SDRA Race Directors Handbook

This document is provided for informational purposes only.

The information contained in this document represents the current view of The Scale Drag Racing Association (SDRA) on the issues discussed as of the date of publication.

Because The Scale Drag Racing Association (SDRA) must respond to change in market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of The Scale Drag Racing Association (SDRA).

The Scale Drag Racing Association (SDRA) cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


The user assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document.

This document may not be reproduced for any reason. There are many ways to set up your drag racing track to be successful. There are also special problems you will want to avoid. This booklet is specifically designed to take all that we have learned and transfer this information to you so that you don’t have to learn by making multiple mistakes that cost money and waste time. All that follows is dedicated to the creation of a solid drag racing program so that you can profit and the racer can enjoy good healthy competition.

Running a drag racing event can be very complex, but the more you know, the more smoothly each of your events will run. There are some specific things you’ll need to do before each racing event. The first would be to have the track cleaned and freshly glued at the finish line before the racers get there. You glue after the finish line using Champion light for the first 3 feet of shut-down and Champion medium for the remainder of shut-down. Put a strip down in each tire track and rub side-to- side with your finger or use a paint roller to roll the glue out after you apply the strips of it. Use a wadded up sheet to stop runaway cars. Do not use foam. Foam will bounce back with the same force as a pillow hitting you in the face at 1600 m.p.h. Your racer’s cars will fall apart and bounce onto the floor.

Other things to have ready are to have your batteries already charged up and make sure that the water level is checked in them. Always use Electrolyte to balance out the water level. Check your braid to make sure it is all smooth and none is sticking up. Check your photocells to make sure they are clean. Another objective you will want to accomplish is to decide what class or classes you will want to run. Bracket is the racer’s favorite. If you like you can add Super-Gas and /or Super-Comp for a more complete program, as you gain more experience at running your races.

Bracket is a .500 tree with a staggered start. Racers use a dial-in, which is the number that the racer himself has figured that his car will run. Super-Gas / Super-Comp are run on a .400 Pro Tree where all 3 lights on the Christmas tree flash at once. Super-Gas runs a .640 index on an 1/8th mile or a .990 index on a quarter mile track. Super-comp runs .540 on an 1/8th mile track, .740 on a 1000 ft. and on a quarter mile a .890. This is heads-up racing. A racer loses if he breaks out, red-lights, breaks, crosses the centerline or just plain gets beat!

A common class to have as an easy quick class, for your new program, is Quick 8 or Quick 16. This class is qualified and in qualified fields, lane choice goes to the faster car. You will read about qualifying in the class section. Be sure that you always start your qualifying at the same time at each event so that your racer’s always know when they will need to have their cars prepared. Entry fee for Quick 8 or Quick 16 can be higher; instead of $3 per car, it could be $5 per car with a two car limit. Since there is a two car limit and since less racers usually build these faster cars, payout will be more attractive with a higher entry fee. The racers who crave speed will enjoy this class. One way to keep a single racer from always dominating this class is to have each racer pick a dial-in for their quick car and run the race with a staggered Pro Tree, just like the bracket tree is staggered. This way a fast racer still must run within his dial-in limit, but he’ll have his own tree to leave by.

Open up your raceway 2-3 hours ahead of race time for “test and tune”. Don’t charge for this “test and tune” track time. Test and tune encourages your racers to build more cars and to spend more money, and they will. Of course, you do have the option to charge a flat fee for those 2-3 hours or even put in a quarter machine, but your racers will show up later and spend less.

It is absolutely imperative that you have a driver’s meeting before each and every race. This meeting serves many purposes. The first thing that it does is establishes you as the director in control of the event. To avoid any racer complaints later, you will need to explain how your timing system works, how the racers need to stage their cars and what will cause a racer to red-light. They must have these problems addressed before each race. Tell them about the following items: There is a one minute break rule. If a racer’s car breaks on the starting line before staging, he has one minute (clocked on your stop watch) to fix his car. If he does not get it fixed in one minute, the other racer gets a bye-run (not counted as a bye-run on his entry slip.) If a racers car comes out of the slot, as it goes down the track, tell them not to touch it. If a racer moves his de-slotted car, he automatically loses. The de-slotted car must be checked by you to see if it has crossed the centerline. If he has not crossed the centerline he could be the winner if the other racer red-lighted, broke out or crossed the centerline too. If both cars de-slotted and crossed the centerline, the first offender is the loser.

