One of the best things about buying a fresh set of slicks is that you get to break them in. While it's hardly rocket science, there is a right way to do it for maximum performance. "Mickey Thompson Tires suggests that you increase air pressure by 0.5 to 1 psi, then perform a generous burnout and drive the car hard out of the waterbox," suggests Ken. "This will help scuff the tires and secrete the tacky oils from the tread area."
Although the rule of thumb for tire growth is 1 to 1.5 inches at 150 mph, there are far too many variables to definitively predict how much tires will grow as a car traverses the track. "Drag tires are basically soft balloons with sticky rubber on them that hook the car up off the line and down the track," explains Ken. "Naturally, they elongate and grow in diameter." How much they grow depends on the car and tire choice. The taller and wider the tire the greater its degree of growth. The weight and speed of the vehicle factor into the growth of a tire as well. "It may take some trial and error to see how tire growth affects your gearing," Ken says.
M/T Drag Wheels
Both strength and light weight are critical properties of any quality drag wheel. Low mass reduces drivetrain losses and improves weight transfer, so Mickey Thompson decided to build its own line of forged-aluminum wheels to complement its tires. "Our ET Drag Wheels are the only rotary-forged wheels on the market," says Ken. "That means they are ultralight, very round, and extremely strong. When you carry the front end of a race car in a wheelstand for 60 feet, you can be confident that the wheels will not fail upon touchdown." M/T's wheels are available for skinnies and slicks, and each is drilled with a dual bolt pattern, allowing fitment for a multitude of applications.
When racing season comes to an end, drag slicks are usually thrown in the corner of the garage to collect dust until the spring. Unfortunately, this type of neglect can reduce tire life and compromise performance. During winter months, or whenever tires are being stored for long periods of time, Ken suggests removing them from the car or jacking the car off the ground to remove load. Drop the air pressure to 5 psi and keep the tires away from direct light. "It's best to keep them covered up and avoid exposing them to extremely high or low temperatures," he explains. "Also, keep tires away from electric motors, furnaces, and air compressors, since they create damaging heat."
Mickey Thompson Tires