well, first of all, you don't need to street race to know how to drag race. It isn't the same.
Your friend is right about the 60' time. If you drop it by 1/10th, that is 2/10ths in the quarter.
If you have the 5-speed manual, then you need to practice slipping the clutch. Don't worry about reaction time, it doesn't affect your E.T. They have that for bracket racing. Basically, the idea is to get very little wheelspin, as low as possible. So slipping the clutch out or powerbraking an automatic will help.
With regards to your mods...you won't see much more than a mid-low 16 at about 83-85mph if you have a 5-speed. If you have an auto, then high 16s will be your best bet.