Modifying your car for a trip to the drag strip might not seem entirely necessary, especially if you own a modern muscle car. Even these already-buff cars can benefit from more than a few things before you head out to the track. Here are some modifications that you should consider adding before your next race.
1. Cold Air Intake
While your car might be able to generate a decent amount of horsepower and torque, chances are, it’s being suffocated by the engineers that designed it. Adding a cold air intake to your car can give you some extra power, and it’s probably one of the most inexpensive mods on our list. They’re even super easy to install. Having an engine that can’t catch its breath might mean that some of the other horsepower and performance mods won’t work as well as they might with a cold air intake installed.
2. Computer Reprogramming
The base programming for your modern muscle car will ensure that it meets the stock horsepower and torque requirements, but it isn’t tuned to be as powerful as it could be, which is where aftermarket computer flashing or reprogramming comes in.
This modification can be expensive, and the costs will vary depending on the exact make and model of your car because a new tuning program has to be designed for each new model that rolls off the assembly line. A handheld tuner will contain all the software and firmware changes that you require to reprogram your stock ECM — all you need to do is plug it in and let it do its job to get a boost in horsepower.
3. Safety Equipment
Racing your car on a drag strip can be dangerous if you don’t have the right equipment to keep you safe. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of safety equipment installed in case the worst happens and you or someone else on the track loses control and you end up on the wrong side of a car accident.
Your car should include:
- Safety Harnesses: A regular seatbelt isn’t going to cut it. Most licensed races require that your vehicle is equipped with a 5-point racing harness, but you can go as high as a 6- or 7-point harnesses for extra safety.
- Fire Suppression System: There’s nothing more dangerous than a burning car, so it’s essential to have a fire suppression system installed on the vehicle. This is cheap insurance for your car as well as your life if you get in a bad situation.
- Racing Tires: Racing tires offer more traction at the track. They also increase your control as well, helping to keep you safe behind the wheel.
This is only a small list — don’t skimp on your safety equipment even if it adds a bit of extra weight to your chassis. Make sure you have a high-quality helmet, driving suit, and gloves for added protection.
4. Driveline Upgrades
A vehicle in stock form is not designed for the abuse a drag strip can dish out. With a sticky surface prepped for maximum traction, a lot of the driveline components are a weak link. Rather than waiting on something to break it’s always a good idea to upgrade these parts. Driveshafts, rearends, and heavy-duty axles are popular upgrades.
5. Line Lock
If you’re heading to the drag strip, a line lock can make your starting burnout a lot easier and easier on your brakes. Line-lock kits lock the front brakes without utilizing the rear brakes. This kit can also help you if you are racing a car with a manual transmission by keeping you from rolling through the beams as you stage the car for launch. A line-lock kit runs roughly $300, depending on the specific make and model of your modern muscle car.
This list gives just a small sample of the mods that you could use on your modern muscle car to get it ready for the drag strip. Make sure you check with the racetrack to ensure your mods are allowed and that you have the necessary safety equipment required.
About the author
Scott Huntington writes about cars all over the internet, but muscle cars are his one true love.