Some racers get upset when they red-light or lose their race. They may feel like cussing, throwing a tantrum or even tossing their car across the room. Tell your racers this is not something that you will permit. Instruct them this way. “If you red-light or lose your race, pick up your car and go back to your pits. No raving, moaning, crying, etc.” They need to take it outside

Remind your racers to always pick up their car at the end of the track after each run. If not, someone will crash into the car hat they didn’t pick up. When class racing, only the tech. director may pick up the cars at the end of the track. You can announce that you will have a “best light” pot (if you choose to do so). For a $1 entry fee, the winner wins the whole pot, if he gets the 1st perfect light or the best light during the day’s elimination’s. Put the money for entries with the list of all who entered. You, the race director, will keep track of the best lights beside the racer’s names. Giving perfect light and perfect ET box plaques when they are run are very well liked by the racers. They are very inexpensive.

At your driver’s meeting also announce upcoming events. Tell about any of your racers who won at other tracks. Announce a sponsor name, if you have a sponsor of this particular event. Last but not least, always ask your racers “Do you have any questions?” Answer any and all that they may have and then it’s time to race! A sample of an entry slip is included in this booklet. You will need to have your racers fill out one for each car that they run. You’ll want to have 200 slips on hand for entries for several races. Eventually, as your racing program grows, you may need 200 slips per race.

Color coding your slips can help avoid confusion for you and your racers. An example of this is using white slips for bracket, super-gas yellow, for super-comp tan, etc., etc. Be sure that your racers fill in the class space and he can also put his dial- in on his bracket slips (if he knows it when entering his car). Have your racers bring their filled out slips to you to pay their entry fees. Double-check all entry slips when you are given them to make sure they are complete. Give your racers a deadline to have all entries in and announce when entry is closed. Make sure all entries are paid before racing.

Always start your races at the same time and on time! The next thing you will need to do is sort through entries and match racer against racer. In non-qualified fields, we pull the slips off the stack and the top slip is the right lane and the next slip is the left lane and so on. This saves confusion. Don’t have a racer matched against the same person all the time; mix them well. Have each racer’s entries scattered all throughout the stack of entries. This way each racer will stay until the end of the day and still be motivated and excited to win throughout the day. Don’t have your racer’s paired back-to-back unless it is unavoidable. This causes so much pressure that he can’t enjoy himself because he is already worried about the next car that is on deck that he’ll have to run in the next few minutes. Don’t match people to race who traveled together. For example, a father and son or two guys who traveled to the race together. Try not to put a racer in the same lane every time. If you have racers that are partial to lane choice this can be done in the second round. The one that ran closest to their dial-in in the first round has lane choice in the Super classes. If there is a lane choice problem in the bracket race have your racers toss a coin. Otherwise the first one called goes to the right or wall lane.

If you have an uneven number of entries in any of your classes, you can get one more racer to enter a car to even up the numbers or you can have a bye-run. That one racer, who is left after all pairs have been run, will run by himself down the track. He automatically advances to the next round, even if he breaks out. The only way he can lose on a bye-run is if he crosses the centerline. Run his single run the same as a pair by taking his dial- in and setting the computer for a single run. The person who received the bye-run can only get another bye-run that day in a different class or with another entry in the same class. You would mark his entry slip “bye” so that he does not receive another bye-run with that car in that class. In class racing the SDRA ladder sheets have set byes. In the Index classes or Brackets just mark Bye near the W-L.

There is an option you may want to add to bring in a little more income to help pay some of your overhead. This option is buy-backs in Brackets. What you do is allow your racers who lost in the first round to buy their car or cars back into another race. They get their slip out of the loser pile and bring it up to pay again and re-enter their own buy-back race. You take all first round buy-backs and match up the pairs to race separately from the people who have already won the first round. Their slips are marked BB when they pay again to keep them separate. Pair the buy-backs and run them separately before the second round of that class. Winners of buy-backs return to the original racing stack for the second round of racing. All the buy-back money goes to the track. This is just a way to give your racers, who are having a bad day of racing, another opportunity to try for the win again. If your original entry is $3 per car, you could charge $1 per car or $2 per car for each buy-back car, whatever you choose.

