Like many racers, you might begin your effort at the dragstrip with a relatively stock driver. Then you get the itch to step up the performance ladder by dropping the e.t.’s on your time slip. There are a wealth of great articles online for the novice racer, such as this one from Dragzine.com.
We reached out to Thor Schroeder, marketing manager at Moroso Performance, regarding proper equipment requirements to begin competing at your next level.
Focus On Performance
Whether you are moving up in either the heads-up or bracket racing ranks, consistency is key when reading your time slips and making engine or chassis changes based on that data. Many good technical articles are dedicated to dragstrip drive tire choices. Once those decisions are made, it’s time to focus on safely achieving peak performance.
“Just a simple tire pressure gauge could be giving you inconsistent readings,” says Schroeder. “If you are going to step up to a D.O.T. performance street-and-strip tire or an all-out drag slick, working out your optimum pressure and repeating round after round is critical.”
Comparing the Moroso tire pressure gauges with a 0- to 40-psi gauge range is a good general tool to monitor both front and rear tires. “For less than a 20-dollar price difference, a racer can step into our higher level gauge,” explained Schroeder.
The strong point for our high-quality tire gauges is that they are individually calibrated for accuracy within two percent or even ½-percent. – Thor Schroeder
Moroso Performance offers some exceptional pressure gauges. Its offerings have different pressure readouts and three different accuracy levels. The first level is what Moroso describes as a “Garage Series” gauge they recommend to “check pressures around the garage. This is a gauge you don’t mind your buddies borrowing.”
With your tire pressures monitored to the highest degree, we’ll look at the tire offerings from Moroso with front rolling stock dedicated for the dragstrip. The Drag Special and DS-2 units are track-only tires offering minimal rolling resistance under acceleration and a broad footprint during braking for increased track contact.
“Both lines of tires are a bias ply design,” described Schroeder. “The Drag Special tire is our original design that still has a large following. It’s a 2-ply nylon cord, tubeless design with a high cord angle. A unique tread design reduces rolling resistance and lowers the unsprung weight on your front end.”
Schroeder commented about the DS-2 tire, “They’re tough for a drag tire, and unlike a standard D.O.T. tire, the DS-2 is very lightweight. Plus, it offers very low rolling resistance and high-speed stability. The DS-2 does not walk or have any tread flex characteristics, which is the last thing you want at high speeds.”
If you are scrutinizing your tire pressures to that level, one enemy– the sun– could have you chasing your tail in the staging lanes. On a warm summer day, direct sunlight on your tires can spell a big change in pressure as the black surface warms the tire’s air. This increases tire pressure. The same, but the opposite effect can quickly happen when clouds or sunset drop the tire pressure just as quickly.
Moroso was one of the innovators of a heavy-duty tire cover that reflects sunlight. Made from reflective 6-mil vinyl combined with an insulator backing, these covers maintain the stability of your tire pressures and prevent rubber degradation. Consider if one rear drag slick in the sun raises as little as 1/2-psi in pressure compared to the other. Differences in pressure and rolling diameter can cause havoc in starting line launches and consistency.
Wheels, Studs, And Lug Nuts
As a guideline, when you continue to lower your e.t. at the track, the sanction rules list gets longer. Closely related to rolling stock, once your entry graduates beyond bone-stock, the tech man is going to examine your aftermarket wheels, wheel studs, and lug nuts for safety features.
The first order of business in lug nut/wheel stud safety will be your thread engagement. The rule of thumb is that a minimum length of threads between the stud and lug nut must be greater than the wheel stud diameter. For example, if you have 7/16-inch diameter wheel studs, there must be more than 7/16-inch thread contact.
Improving the stock studs with another pressed stud is a step forward. Moroso offers its studs in high-grade SAE 8740 steel. By researching your stock stud specs, you can easily find an English or metric Moroso stud match. Once you enter the world of aftermarket performance axles, Moroso has 1/2- and 5/8-inch studs that are screwed through the axle flange, not pressed.
“Dick Moroso was one of the first people to think about the idea of wheel studs many years ago following some broken studs on his racing Corvette,” says Schroeder. “Historians argue both ways concerning who created wheel studs first, but Moroso was one of the first companies to manufacture high-strength wheel studs.”
When you begin adding anything from dragstrip radials to all-out drag slicks to your car, you can count on the tech person looking at your wheel fastening hardware.
One final and unique addition to your trailer toolbox should be a Race Write marker from Moroso Performance. You may immediately say, “Wait, that’s for writing dial-ins on race cars.” Well, it is. But the handy marker is utilized for tire marking as well.
“Race Write is a handy tool for monitoring and tuning tires and suspension settings,” adds Schroeder. “Racers will place a mark between the tire sidewall and wheel to check for tire slippage. You can also place a ring of the bright white marker around the circumference of the tire and a wide band across the sidewall.”
Schroeder also interjects, “Racers will closely look at the sidewall marking following a pass. Depending on the degree of squatting or wrinkling, the marking will change in the areas with the most deflection. These markings provide a pattern across the sidewall for you to read.”
In this digital video age, crew people are getting savvy at recording a launch and critical first few hundred feet of a pass to replay—a marked tire helps review those videos. One of the positives of Race Write is that it is formulated to be easily removed by simply wiping firmly with a clean rag.
When stepping up your program, be sure not to cut corners when it comes to the hardware. The same applies to the tuning tools you use to achieve faster performance. There is no greater satisfaction than going faster and knowing your car every step of the way.