round with a .042 and, trust me, that was not good enough to win the races I was in.
I did learn a few things about getting the Olds that I drive in No Box races set up a little better for racing off the bottom, and I also was reminded that racers are still the same whether they have a delay box or not when it comes to complaining about how they lost. Here is an example of some behavior that I think basically stinks from top to bottom.
The racing was going along really well for six or seven rounds and then the money started to get pretty good and each round lost could cost you hundreds of dollars. Seems a racer had a bad light (.047 if I remember right) and then broke out by .05 (if I remember correctly). Happens all the time, right? Staged a bit shallow and got more “run” (more roll-out) at the stage beam, and the car was a little quicker. Staging shallow is likely why the reaction time was off a bit.
This racer showed up after his loss with his log book complaining that the track was in error because his car had NEVER run that fast! I never heard that one before during my fifteen years as a track manager. LOL! Look, it’s a few HUNDRETHS of a second. If the track had a bad infra-red it was probably acting up all day. There is NO WAY to know for sure. You have to trust the timing equipment or anytime you run off or have a bad light you would be rerunning the race. It seemed the track timing equipment was good enough to get him to eight cars, but when he lost I guess he knew he had not made an error in staging or reacting to the light.