With the proliferation of Mustangs, there’s bound to be people that ride on others’ coat tails. They see a combination, and if their car’s modifications are similar, they think that’s what their car should run, too. They don’t take into account track location, air temperature, tire and wheel combination, and most importantly, driver capability.
If you’re a Fantasy Island Dragway regular, you don’t have one of these. This is what’s called a time slip. This is what people get after they make a pass at a drag strip. After they make a pass, there’s a time slip booth where you get a time slip telling you what your Mustang ran. FID doesn’t have a time slip booth because you make up your own times at FID. When it comes to time slips, you need to get your own.
However, none of that matters at Fantasy Island Dragway. At FID, you make up what you run to correspond with what someone else ran with similar mods. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never made a pass in your life, if your buddy’s car runs 12.70s with a Boss intake and a tune, and that’s what your car has, your car runs 12.70s. That’s how it works.
In case you haven’t caught on, Fantasy Island Dragway doesn’t exist. It’s for people who live in a fantasy world of made-up quarter-mile times. It’s for people who are too busy loading the parking lot tune in their car, not the 93-octane tune designed for people who actually take their car to the track, and race it.
The problem with racing at FID is, you don’t know what your car actually would run at Cecil County, or Beech Bend Raceway, or Bradenton Motorsports Park, or Norwalk, etc. In other words, you need to get out there and run your car, not piggyback off of someone else’s time. What if you’re a better driver than they are? I doubt it, because they’re actually running their car, not their keyboard, but if you’re the better driver, you’ve been selling yourself short all this time.
If the car you’re comparing to is running at Cecil in the fall, and you’re running your car at Bradenton in August, you’re going to be hard-pressed to have comparable times. When it’s 56 at Cecil County, and 96 at Bradenton, there’s no comparison, you are going to be slower.
Therefore, why are you trying to compare times? Get out there and race your car at the track. Don’t piggyback off someone else’s time; get your own. Don’t be skeered or confused; put on your big boy (or big girl) pants and take your Mustang to track, and race it for yourself. If you are happy with what you run, then own it. If you aren’t happy with the times, maximize your existing combination before making any changes.
So, what can you do if you aren’t happy with your Mustang’s times? First off, practice, practice, practice. Take video of each pass, experiment with launch rpm, shift points, tire pressure, and the like. If you have a stick car, video can go a long way in helping to improve your times. Listen to how long it takes for you to shift to the next gear. Racers have software to tell them how long it takes for them to hit the next gear. Most likely, you don’t have that same software on your street car. If it sounds like grandma is driving to church, you know that’s what you have to work on.
Three very important factors in a successful drag strip outing is having your Mustang properly tuned, with the right tire, and figuring out the launch. If you have these three aspects of drag racing down, that is more than half the battle of running a good time with your Mustang. If you don't run a good time, keep practicing.
If you’re blowing the tires off at the hit, work on launch rpm, tire pressure settings, etc. The launch and 60-ft time plays a large role in overall quarter-mile time so getting out of the hole the quickest way possible will pay huge dividends down track. You might need drag radials, or maybe even slicks, but you will have to experiment with different tires to find the right tire for your car.
Let’s talk horsepower for a second. If your Mustang is a base model V6, EcoBoost, GT, Shelby GT500, whatever, make sure you are using all the usable horsepower before you go and add more. This goes for rear gear, as well. Maximize what you have before making any changes. If your Mustang doesn’t make a lot of power, that’s okay. Get the most out of what it makes before throwing more power at it. In many cases, adding power only exacerbates the problems you already have. If you spin at the launch on street tires, adding power is only going to make that problem worse.
No matter if you have a base V6, EcoBoost, GT, or Shelby GT500, you will have more fun racing your car at the track than sitting in the stands. Get out there and drag race your Mustang.
If your Mustang isn’t tuned, take it to a respected dyno shop, or tuner, and get it tuned. If your Mustang’s state of tune is out of whack, you risk hurting the engine, and no one wants that. It makes sense to get it tuned, and make sure it’s safe, and that your combination is making the most power possible.
Then, take it to an actual drag strip, and race it.