Trans-Brake Tell-All: What a Trans-Brake Does & How to Use It

Before the advent of the trans-brake, racers using automatic transmissions were at the mercy of the foot brakes installed in their respective cars. The stick shift guys had a big advantage, because they just had to engage the line lock (Roll Control) to leave consistently at an engine rpm where the car worked the best.

Then the transmission brake came along.

This then-revolutionary device allowed an automatic transmission car to consistently leave the line at a reasonably high rpm and consequently be “on the converter.” It also fixed the issue we all faced with brakes that couldn’t hold a car when staging. In short, the trans-brake evened the playing field between stick and automatic racers and truly changed drag racing forever.

When the trans-brake came out, there were a couple of different formats: the electric internal brake and the external CO2 setup. The pages of NHRA’s National DRAGSTER were sometimes filled with “trans-brake war” ads – manufacturers claiming their trans-brake was more consistent, more reliable, and had a quicker, faster release. While there were no clear winners at the time, you’d be hard pressed to find a CO2 brake. The electrically operated brake is the norm.  Read More