Driver’s Toolbox: Brake and Throttle Inputs

instructor roll and melt

On the track, we use various phrases to educate our drivers on proper technique. It’s not only for the experience but also for crucial techniques to learn in performance driving. “Melt off the brake,” and “Roll on the throttle” are two of the most important techniques to learn when getting started in performance driving.  

Here’s how to apply the two techniques and why they’re so important.  

  • Alex Awsumb – Chief Instructor New Orleans:
    “I love the word toolbox!! I use the term ‘melt off’ or ‘ease off/on’ to communicate we want smooth pedal inputs. Most guests are choppy and tend to stab at the pedals. Using ‘melt off’ reiterates what has been taught in class and helps instructors manage our pace.”
  • Jimmie Johnson – Safety Commissioner and Lead Instructor:
    “Roll on the throttle’ is the term we use for how we influence the vehicle acceleration in a smooth and controlled manner. This allows for a gradual weight transfer to the rear wheels and continual traction throughout the increase in forward momentum or speed to the power based wheels. This is essential when exiting a corner where the weight balance is forward and/or to one side. Hard or wide open acceleration will increase the likelihood of the unweighted drive wheel(s) to spin or lose contact with the surface. This has the tendency to induce wheel spin, decreased forward momentum and loss of vehicle control. Rolling on the throttle is another tool in the arsenal of how to be SMOOOOOOOTH!“
  • Cal DeNyse – General Manager and Chief Instructor:
    Melting off the brake is a description commonly used to describe the input required when releasing the brake pedal. This helps them with weight transfer and is a building block to high-performance driving. Drivers need to learn a proper release as the first step. This is typically followed up by then learning to trail brake.


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