A dial-in time is used to establish a handicap start in a bracket race. The dial-in is the driver's estimated elapsed time (ET) their car will run in competition, and allows just about any two vehicles to compete with a handicap start. This makes it possible for a street-driven 4-cylinder compact to compete with a purpose-built, big horsepower race car and have an equal chance of winning. When two cars are matched up for a race, the dial-ins are compared and the slower car is given a handicap, or a head start, equal to the difference between the dial-ins. It's not just a race of car vs. car, but driver vs. driver to see who can run closest to their dial-in to take the win light.

Airfoil: A wing or stabilizer generally used to create down force, which increases stability and tire-to-track adherence at high speeds

Alcohol: Racing fuel

Backpedal: When a driver has to let off the throttle to stop tire shake or to slow down at the end of the track to prevent breaking out

Big Block: A V-8 engine above 400 cubic inches unbored and unstroked

Big End: The far side of the track near the finish line

Blower: A crank-driven air/fuel-mixture compressor, also called a supercharger. It increases atmospheric pressure in the engine to produce more horsepower

Blue Printing: To bring an engine to the exact tolerance for racing

Bottom End: The first part of the track near the starting line. Also refers to the engine shortblock. "He hurt the Bottom End" meaning there is engine damage to the crank, rods or pistons.

Breakout: Used only in handicap racing, when a racer runs quicker than their dial in

Bracket Racing: Where cars of near equal times compete on a handicap system, leaving the starting line at different times and racing to the finish line

Burnout: Spinning the rear tires in water to heat and clean them prior to a run for better traction

Burn Down: A psychological battle between two drivers in which each refuses to fully stage for a race in order to break the opponent's concentration

Buy Back: A way for a racer to re-enter eliminations after a losing round by paying a fee, usually restricted to first round losers

Cage: A safety system of tubular steel that reinforces the chassis and provides crash protection for the driver

Christmas Tree: The electronic starting device between the lanes on the starting line

Deep stage: To roll a few inches into the beams after staging, which causes the pre-stage lights to go out, dangerously close to a foul start

Delay Box: A device designed to improve reaction time, which permits a driver to initiate a run by releasing a button by hand at the first flash of the Christmas Tree lights

Dial In: Used in bracket racing, the time that you predict your car will run that heat to set the handicap, displayed on the vehicle for the starter in the tower to see

Dial It In: To tune and adjust the car for the track and weather conditions

Dial under: When drivers in Super Stock and Stock (handicap categories) select an elapsed time quicker than the national index, based on their previous performance. The breakout rule is in effect.

Diaper: An absorbent blanket made from ballistic material that surrounds the oil pan to contain oil and parts in case of an engine explosion

Door Slammer: A car in which the doors still open and close

Drag Race: An acceleration contest between two cars over a quarter mile straightaway. The cars also race the clock for speed and elapsed time.

Drag Radials: Modern radial ply tires that have lower rolling resistance than traditional bias ply race tires. Radials are typically .05-.12 quicker than bias ply racing tires. Can be treaded or slicks.

Dragster: A vehicle purpose built for drag racing with an exposed chassis and engine and a long wheelbase

Elapsed time: The time it takes a vehicle to travel from the starting line to the finish line. Also called e.t.

Eliminations: After qualifying, vehicles race two at a time, resulting in one winner from each pair. Winners continue in single-elimination tournament style competition until one remains.

Foot Brake Racer: A driver who does not use a delay box or a trans brake to control the launch of the car, relying only on the brake and throttle pedals

Foul start: Indicated by a red light on the Christmas Tree when a car has left the starting line before the green light

Full Tree: The three amber bulbs on the Christmas Tree flash consecutively five-tenths of a second apart, followed five-tenths later by the green starting light

Funny Car: A specially built car based on a stock automobile body, but with a frame and engine like a Slingshot Dragster. The bodies are made from fiberglass or carbon fiber, and are almost as fast as the Rails. Also called Floppers.

Groove: A path of rubber laid down by other cars on the track surface

Headers: A fine-tuned, free flowing exhaust system that routes exhaust from the engine; replaces conventional exhaust manifolds

Heads Up Racing: Racing where cars of equal performance leave the starting line at the same time. The driver that gets the Holeshot and/or Hooks will likely be the winner.

Hemi: A Hemi engine has a hemispherical shaped cylinder-head combustion chamber, like a ball cut in half

Holeshot: When a driver reacts quicker to the Christmas Tree and wins the race – even against an opponent with a quicker e.t.

