Michigan Short Track Racing Club: Asphalt tracks & Tires - Michigan Short Track Racing Club

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Asphalt tracks & Tires

#1 User is offline   BigEd Icon

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:27 AM

So Verwayne has asked us to post a little more often to help get the word out and get more traffic flowing here at our new home. It got me thinking about all the different columns I wrote over the years, and the topics I brought up and how they were debated. Most of the debating never happened here at the MSTRC, so I thought from time to time this off season, I'd go back into my old files and post some of my old columns for open discussion here on our club. The first one that came to mind was a column I wrote on May 1st, 2014 for the Michigan Racing Scene. I copied it and nothing has been edited from it's original version. Give it a read, and give an opinion, that's what this place is for.

The ďINĒ Crowd

Howdy Racefans!!!

Iíve been pretty fortunate throughout my life to be in a position to have met a lot of different drivers at a lot of different race tracks. Iíve seen some act professional and courteous, and some, not so much. Drivers usually wear their emotions on their sleeves, kinda like yours truly. So you donít have to try and figure out what may be bothering them. In the racing arena, the pit area specifically, drivers have a one track mind. They are looking for ways to go faster. Whether it is springs, shocks, tires, engine, even aerodynamics. They are in need of speed. And their disposition about their plight is the very last thing on their minds. This is what they live for. Not only to race, but to win. And to win, for the most part, you must be fast, faster than the competition. While Iíve named a few ways they do that, there are many more. But for today, Iím going to focus on one aspect of that, tires.

So for purposes of this column, Iím staying on the asphalt. The tire situation on dirt is nothing like it is on asphalt. It doesnít take a rocket scientist to figure out that tires wear more on asphalt as compared to dirt. So when walking through a pit area before qualifying you see almost every driver or crew member measuring tires, looking them over, treating them like they may be one of their children. By that, I mean that they show great concern about every possible aspect of that tire. It kind of freaks me out a little when I get brave enough to ask, or question a driver on some aspect of one of their tires and they go on a roll talking endlessly about numerous things that I canít begin to understand. Whoa!! I thought I knew a thing or two about tires. Ha!! I know nothing!!! In our pit areas we have bonafide experts who know all about the use and abuse of rubber. So when I think about that fact, I also wonder why do we have such a problem in our sport with tires? If all these different drivers, in different divisions, have all this knowledge about tires, and different views on which tire is better, and how to make it work best, and last the longest, then whatís the problem?? And what the hell is any promoter doing in the tire business?

Iíll tell you why, they were forced into it a long, long time ago. Once that happened, nothing has seemed to really change, except for the companies providing the tires, and the type of quality you receive from that product, and prices they charge you to buy them. Tires have become one of the most expensive items any asphalt racers must endure to participate competitively. Ask any one of them. Iíve listened to drivers tell me how they cannot go to certain races because they just canít flat out afford the tires. To me, thatís practically criminal. It makes no sense. So how do we fix this?

This question has been asked for decades. And to this day, we have no answer. We keep doing the same thing over and over again, with the same result. (the definition of insanity!) Even though most donít like it, it is the best we have so we just keep paying the tire bill. I think this cost us racers, I know it does. Maybe we should experiment with some outside of the box thinking.

I think race tracks and promoters should get out of the tire business. They make very little on the sale of a tire, and take on all the responsibility of that tireís manufacturer. Who do the drivers go to first when there is a tire issue? The one who sold it to them. Storing and selling tires are one of the promoterís biggest pains in the butt. And tires are one of the driverís biggest grievances and issue. So let the drivers go get their own tires, and adjust your tracks tires rules to size and a few other must have regulations. But for the most part, get the promoter out of the tire business and put that responsibility on the race team and driver.

Some of you are laughing at me real hard right now. Its ok, I understand. A lot will feel this will increase the price of tires because everyone will have to have the tire that the fast guy had last week. Probably so. But eventually, all will catch on, and all will equal out. How many different tire stores are there in your community? Man, could a lot of sponsorship situations arise from this factor alone. This isnít some long thought out idea from me. It is just something I think will eventually have to happen to local short track racing. Maybe not series racing, but local divisions at the local short track level, there will have to be some change or no one will be able to afford to buy tires to race anymore, itís happening already.

I donít have all the answers, but all of us have ideas. Iím just fortunate enough to be able to write out my ideas to all you great folks. Support me or shoot me down on my tire idea. Let Terry know, or let me know through my e-mail, gb48507@yahoo.com. I welcome your input!!