After all sign-in slips are matched, it’s time to start racing. Call out the names and cars of your first pair to race. Some race tracks use a PA system to call racers to the starting line (and in general to make any announcements). It’s not a necessity, but be sure that when you do race, call out your racer’s name and car loudly enough for all to hear. Ask each pair of racers their dial-in when they come up to race (if it is not already written on their slip). Repeat their dial-in back to them to make sure that you have it correct and get your computer ready for the first race. In the second round get your racers used to changing their dial-in while they are on deck. The first name you read off goes to the right lane, the second name goes to the left. Call your pair " on deck” and a third pair on "double deck" (or in the hole). This way there is always a pair ready to race and your program will move along smoothly and quickly. Also, your racers don't get as bored while waiting. For those of you that have those racers that are partial about lane choice have them toss that coin. You could have a bowl of numbers or deck of cards, the one to draw the lowest number has lane choice. It must be done while they are on deck or in the hole. If they forget, the first one called goes in the right lane. Only in the Brackets and Index classes.

Each pair of racers that goes to the starting line has 60 seconds to stage their car. It is helpful to have your own stopwatch. This will help you alert your racers when their 60 seconds to stage starts. Prompt them again at 30 and 10 seconds, the 10 seconds call is their cue to stage. The winner of the race is announced as follows right lane, Dave Smith with a .504 reaction time. He ran an .890 on an .890 dial-in. In the semi-finals, if you have four racers left, there are two winners and two losers. The two losers split third and fourth place prize money combined. The two winners race in the finals. If the semi-finals have six racers, there are three winners and three losers. The three losers split fourth place prize money. Of the three winners, one is chosen for a bye-run into the final. The other two winners race each other and the loser of this race is third place. The winner of this race faces the bye-run racer in the final. When you get to the final round of racers, announce that it is the final round and then call your racers.

When classes are on the schedule they get two qualifying passes, one pass in each lane. Before qualifying the cars have to pass technical inspection. Be sure the cars are legal for said classes before qualifying. Have a table at the end of the track to keep a set of scales and calipers on. The person performing technical inspection on the cars is the only one allowed to remove the cars off the track. He is to weigh the cars, check the tires and armature. If a car comes up illegal during qualifying in any way the driver is to go make it legal and he looses the qualifying run time. During elimination’s the car that wins is inspected first. If for any reason it is illegal that car is out and the loser’s car is inspected to go into the next round. The racers will try to run their cars in the shut down glue to add weight. That is not allowed. The tech person should run the shut down glue off the tires before weighing.

They are allowed the same 60 seconds to stage. You have the right lane make it’s qualifying pass first then the left lane. This way each car receives the same amount of power. You need these times to make up your ladder sheet. You can circle the fastest pass and stack the tech sheets in order of fastest to slowest. Then place them accordingly on the appropriate ladder sheet. Qualifying elapsed times determine ladder positions (example: 1 vs. 16; 2 vs. 15; 3 vs. 14; 4 vs. 13; 5 vs. 12; 6 vs. 11; 7 vs. 10; and 8 vs. 9). Once established, pairings are not changed for any reason. What has worked best in the past is qualifying all classes so the ladder sheets may be done up as soon as that class has completed it’s qualifying. After all the qualifying is complete in all classes go back to the class you started with and run that class’s elimination’s to it’s final round. Then start the next class and so on and so on. Be sure to call the racer with the fastest ET first because they have lane choice. If the round to round run off is done (run one round of elimination’s in each class just as the NHRA does. These are slot drag cars not real drag race cars.) it makes it so the racer’s are trapped. They are unable to run out and get something to eat if they wish or take a nap at a big event for that matter. The track has to be cleaned to much doing it that way also. Track cleaning takes up a lot of time! We have seen it cost Raceway Owners entries before as well.