Hook: When the drive tires aren't spinning and make maximum traction off the starting line

Index: The expected performance for vehicles in a class as assigned by a sanctioning body. It allows various classes of cars in the same category to race together competitively.

Interval Timers: Part of a secondary timing system that records elapsed times, primarily for the racers' benefit to analyze their performance at 60, 330, 660, and 1,000 feet

Lane Choice: An option given to a racer, usually the one with the lower E.T. or reaction time in previous rounds, to choose which lane they will drive in

Methanol: Pure methyl alcohol used as fuel in Top Alcohol Dragsters and Top Alcohol Funny Cars

Nitromethane: Produced specifically as a fuel for drag racing, it is the result of a chemical reaction between nitric acid and propane

Oildown: When a car breaks down during a race and spills fluids on track surface

Package: The number calculated by subtracting the Dial In time from the E.T. and adding the reaction time

Perfect Light: An ideal reaction time of .000

Pits: Area in which the race cars and trailers are parked and worked on at the track

Pre-staged: To position the front wheels about seven inches behind the starting line so the small yellow lights atop that driver's side of the Christmas Tree are glowing

Pro Tree: Used in heads-up racing. All three large amber lights on the Christmas Tree flash simultaneously, followed four-tenths of a second later by the green starting light.

Rail Car: A Dragster

Reaction time: The time it takes a driver to react to the green starting light on the Christmas Tree, measured in thousandths of a second. The reaction-time counter begins when the last amber light flashes on the Tree and stops when the vehicle clears the stage beam.

Return Road: A strip of pavement that drivers use to safely return to the pits after a run.

Red Light: A foul start. When a racecar has left the stage beam before the green light was lit.

Sand Trap: Located at the very end of the shutdown area. It helps cars that have lost braking ability come to a halt.

Shutdown Area: An extension of the dragstrip past the finish line where drivers reduce speed after a run

Sixty-foot time: The time it takes a vehicle to cover the first 60 feet of the drag strip. It is the most accurate measure of the launch from the starting line and in most cases is a crucial to achieving superior elapsed times.

Skinnies: Relatively narrow tires used on the non-drive wheels of drag cars to reduce rolling resistance

Slicks: Wide tires with no grooves or treads used on drag cars for best possible traction

Small Block: A V-8 engine, usually 399 cubic inch or smaller unbored and unstroked

Speed trap: The final 66 feet to the finish line where MPH is recorded

Sportsman: A generalization used to describe an amateur or hobby racer. They may race for money and have sponsors, but the majority of their income isn't from drag racing.

Staged: When the racecar blocks the second beam and the second set of double amber bulbs are lit. Once both cars are staged, the tree will be activated and the race will commence.

Staging Lanes: Area behind the Water Box where cars are placed to line up and wait their turn to race

Supercharger: A crank-driven air/fuel-mixture compressor, also called a blower. It increases atmospheric pressure in the engine to produce more horsepower.

Tech: Technical inspection where cars are checked for safety and to be classified

Time Slip: The printed results of the race listing the reaction time, 60' time, 330' time, 1/8 mile time and speed, 1000' time, and 1/4 mile time and speed

Top End: The far end of the track near the finish line

Top Speed: The speed attained by the car at the end of a quarter mile. This is measured 66 ft. in front of and 66 ft. past the finish line for a total of 132 ft. or one-tenth of a quarter mile (1320ft.)

Tower: The starting tower where the race starter is positioned above the track. The race starter engages the timing lights after both card have staged.

Traps: The light beams at the end of the track used to measure speed

Treed: Having a significantly worse reaction time than the opponent. Also called getting left at the tree, asleep, snoozing, camping, or taking a nap.

Turn Offs: Several strips of pavement on the side of the Dragstrip that lead to the Return Road

Turbocharger: An exhaust-driven intake air compressor, also known as a supercharger or blower

Water Box: A shallow depression containing water positioned behind the starting line used to wet the drive tires prior to performing a burnout

Weight Transfer: Critical to traction, vehicles are set up to provide a desired weight transfer to the rear wheels. Upon acceleration, the front wheels lift and the weight shifts to the rear wheels, which makes them less likely to spin.

Wheelie: Lifting the front wheels off the track under acceleration, also called a Wheelstand

Wheelie Bars: Used to prevent excessive front-wheel lift

Wing: A stabilizer or airfoil used on the faster cars for steering control and down force. A larger wing is used on the rear; a smaller one may be used on the front.