Thatís the word from The ďINĒ Crowd!!
Spartan Speedway Announcer since 2003
Owosso Speedway Announcer 1999-2002, then 2014 till ???

#2 User is offline   Mopar93 Icon

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 05:25 PM

Back in 1982 at Spartan Speedway, the tire rules were pretty simple. It was street legal tires only. There were two primary classes, the Spartan Stocks and the Super Stocks. The Spartan Stocks could be thought of as a Pure Stock, but maybe closer to a Street Stock. They had two barrel carburetors and cast iron exhaust manifolds. The Super Stocks were allowed a lot more and gradually evolved into today's Super Late Model, but in 1982, they were quite modest. The popular car was a Camaro, but with all Camaro sheet metal, not just the roof. Maybe a different, more raked nose on some of the cars. But, no matter what anyone had for a car or engine or suspension setup, the tire rule evened it out and made for some very good racing.

It didn't take long for everyone to figure out what tire to use. On the Spartan Stocks, it was the "Formula One Super Stock" tire in an H70-15 size. That was the widest and lowest profile allowed. For the Super Stocks, it was also the Formula One Super Stock tire as the hot setup, but in an L60-15 size.

You could find cars running around on the street on these very same tires and they worked well on the race cars.

Many drivers could get deals on tires right from their local tire shop. Many tire shops enjoyed being able to help out. Having their name on a race car brought in customers.

I remember there was always too many cars showing up to race. There would be heat races for both classes, and then a consi for both classes with the top finishers from the consi advancing into the feature.

After the Spartan Stock and Super Stock features, the Friday night show would always close out with the Figure 8 cars and it would be a full field of Figure 8's putting on a wild show. Two excellent features and a Figure 8 race every Friday night brought in a parking lot full of cars and the grandstands full of spectators.

Nowadays, it's hard for the average racer to go racing. He can't afford the tire bill in order to have any hopes of competing well. Plus, having good race tires like what is now being used allows teams to use better engines and trick shocks, etc. That just takes more money and is not good for the average racer. It's the average racers that makes up the bulk of a large field of cars and they just aren't there any more. With a lesser tire, it would help even up the competition and good motors are no longer an advantage. That would bring in more average racers.

Will the tire problem ever get fixed? I doubt it.

The MSPA (Michigan Speedway Promoters Association) gathers together twice a year to talk about various subjects, but they never get together on common rules. They always tend to do their own thing. There should be an MSPA rulebook that contains several classes with strict rules for each class. Each track should use that rulebook and not alter it one single bit. Will that ever happen? I doubt it.

At the start of the 2006 season, I rewrote the rules for the Modified class for Spartan Speedway. It didn't take long for other tracks to copy those same rules and that is why a Modified can pretty much go wherever he wants and be legal. I think there has been some variation since then, and someone needs to keep it under control, somehow. All tracks should follow a common set of strict rules, there's no reason not too. It should be done for every class.

A good part of racing is all the friends you create.
A sad part of racing is all the enemies you create.

#3 User is offline   GavinHunyady187 Icon

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 08:51 AM

Great story. Tire debates always get the blood flowing. :)

I went to a race at Owosso this summer for the first time in probably 4years. 3 things blew me away: how fast the cars were through the corners, how few of them there were, and how insanely large the tires looked compared to what I'm now used to.

If I were king for a day I'd do 2 things:

Put everything but a latemodel on the slowest and hardest tires I could find in the catalog. (something like a Hoosier Comanche) The cars will slow down, slide around more, there might be more cautions... but the racing will be closer and cheaper. All the drivers will probably hate the tire, and the fastest car will still win.

Then I would mandate a 6500rpm chip rule. Draconian policing of the ignition and chip would be required, and expected, for this to work. The cream of the crop in engine tech will still have an advantage, but how much?

Realistically, ideas like this are too far from anyone's comfort zone. It couldn't work because they'd never be adopted at every track simultaneously.
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#4 User is offline   Gregc1965 Icon

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 04:23 PM

I see the Kalamazoo Klash is now going to be run on the Hoosier D-800s and not on the Hoosier 3035/3045 slicks.

Also, thought I read the 'Michiana State Line Racing Association' was adopting a 8200rpm chip rule for 2018. (They already adopted this at Springport Speedway - per their 2018 rules)

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