Average Guy’s Drag Racing Part III

So 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.

The previous post I mentioned the fun I had with the my Mustang’s first couple of runs and I have wide tires on the back – P265/50/R15 (and off brand Mud and Snow) and that of course didn’t help much, pulls the fact that the back-end of the Mustang is pretty light.

To get something in the middle of the road, 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 the take off spin, (I didn’t get those wet or warmed  up.)  errrkkk…Here’s another mental hurdle…..I 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 mini-van..it was the Miss’ 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 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 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 a street tires but are soft and have little tread.  See the pics:

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 helps 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, and 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 near as long.

Got a tire idea?   Drop a comment here!!!

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

Thanks for Reading.


Average Guy’s Drag Racing Part II

Do I need different tires?

This is a tough one.  Strictly from a budget point of view…nope.  I run my Mustang and Vette with the street tires. 

What not to do:  (Read and heed) 

At most tracks they have the water area where most cars with drag rubber will run through.  It helps to get the tires spinning.  Avoid that!!!  On my very first run, I thought I’d be cool and do it like the big boys.  Got the tires wet…..oh..they’ll spin alright..no problem…but hey aren’t soft enough to grip and well…lets just say it gets a little hairy and all I wanted was to just trying to get them to smoke a little..would have been fun.  Well..what did happen was the Mustang started going sideways toward the concrete divider, mind you,  I’m not even to the line yet, (and I’m think..”Hey honey..can you move your car so the tow truck and back in to the driveway).

  So not only did they not smoke, they didn’t even get hot, just wet.  Now take wet street tires and place them on 1/8 inch of rubber sticking to strip and…ta dah…you have a Mustang on ice…great!!!  I recovered from that and got to the line.  This was a charity race and I looked a cross concrete divider at this front wheel drive Ford Focus and I smiled…..but only for a second.  The tree started and I popped the clutch and  heard my bored out 302  engine rev and felt it go…. nowhere….the tires just spun…I see the Focus take off and I let up on the gas the Mustang took off, fishtailing…..I think I did two miles on the 1/4 mile strip, during that run.  I did manage to get her up to 86 miles an hour that time but..I was at the end of the run and Focus has already turned off.

What to do:

Avoid the wetting down area.  Your street tires will spin….trust me…on all that rubber the other cars have left for you. Warm you tires up only a little. 

Now as an average guy..I only have a street car…just like it came off the show room floor, no trans-brake…nope… just a clutch and a gas pedal.  So with a manual shift..and street tries  you have to be careful taking off.  I have out treed a few cars but you have to be light on the clutch. The tires will spin a little and you can limit that a bit with the clutch.  A few feet out you will find more grip and 2nd and 3rd will be fine…um….I don’t have a 4th in the Mustang…so that’s pretty much it for me.

My next few passes went much better with my best being 93.43 mph with a 15.391 time.  Now that’s pretty good with street tires and only 3 speeds.  (Considering the first pass..documented above had a time of 17.54 at 78.98 mph.)

Coming up…tire options for  the average guy..

Drag Racing for the Average Guy

In a previous post I talked about  psychological hurdles that an average guy, with average skill, average tools and an average budget has to deal with when he owns a classic car (ok…doesn’t have to be a classic…just “loved”).  One of those was the fear of something breaking, either while you driving it or working on it.  Can I fix it? Do I have the right tool?  What if I can’t?  Do I know anyone that can?  For free?  Can I afford to get it fixed?  Even worse – long will I be deprived of driving it? 

These are my concerns–always. 

So with these worries..what in H….E. double L (does everyone get the H..E double L??) am I doing drag racing!?!?!?!   Where’s my head at?!??!?!?!! 

I hope you aren’t sitting there waiting for an answer!!!!   ‘Cause I don’t know.  I just do it. 

But dude….you are so average….especially  in the budget….heck..in all the areas listed above…oh and BTW….how about SWMBO (she who must be obeyed)…how’s that going to go…..”Hey honey guess what?  I was at the tree and the light turned green and I got a huge jump on the V.W. next to me and the darndest thing happend…little pieces of my u-joint flew everywhere.  Would you mind moving your car so the tow truck back into the driveway…thanks snookems!!!”….Um…sure…… good luck with that!!! 

So over the next few post, I’m going to give some average guy tips for handling a little test and tune drag racing. 

Next up…do I need different tires????? 

Thanks for reading.   

My Coupe taking of from the line. Before the new paint!!!



Auto Factoids for the Week of 2/21/10

2/21/1948 – First NASCAR Race in Daytona, Fl

2/24/1968  AMC brings  the AMX into showrooms

1968 AMC AMX

Project Car? Get it Featured here.