After the final winners are determined, it is time to figure the pay-out. We recommend 50%. You are providing the racers a place to race and you need your part for keeping the doors open.

Slot-Car Drag Racing is not a spectator sport like the full size drag racing is. Payback is determined by the amount of entries. 30 entries do a semi finals split, 50 entries do a 5th and 6th place split etc. 65% and 70% for special occasions. For a 70%, pay 1st place 30%, 2nd place 20%, 3rd and 4th place 10% each. In a small class of less than 10 cars, you can pay out only 1st and 2nd if you choose. The pay-out is always to be done in Track gift certificates. You must have a good supply of parts for them to choose from. Basic parts to have on hand are drag bodies, motors, chassis, gears, axles, drag tires, guides, braid, driver figures, glue, glue boards, braid conditioner, braid brushes, lighter fluid, and other maintenance items.

If you can't provide all the available parts for a merchandise certificate payout and you aren’t willing to order parts, then a cash pay-out is necessary if you plan on having future events. Cash pay-out is only recommended twice a year. We have seen way to many tracks close due to paying out in

cash at every race. The track owner needs to move merchandise and the best way to do so is with gift certificates.

Announce the winners of each class during the payout, and give out sponsor prizes, if you have them. Announce the winners of each class as you distribute their winnings to them, and shake their hands and congratulate them. You may want to put winners, best light winners and record holders on a bulletin board or marker board. Your race program is not completed until you put together a race report with winner pictures, miscellaneous pictures and publish on your website. You can take pictures at your bigger races, of your 1st through 4th place winners and write an article about your event. When you write your story, don’t worry that you don't know exactly how to write it up. Just do it!

You can encourage your racers to buy their own controllers, if you have an extra hookup for them. The 1 ohm controller can work well for them and for the controllers on your track. The more of your racers that use their own controller, the less your equipment will get beat up, but you'll have to still provide track controllers for the racers who will not be able to afford their own. When you provide track controllers you may want to post a sign that says use track controllers at your own risk. This way, if their equipment malfunctions and causes a racer to lose a race, they take the responsibility. You will find that you will need to have spare resistors for repairs.

To promote new people getting into the sport of slot drag racing, you should have rental cars available for them to try. A few drag racing manufacturers make a complete ready-to-race car that is reasonably priced. If you sell these cars, remember wheelie bars and a three dimensional driver figure must be added to make sure that the cars are SDRA eligible so that they can run in an SDRA event.

Drag races usually take up a good portion of a day. Because of this, it is good to have something available for the racers to eat and drink. Candy bars, chips, soft drinks, water, cookies or whatever you like, can be made available for sale to the racers. If food is allowed, you could even have hot dogs, nachos, chicken sandwiches, etc. It is always good to have a clean restroom facility. Make sure it is always supplied with the necessary paper towels, toilet paper and plenty of soap for cleaning glue off of hands. A clean restroom will encourage the whole family to get involved, including Mom and sister too!


Treat your racers like family Don't show favoritism, treat everyone equally. Answer racer's questions, or direct them to the person who can answer their questions Once you make a decision, don’t back down. Right or wrong, once you make it, stick to it. There is nothing worse than a wimpy race director. Know the rules! If in doubt, check the rules. If you, the race director, choose not to follow the rules to the letter, your racers will not follow the rules either.

If your track is known to have and even encourage cheating, the label will never fade. There is no room for your own interpretation of the rules.Copies of the rules can be found at Slot car drag racing can be strong and well recognized by other organizations ONLY if we all stick to the same rules. No exceptions! Cheating is cheating. If you ever have a question about whether something is legal don't just run it. Call and ask one of the SDRA raceways. If we stick together, following the same rules, we can continue to thrive together.

Have the fortitude to enforce the rules. You don't have to be mean, be honest and explain what the rule is. If you say you are going to do something for the racers, do it. Don't make false promises. Your racers need to trust you and believe you will do what you say you will do. Remember, we are here to have fun. When we lose sight of that, the racing seems tedious and pointless. Your most important focus is to have a strong weekly program before you start thinking toward big events, such as special events, etc.

