so....how long before somebody invents a device that the driver hits when the xmas tree starts and a computer then automatically launches the dragster at exactly the right moment ?
The difference with the pro's and the club guys is the tree they run, your local guys run a .500 tree, where each yellow light comes down then green as opposed to the pro's who run a .400 tree, which is all yellow lights "at once" and then green. The pros light is so much quicker that the moment they release the clutch (At the first sight of yellow light) they go, by then after the green light. Most top fuel racers have a fairly slow reaction time because they do not rev up the motor prior to launching. If you look at their reaction time it is normally in the .050 and higher. The pro stock guys average much better times, Edward's last two lights were .005 and .007. Usually any light lower than a .010 is a "bad red light". Usually because they released the clutch as the yellow lights started opposed to reacting to them. Guess wrong and its a red light.
The local guys have classes, "electronics, boxes, etc." called different things at different tracks. These are essentially the same as releasing the clutch except the electronics control when the car is released. The delay box can be set to delay the car .500 or whatever the driver prefers from when the button is released. So if a driver releases the button .010 after the first yellow light, the car waits .500 and the overall reaction time would be a .010. Some guys release the button on the first light, some on second or third; the delay box allows the driver to configure this delay. If a driver normally has a slow reaction time, of .040 every time he can take .030 out of the box to get closer to a perfect .000 light.