Brakes are often overlooked until there's a problem with them. For instance, how many times have you been racing and all of a sudden the pedal gets soft and starts getting closer and closer to the floorboard? Could this problem have been avoided? Without a doubt, it absolutely can.

What amazes me is that some drivers will go more than one race with the vehicle this way. Diagnosing the problem doesn't seem to be much of a concern for the team, which if you think about it is comical. The one thing that's going to prevent you from slamming the car spinning in front of you is a working brake package.

The point of all this is each week you need to inspect every aspect of your brake package. This will ensure that your brakes are not the cause of problems at the track. If you ignore them, it will catch up with you eventually, and it might just end up costing you a car. I've provided a checklist that every team should go through when inspecting their brake system. These 10 questions will help you make it through this season with little to no problems.

1.Have you chosen a brake package that is right for the type of tracks you will be racing?
Choosing the right brake package is essential to avoiding problems during the season. If you choose a single piston design with very little cooling made for a Street Stock, and put it on a 400hp Modified to save a little bit of money; I can guarantee you'll have problems at some point during the year.

We had to choose the right package for our asphalt project car. We knew we needed something that would last 250 laps without getting a soft pedal or worse, loosing the brakes. We decided to go with Raybestos' three-piston-designed calipers and brakes. Their design will keep the brakes, rotors, and fluid cool enough to prevent any problems throughout the year. Plus, their aggressive pad and rotor design will also give a leg up on the competition.

If you run a brake package that isn't capable of dissipating the enormous heat buildup that your brakes will experience, then you will encounter huge problems. Along with your brakes and rotors wearing excessively, the heat will also attack the brake fluid and it will start to boil. This causes air bubbles, and air bubbles in your brake line is never a good combination. This is the most common cause of a soft pedal.

2-3. Was there a problem last week? And is this a recurring problem?
Your prep work during the off-season is meant to avoid any problems at the track. But if you do encounter a problem, diagnosing it correctly is key to not encountering the problem again at the track. If the problem is happening every week you might have to go back to No. 1 and make certain that your brake package is right for your application. If this wasn't a recurring problem, then the next few questions will help you diagnose exactly from where the problem is stemming.

4. Were the brakes bled before the A-feature?
This is such an easy thing to do, but most teams won't even think to bleed the brakes before the A-main. It accomplishes more than just making sure all of the air is out of the lines. After you bleed them and top the master cylinders off with brake fluid, it will also ensure that the master cylinders are full of fresh fluid. If you did forget to bleed the brakes do so now, and then continue on with the checklist. By doing this regularly you're replenishing the brakes and master cylinders with fresh fluid.