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Drag Radials for Drag Racing

Jul 25, 2008
There comes a time when most people get the urge to take their muscle car to the drag strip to see what she will do in a quarter mile run. Drag racing can be an inexpensive and fun way to enjoy your car. It can also get quite competitive, especially if you and your friends start racing for bragging rights.

Having the right set of tires on your car is one of the most crucial aspects to successful drag racing. So much of a car's ET, or elapsed time, is based on its performance in the initial 60 feet of the race. You will notice that on the time slip that you get at the end of each run, there is a line dedicated to the 60 foot time telling you how many seconds it took you to reach that marker. This measurement is a great method of determining how much traction your car is getting on the hole-shot.

The quicker your car can get off the line, the faster the run will be. This is where tire selection comes into the picture. If you have ever seen a slow-motion video of a funny car or top fuel dragster launching at the strip, then you might have noticed that the huge rear tires actually seem to sag and bow under heavy acceleration. This wrinkling in the sidewall of the tire occurs so that the maximum size contact patch can be maintained while all of that power is applied at once.

You might be wondering how the tires on an 8000 horsepower drag car are relevant to your situation. The key is understanding that allowing the sidewall of a tire to deform slightly helps increase overall traction when launching. What this means in practical terms is that low-profile tires do not make good drag tires and since their sidewalls are far too thin to deform, instead of gripping they often spin or chatter when power is dumped to the rear axle.

Since dedicated drag racing tires, called slicks, do not have any tread (just an ultra-sticky rubber compound), they are not safe for every day driving, especially in the rain. The best option when it comes to drag tires that you can drive safely to the track and then back home again are drag radials. Drag radials are tires with enough tread to handle reasonably wet conditions, but still have the majority of the tire smooth and sticky for maximum traction. They are also designed to be rigid enough for safe highway use, but when a deflated to a lower pressure, their sidewalls can wrinkle in a similar fashion to true slicks.

Drag radials are an excellent option to dramatically improve your traction out of the hole, and speed up your 60 foot times. Many people say that a drag race is won or lost in those crucial first few seconds, and this type of tire can help keep you on the winning end of that equation more often than not while still letting you drive home safely at the end of the evening.
About the Author
Justina Mathews writes issues that currently affect the performance car enthusiast. She also writes about issues that affect the street tuner industry, as well as import scene lifestyle. She's a staff writer for s max intercooler.
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