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A dial-in time is a term used in drag racing to claim how fast a racer's car is. Dial-in times function to determine which cars race against each other. If one car's dial-in time is significantly slower than another's, the slower car is given a handicap (which is done in E.T. bracket racing). The purpose of dial-in times is to make the race fair - so if a racer beats his or her dial-in time, he or she is automatically disqualified. Dial-in times can, however, be manipulated to be significantly slower than the car actually performs, in a technique called sandbagging.
A car that runs 14.28, 14.30, and 14.32 seconds in quarter-mile practice runs could have a dial-in time of about 14.30 seconds. If the racer sets the time too low at 14.28, there is no guarantee that the car will actually run that fast in the real race, and time will be lost in the handicap to the opponent. If the racer sets his or her dial-in time too high at 14.32, there is a good chance the car will outperform that time and he or she will be disqualified.
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