Just about every auto blog, has a place where the reader can upload their cars.  I think that’s great but I’d like to take it a bit further.  If you have a project car, no matter the condition or state of restoration it’s in….erk….even if it’s just sitting out in the backyard and you’re thinking about restoring…let me know.  I want to feature it on the front page this blog.  There is a following for the Average Guy’s Car Restoration, Mods and Racing blog, (over 60 view in one day) and it’s followed on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

So become part of the Average Car Guy’s Nation.   Drop me a comment and we’ll get your car featured.  If we can muster up a good flow of cars, we’ll have a car of the month contest with a gift card give away.

Thanks for reading.


Car Art Questions?

I received a couple emails referring to the images on the blog.  Generally, I can’t get copies of the Robert Hooper’s prints, but I can get copies of the Mustang interior.

If you are interested let me know…sorry..they aren’t free…but very reasonable.

Thanks for the interest.  Remember, a blog’s life’s blood are comments.  Drop me some.

Thanks for reading.


Barrett Jackson Auction Photo

Car Art…Love it.

I love car art…anything from poster, to quality prints  to cartoonish drawings.

On my wall in my office here at home I have 4 beautiful pieces done by Robert Hooper.  We ran into him in Prescott, Az and at a street fair and, I just have to have these pieces.

I can’t them off the wall and scan them.  So you’ll just have to stop by and see them….little joke there.  I tried to capture them with the digital.  Not great…but here ya go.



And the last of Mr. Hooper’s

I like these.

I really like this next one in particular…why?  It’s an image of the interior of my Mustang.  Let me know what you think.  This one hangs up in my office at work.  Little washed out as posted here but much better in person.

You have a piece of car art?  Let’s hear about.  Drop a note, post a pic or email an image to me and I’ll put up on the blog.

Thanks for reading.


A Restoration Tip: Keeping the Quarter Panels and Doors Dry.

As I slowly start to bring this  blog back to the core of why I created this blog (Restoration, Modifying, Race..etc) I’ll begin to post some restoration tips.  This will be things I’ve actually done, or friends have done that I know worked.

So here is one:

Most of the old cars with manually roll down windows have felt window seals.  You know,  the two cushions on either side of the door that the window slide up between.  Those are normally rubber with felt covering and over time they get hard and shrink.  The next thing you now you have water in the bottom of your door.  That water will rust your car, even in Tucson, AZ where I live. 

I don’t know if you are like me but I drive my cars, no garage babies or trailer queens and I drive them while they are in the middle of being restored…..erk…as long as they are safe to do so (had to through that in there…just in case!!!).   This means they get wet, although here in AZ, it’s mainly from a weekly washing, it’s still water.  I bring this up because, besides the door felt leaking, other rubber areas can leak as well.  The very thing  that makes AZ so great, the abundance of sunshine, can be harmful to your car.  Sure it’s great for getting a tan and raising cactus… not so great for plastic and rubber parts of your car.  

I know this because I had a problem with my Mustang and a rear window leak.  Water would puddle up (slightly) in the trunk.  If you are familiar with the older cars you’ll know that many of the trunks have a drop off on each side of the trunk floor that leads to the side lamps.  This forms a nice little well in the bottom of the rear quarter panels and water collects there.  Where water collects, water rusts….ya don’t need a degree in chemistry to figure that out.

So now I have water in both my doors and both of my quarter panels.  NOT GOOD!!!!!   Some cars were built with in drains in the quarter panels…my Mustang has them.  However, if you remember back a few post (errkkk….Hey if you are new to my blog…go back and read the older posts..there’s some good stuff there…) I mentioned that my Mustang was rear ended.  During the major reconstruction the body shop left debris in the quarters and it plugged the drain.  Unprofessional, for sure (we’ll talk more about picking the right place to have the work done in another post), and dangerous.

So make sure you check this area out and keep the drains unplugged.

Now I went a step further…I took an 1/8 inch drill bit and added a couple extra holes in the doors and quarter to ensure that air gets in there and the water can get out.

Ok..anyone freaking out yet??  Good!!!  I placed these where they can’t be seen (unless you are laying on your back with the door open in the very bottom of the door between the weather-stripping and the outside of the door, where it meets the rocker panel. And in the quarter panels I just drilled in  the 1/4 space that  is the width of the bottom.

I took a very small round file and smoothed the holes up and then took a little touch up paint to them.

Works like a dream and but you still have to check them and ensure they don’t plug up.

Any other good idea? Drop in a comment.

Thanks for reading.


Car Show pics.

Here are a few picks from a past car show.  Enjoy..  that’s my Corvette next to the Stang. 

Pic 2


Trophy Winner with the 70 coupe


Mustang took 1st in Under Construction and the Vette took 2nd in its class