An Average Guy's Introduction to Do-It-Yourself Drag Racing - Part 3

We've established that street tires are OK to run at the strip, but not as effective as the true soft, no-tread drag racing slicks. So, if I wanted to take it a step further I'd be looking for something in the middle.

In my previous post I mentioned the fun I had with my Mustang's first couple of runs. I have wide tires on the back - P265/50/R15 (and off brand Mud and Snow) and that of course didn't help much; neither did the fact that the back-end of the Mustang is pretty light. To get a tire in the middle of the road (no pun intended...oh, heck..sure itwas), I can compare the performance of the tires I have on my 84 Vette. This car has 255/50/ZR16 on the rear end and they performed fairly well at the drag strip, but still suffered from take off spin, (I didn't get those wet or warmed up.) errrkkk...

Here's another mental hurdle: I have been in a car when a tire blows. At a mere 50 miles an hour, I watched as the rubber destroyed the left front end of the mini-van I was driving. Even as I slowed down, it still took out the fender, wheel well lining, headlight assembly and scuffed up the driver's door (yes I drove a was the Ms.' van...yeah...that's right it belonged to the wife....). Anyway, after that experience I have mental images of a tire blowing on my Vette during a warm up and the rear fender turned into dust (being fiber class and all). So, I didn't warm them up. They held a lot better than the mud and snow tires on the Mustang, but I still got a lot of spin out of them.

Quick story: On my second run ever with the Corvette I lined up with a 1960 Corvette with a huge blower on his engine. I looked over at him and mouthed: "Y'er goin' down!" and he laughed so hard I almost beat him off the line...ok fine...maybe I just heard my engine first because you couldn't hear anything after he hit the throttle!!! So, the Mustang was awful with the Mud and Snow tires and the Vette was better on the B.F.G.

Since, I have an average budget, I'd be hard pressed to go buy some Mickey Thompson slicks and wheels. And since I drive my cars all the time, swapping wheels out isn't possible every time I go to the track. I only have average guy tools, which means there's no tire changer in my garage, nor a balance machine.

So what's a good option???? You can thank the street racer (Fast and Furious types) subculture for this really cool option: Street Drag Radials. Yes, they are legal street tires but are soft and have little tread. See the pics at the top and to the right:

These happen to be Mickey Thompson's ET Radials. (No I'm not endorsing them, I've never used them, I don't have any monetary connection to Mickey Thompson's tire company, in fact I'm pretty sure I've never known anyone named Mickey.)

Street/Drag Radials help you avoid the average guy's dilemma of extra rims and mounting issues and grip at the track. Of course, these Mickey Thompson's are about $175.00 each and that might be right on the edge of the average guy's budget. In addition, if you put a lot of miles on your cars, then it might be costly to replace. It's a good bet that since you'll be smoking them a little they aren't going to last nearly as long.

Got a tire idea? Drop a comment here or email me at

Next up...What do I take to the strip and some discussion on what to do while you are there.

Thanks for Reading.

Photo Credit: Tim Sweet

Read more from Tim Sweet at Average Guy's Car Restoration, Mods and Racing