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Taking a turn

When you begin the game, you start the qualifying lap by yourself, but will encounter other cars on the track later. Drive the course just as you would in the actual race, as described below. If you beat the time needed to qualify, a synthesized voice will commend you on your driving skill. Then, depending on your actual qualifying time, you will be assigned a position from first (the pole position) through eighth for the start of the race. Earning the pole position (58.5 seconds on a standard machine) is very helpful: it assures you of starting the race in first place, and earns you a 4000 point bonus in addition to the 10,000 points received for the qualifying lap.

Once you have qualified for the race, your car is placed in its proper position at the starting line. The race will last up to four laps (some machines limit it to three), depending on how well you do. As the starting lights count down to green, you should be in low gear with the gas pedal to the floor.

As you accelerate away from the starting line, shift into high gear at around 100 mph. You should then stay in high gear for the entire race, unless you crash and need to start again. Try to move out in front of the pack before the first turn; if you started in back, pass between the cars in front of you.

Go into the first turn on the left side of the track and then cut to the inside. With perfect timing, you can take the first turn at full speed without skidding. As you come out of the turn and pass the Namco sign, you'll see cars ahead of you. Pass them on the shoulder if necessary, but don't slow down.

Slide past the cars

Next is a sharp right turn marked by a Dig Dug sign, off the left side of the track. Stay to the left so you can prepare for the hairpin turn which follows immediately. It's too sharp to take at full speed, and there are usually other cars in front of you. The best way to take the turn is to cut the corner by driving off the left side of the track, being careful not to hit the Pole Position sign on the left shoulder. If you have trouble with this, the next best approach is to let up on the gas and stay on the road. Never shift to low gear or use the breaks, but you must slow down if you stay on the road; otherwise, you'll slide off the track and hit the Centipede sign on the right side.

The next part of the course is a long, sweeping right turn flanked by numerous signs and billboards. Stay as far to the inside as possible so you can see more of the track in front of you and avoid blind crashes. A Pole Position sign on the right will mark the start of the final straightaway into the finish line.

The entire time you're racing, a timer is counting down how many seconds you have left. If you reach the finish line before your time runs out, you're awarded an additional 45 seconds of racing time to try to complete another lap. You'll continue racing until you fail to complete a lap in the alloted time or you complete the maximum number of laps (3 or 4, depending on the settings).

Whenever you play, aim for the perfect game: starting in the pole position and driving the entire race without crashing. It takes precision driving and fast reactions, but it can be done. And if you get off to a bad start, try a slow trip around the track to read the colorful road signs—they're kind of hard to appreciate at 185 mph.