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Family Software - Drag Racing Computers and Software

Family Software was founded by Bob Kodadek from Aston, PA, in 1986. Bob was introduced to drag racing by his oldest brother, Frank, at the age of 12. Bob built his first car, a '49 Ford Coupe, when he was 15 years old, was racing at 16, and won his first race at 17, at the old Vargo Dragway in Perkasie, PA. He graduated from Upper Darby Senior High School, and then spent two years in the US Army attaining the rank of Sergeant E5. He attended and graduated from the Chrysler Corporation's Technical Training School, and became a Chrysler, Plymouth and Dodge technician specializing in engine building and automatic transmission repair. During this time Bob competed in C/Stock, D/Stock, C/Gas, D/Gas, and D/MP. After 16 years of racing, working in many auto dealerships, and owning his own repair shop, he decided that computers and software were indeed the future and began studying computers and physics in preparation for a career change. He also finished courses of study at Chicago Technical College.

The First Home Computers
When the Personal Computer first appeared on the scene, Bob was already programming in machine language and wrote many programs for the Commodore Vic-20, C64, and C128 home computers. He starting writing articles for many of the computer magazines of the day and became a guru of machine language programming. He soon became an associate editor of RUN magazine, Commodore magazine, and Compute! Gazette for Commodore.

David versus Goliath
In 1984, Bob started writing Pro Stock, the first drag racing game for a personal computer entirely in machine language! Pro Stock was submitted to many software publishers, including Activision. Pro Stock underwent many changes and eventually became Drag Race Eliminator and was again sent to Activision. Month after month passed and Activision continued to make numerous promises, but in reality had secretly rushed to produce their own drag racing game. At this time, Bob was offered the position of editor for Compute! magazine, but declined because it would necessitate a move
to North Carolina. Instead, when he found out what Activision was doing, he founded Family Software and started selling Drag Race Eliminator, for the Commodore 64, on his own. It quickly became one of the most popular racing games available. Besides Activision's Top Fuel Eliminator, there was another copycat drag race program that followed shortly after, but they were all short-lived. Bob ported the game over to the IBM PC and compatible machines and the rest is history. Drag Race Eliminator to this day, is the only two-player, drag racing program with an accuracy to one thousandth's of a second. Drag Race Eliminator also remains the longest selling racing game in the history of personal computers.

The First Practice Tree for Drag Racing
In 1987, Bob took his innovative timing routines from Drag Race Eliminator and used them to produce the first Practice Tree, PC Tree . First, for the Commodore 64 and then for the IBM personal computer. He followed it up in 1988 with another first, Drag Math Calculator for both platforms. At this point, Bob started building a front engine dragster, as a father and son project, and went bracket racing seriously. Using the PC Tree practice tree software, Bob quickly became one of the best 'bottom bulb' racers in the area and was winning races where his worst reaction time of the day was better than .512, with an average of .509, on a .500 tree. Delay boxes were not legal or used at this time in Division 1. In wanting to be more consistent on his dial in, he started running methanol and building his own methanol calibrated carburetors. He then wrote the first ET Prediction software for a personal computer, The ET Predictor. At this time, laptops were not prevalent, so he started selling Sharp EL-5500 III handheld computers with the ET Predictor programming installed. Later, when these were discontinued by Sharp, he switched to the Sharp PC-1270 and the ET Predictor II became one of the most popular ET Prediction computers around.

A Return to NHRA Drag Racing Competition
When Bob started NHRA Super Comp racing in 1992, he quickly realized how difficult it was to get a throttle stop equipped race car to repeat. Needing a way to accurately monitor the engine RPM, he searched for an existing data recorder as a diagnostic tool. However, no one manufactured a data recorder that could do the job. Having sampling rates of 60 times a second, at best, nothing was capable of measuring minute RPM variation. So, he put together the first drag racing only, all-digital data recorder, the DataMaster Sportsman Computer. The DataMaster has a sampling rate of over 3,300 times a second and was the first, and is still the only, data recorder to monitor engine and drive line RPM as a frequency, and not as a simple counter. Being able to see as little as 3 RPM of variation, Bob quickly learned how to make a throttle stop work correctly and became deadly at running the 8.90 index. In 1995, traveling all over the east coast, at every race he attended, he never ran worse than 8.915 right out of the trailer. Bob Kodadek (SC 1596) was number 1 in NHRA Super Comp for much of the 1995 season, and ended up finishing # 7 in the world and # 2 in NHRA Division 1.




Always The Innovator
Family Software continues
to be innovative in producing new products for the drag racing industry including the RaceLog Pro Plus software, RaceLog Pro Lite software, ET Predictor Pro software, trailer stations/paging systems, and drag racing software for the Palm OS PDA's. Family Software is now working on apps for the popular Android cell phones, tablets, and Google TV.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_Race_Eliminator


 

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