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Learn To Drive a 9 Second Pro Gas Pontiac Firebird

The Frank Hawley Drag Racing School

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If you’ve never driven a 9 Second Pro Gas Pontiac Firebird, or any other racecar, a driving school is the safest and easiest way to do so. If you’ve never driven a racecar that runs in the 9-second range at more than 135 mph, you will have the time of your life. If you just bought a racecar and need to get a competition license, this is also for you. Driving school should be on everyone’s bucket list.

If you are thinking you can handle any car, and also think you are going to sign up for Frank Hawley’s driving school just to learn how to drive his 9 Second Pro Gas Pontiac Firebird, you are only 10-percent correct. Hawley is part philosopher, part sports psychologist and part racer. To teach you what he knows, he relies on his years of Funny Car driving experience and insight from professional athletes, brain surgeons and anyone else that might have useful information about what is happening between the hand and the eye. His driving school is more about what you don’t know about driving than what to do in one of his racecars.

“The most important thing to do to prepare for the class is to read the course book,” laughs Hawley. This is the first lesson. In order to do anything as complicated as driving a racecar, you must train your subconscious to take the steps without conscious thought. In the course book are diagrams of the inside of the racecar and a step-by-step guide to the procedure that gets you from the staging lanes to the finish line without making mistakes. Repetition and visualizing these steps makes it happen on race day.

The two-day driving school has classroom instruction and plenty of track time designed to get you a NHRA competition license. To license, you must complete a 200, 600, 1000-ft and three full quarter-mile runs without making any major mistakes. Hawley is there every step of the way.

In the classroom, Hawley teaches you about bio-mechanics, or how different muscle tension slows or speeds reaction times, how to hold the steering wheel and controls, and what to do when things go wrong. There are also interesting lessons on controlling your mind that transcend driving and become a sort of self-help for a lot of other parts of your life.

The 9 Second Pro Gas Pontiac Firebird is powered by a 572-inch Chevrolet Performance big-block. For the class, the engines are de-tuned so the car will run 9.40 at about 145 mph in the quarter mile.

The cars use a transbrake to leave the starting line and a button that locks the front brakes for the burnout. If you can figure out how to use the line-lock and the transbrake in the correct order and train yourself not to lift off the gas pedal when you launch, there is a good chance of getting through the school.

If you make it through the six runs and get signed off and have some spending cash, you can continue to make more runs or cross-license in a dragster on the same day for $200 per run. Sign up at FrankHawley.com.

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