When your weekly program is solid and your races begin to run smoothly through each weekly event, you can start thinking toward having a special event. If you plan a larger event, you will need to design and print up a flyer to send to all racers and tracks within a 3-4 hour radius, so that you can pull as many racers as possible. Try to avoid using the term "nationals" to describe your race. This term seems to carry negative implications that scare away your local racers. The SDRA tech sheets used for the bigger events, such as

divisional events should have each space filled in for contingency purposes. Another reason all spaces must be filled in is that a story about the race will be written and the information for the story is taken from these sheets. For example, Joe Smith won his very first Bracket race with ProTrack tires, a Mura motor and a DRS chassis. You only need to have the racer fill out one of his/her tech sheets with full address information. The others just have them fill out their name. They tend to complain if they have to write to much.


The track surface will be determined by the raceway owner and the builder. You can go over a wood surface with epoxy paint or use Formica (not glossy), which can be a bit more expensive. It is best to have a professional do the work on building the track if you decide to use formica. The routing must be done as neatly as possible to assure a smooth slot for the cars to pass down through. Be sure the routed area is sanded and painted. This will make the braid last longer. The less sections used to build the track, the less problems you'll have with warpage and leveling of your track (if your track is sitting on stands).

You can mount it one of two ways. Either on the wall, free-standing/sitting on stands. If you mount it on the wall, you will probably have trouble with your tracks warping as your building shifts. If you have it sitting on stands, you will need to make sure that it is perfectly level. Please keep in mind that it is much easier for people to race on your track when they have their own side of the track to stand on while staging and racing. A wall mounted track does not permit a racer his own time and space to work to make sure his/her car is ready to race. You should tape off the staging area with duct tape to mark the area for the two racers up at the line. If said racers have a person helping stage or cleaning the track make sure that only one of the persons is in the staging area at a time. Be sure to reset the lights for the racers once staged.

To build a 1/8th mile track, you will need 27 and 1/2 feet of racing surface with no less than seven feet of shut-down. For a quarter mile track you will need 55 feet of racing surface with no less than 15 feet of shut down. Either length of track needs 1 1/2-2 feet of surface for your starting line. Track should only be 3 foot off the floor due to small children and persons who are physically challenged.

If you go around and look at several tracks that already have a racing program going, you will notice that the track builder has also provided space on each side of the track for racers to place their glue boards, lighter fluid, rags, and controller. Your races will go much more smoothly if your racers have a place to put some of their supplies when they are racing. You will also need walls on each side or one side of your wall mounted track. Make your wall 1 ½ inches tall to prevent cars from flying off the track and hitting people. If you build it to this height, everyone watching the cars will be able see.

What is needed in getting your raceway ready is plenty of pit tables with electricity, chairs, having the flyer ready to be mailed one month before the event, making sure there are plenty of ladder and tech sheets available, check the drag strip power,(If new batteries are needed they need to be installed a week before your event not during the event. Replacing during an event takes up way to much time and then the batteries aren’t broke in for racing.), having the race directors table with two chairs elevated so that the track is fully visible, taping off the staging area so no one can get in the way of the racers, and getting the winner, r/u, and best appearing box plaques. Best appearing plaques can be done daily or by class it’s up to you. The Jr. Classes and Jr. Bracket should have best appearing separate from the other classes. T-Shirts are an option, We recommend only getting 25 to 35 shirts for the 1st event. You will have to charge a little more for that quantity but it’s better then getting stuck with a lot of extra T- Shirts, and if you run short you can have the racers that want a shirt to prepay and you can mail it to them. Or you can do like CD Raceway has done, order shirts for the local racers that plan on buying them, sell those to the out of town people that come in and you replace your local racers’ shirts after the event. Participant plaques are nice to hand out to the participants. It looks nice if the box plaques, participant plaques and T-Shirts match.

The flyer should have the following: your Raceway Name presents the name of the event at the top, classes listed with entry fee and Paybacks, track records to beat, clear map of directions to track, a list of nearby motels (4 is enough), time track will be open each day, and SDRA rules apply. A picture of the artwork being used dresses it up nicely. The flyer should be 8 1/2 x 11 double or single sided.

