Rim Screws & Bead locks"Rim screws are required when there are signs of the tire slipping and turning on the wheel," Ken says. "To check for this, simply mark the tire and the wheel with a straight chalk line at the sidewall and the wheel lip, and monitor slippage after each pass. Many racers successfully run tubeless drag tires with rim screws. However, M/T recommends using racing tubes at all times when using screws. Rim screws are designed to pin the wheel lip to the bundle of bead wire embedded in the bead of the tire. On the other hand, bead locks are designed to clamp the bead for maximum bite to completely eliminate tire slippage. Bead locks are highly recommended for drag cars that run 200 mph or faster."
DotWhen it comes to tires, the Department of Transportation is the Federal watchdog that ensures your meats are safe to drive on the road. "Obtaining DOT approval involves passing indoor lab tests under high-speed and extended loading conditions," explains Ken. "The tire is also required to meet dimensional requirements and pass tests for bead unseating and puncture-penetration resistance. It should go without saying that non-DOT-approved tires should only be used at the racetrack."
Tire WeightThe vastly different types of construction used in drag tires result in vastly different tire weights, but how much does that impact performance? "The weight of a drag-slick radial is very comparable to the weight of a bias-ply slick," says Ken. On the other hand, DOT radials (like M/T ET Street Radials) are heavier, but the radial construction has such low rolling resistance that the extra weight is hardly an issue. "Please understand that radials do not work on all race cars," Ken cautions. "They are very temperamental and require a lot of experimenting and chassis tuning."
Tire Choices"Mickey Thompson ET Drags are the ultimate 'strip tire, offering maximum traction and consistency," Ken says. "They are available in both bias-ply and radial construction. ET Street tires are DOT-approved versions of ET Drags best suited for racing classes that require DOT tires. ET Street Radials are intended for racing classes that require DOT-approved radial tires. Due to their incredible compounding and construction, ET Street Radials have been proven to be faster than bias-ply ET Streets, but they work best with automatic transmissions and require tuning the car to the tire."