Pro Tree? Not for me.

1996-firebird-capitol-racewayHave you ever shown up at an event and they were running a different kind of program than you thought they would? Probably not. You probably call before you go, or check their website. I failed to do those checks before driving to an event recently. And it almost bit me.

When I pulled up, I said, “No-box please” – which of course meant that I wanted to run in a foot-brake class. The guy taking my money turned his head slightly cocked and said, “No-box? We’re running only index classes today. Which class do you want to be in?” Hmm. That was a tough one. I hadn’t planned on index racing – I came to bracket race.

So I paid my entry fee, picked the class that I fit most closely and went in. Turns out, I should have watched some of the cars in my class before my run, because we running off a pro-tree. As fun as that is in theory – I hadn’t raced in a pro-tree format in a long time.

I didn’t do too bad. We did the usual stuff at the track like pumping up the front tires (decreases rollout time), and I went deeper into the staging beams. I was pretty consistent, within 0.010 +/- when the car was performing as expected (we had new slicks and traction problems and some other gremlins plaguing us) but I wouldn’t have even been close had I not ever practiced on a pro tree.

Seriously. Because I practiced here on this pro tree on, I was able to be competitive at the tree and actually blended in quite well even though my E.T. wasn’t exactly where it needed to be. It brought me a lot of peace-of-mind to be at the track and even though the program was completely different than I had planned to compete in, I was able to pivot and race competitively.

There are a few reasons why I think there is value in practicing both types of tree (pro and full) but this is the tip of the proverbial iceberg and that is the moral of the story. Hit the pro tree a few times on a regular basis so the next time you have the opportunity to race on that kind of tree (whether on-purpose or accidental) you can compete (and win!)

See ya in the pits!

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