Consult with your Distributor for consignment to be delivered two to three weeks before your event. Raceway owners have found that last minute building is always done and a lot of parts are sold in those weeks. It is a good time to get parts in that you normally wouldn’t have already up on your shelves to get a better idea on what to have in stock. Be sure to understand the distributor’s policy concerning your  consignment. (Restocking fee, the amount of time you can have the consignment before shipping it back, etc.)

Having extra people on hand to help run the tower is a must. Be sure to give them something in return, an event T-Shirt, free track time, free meals, parts at cost etc. Having help at the counter is a must also. You want to make sure you entice the people that help enough to want to come and help you again. A hardy “Thank You, We couldn’t have done it without you!” is important. The raceway owner needs to go around and chat with the racers. If you show you appreciate them coming they will come again.

The event is focused around your local program. What big event for whatever reason. It is important for you to stress the point of it being a special event for them. That you appreciate their support. If people come in from out of town that’s great, but make sure they realize they have the advantage of knowing their home track. The people from out of town have the disadvantage.

Schedule for Friday night is usually Super Street, Super Gas, Super Comp and then goes into Brackets. Saturday always starts off with Jr. Dragster, Jr. Funnycar and Jr. Brackets, 4 popular local classes, then go into Saturday night brackets. If your Jr. program is low you might want to schedule Jr. Brackets only. They are our future and they need to be treated special also.

Sundays schedule is optional. Normally the 27 and open motors run on this day but if you have a small local following in this area then more of your most popular local classes should be scheduled. We’re sure that you have found that the Sportsman racers support your business more than the top end racers.

The following Entry Fees and Paybacks are suggested:

Super classes: $5.00/50% track gift certificate. Entry limit 4 cars.

Brackets: $3.00/50% track gift certificate.

Jr. Classes: $3.00/50% track gift certificate.

Jr. Brackets: $2.00/50% track gift certificate.

Bracket buy backs, first round only if time permits: $1.00 or $2.00/raceway owner keeps 100% of buy back money.

Saturday classes (12 and 20 motors): $5.00/50% track gift certificate.

Sunday classes (12 and 20 motors): $5.00/50% track gift certificate.

TA/FC, TA/FD and Top Gun: $10.00/50% track gift certificate. Pro Stock: $15.00/50% cash or track gift certificate.

AA/FC, AA/FD and any other open motor class: $20.00/70% cash or track gift certificate.

Quick 8, 16, or 32, 2 car limit: $10.00/70% cash or track gift certificate.

Quick 8: C-can group 20, $5.00/50% cash or track gift certificate Payback

Raceway Owner Option:

Raceway Owner may choose to qualify all entries in Quick 8 & Quick 16, then have those that make the

field pay to run in elimination’s.

Cash Payback is usually given in the open motored classes only.

Drivers May Enter A Maximum Of Two Cars Per Class At National Or Divisional Events.

(Remember that these are only suggestions and you the raceway owner are in the drivers seat.

There are probably some things you still may have questions about, but we have tried to cover all of the basics, so that you are a success in this venture. Here's wishing you the best of success with your drag racing program. We hope the information that we've provided helps you run a top quality racing facility. Drag racing is growing stronger and stronger every day. If we stick together, we will strengthen it even more. Encourage your racers to travel as a as well, believe it or not, this will only strengthen your racing program, by bonding your racers together. Remember, sportsmanship is the main focus. If you are willing to work hard and be a strong, honest leader for your racers, your financial rewards will follow.


Brackets: Racers turn in paid entry sheets, Race Director shuffles, driver’s meeting, runs off the entry sheets to final round. Distributes gift certificates and donated race prizes. Thanks everyone for coming and invite them back.

Index Classes:

Racers turn in paid entry sheets, Race Director shuffles, driver’s meeting, runs off the entry sheets to final round. Distributes gift certificates and donated race prizes. Thanks everyone for coming and invite them back.


Racers turn in paid entry sheets, driver’s meeting, Race Director runs qualifying in both lanes, puts entry sheets in order of fastest to slowest, fills out ladder sheet and runs race off the ladder sheet. Distributes gift certificates and donated race prizes. Thanks everyone for coming and invite them back.


The Scale Drag Racing Association.

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