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Smoker slicks...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Conder, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Conder
    Joined: Jan 16, 2005
    Posts: 982

    Conder

    I thought I'd try to get a discussion thread going here before my girls wake up and my day off get's rolling!

    I've been working on getting the mid-sixties style of fuel racing off the ground for some time now. For those who aren't familiar with this kind of drag racing, it went something like this...

    *Instead of starting the cars on the starting line with a blower mounted "snout" starter, the early Fuelers were push started from the finish line toward the starting line, usually by the car or truck that towed it to the track.

    *Once fired and running, the rail was jockeyed into position by the crew (usually made up of unpaid volunteers) who helped get it lined up, wiped the slicks free of any debris and checked the car and track for anything potentially dangerous.

    *During this, the driver was making SURE his foot didn't slip off the clutch, and the tuner would listen and observe, making final adjustments etc. When he was happy, he gave the driver an okay.

    *No burnout. From that moment on the car and track belonged solely to the driver. They staged and when the tree came down they'd launch the car in whatever manner they thought got it off the line the fastest. Initially, the tires would boil smoke, enveloping the driver in a blinding cloud for the first second or so. The driver had nanoseconds to "feel" which way the car was going and compensate correctly. From there, speed increased and smoke was blown away and back. By as early as a third of the way down the track (and as late as never) the tire smoke would start to mostly clear away as the slicks began to hook. E.T.s were not "great", but speeds were amazing. The starting ritual and run were something to see (so I've heard.) This fantastic (and relatively accessible) method of drag racing on fuel built the sport.


    Today, new tracks are coated with a sticky traction compound and new slicks are flimsy sidewalled, soft bladders of air. Both are designed to completely eliminate "smoking the tires." If these new slicks start to spin instead of "hook" they may shake violently, possibly knocking the driver unconscious before he can lift. Basically, the entire sport of drag racing, from tracks to tires to cars and drivers is geared toward TRACTION. There is very little use for the mid-sixties tire smoker style of running, outside of the occasional "cacklefest" event, where the original old cars (or copies of them) are displayed and sometimes allowed to make a short "squirt" of tiresmoke for nostalgia and photo ops.

    I think a very exciting and challenging form of drag racing potentially exists here. New frontiers for tuning chassis and engines and driving techniques are possible. But, there is another very important possibility. This type of racing can unite nearly all demographics residing in automotive culture. A typical "Smoker" operation includes not only an amazingly beautiful race car, but also a tow/push car that could be easily just as cool, as well as neat, minimalist (read affordable) innovations in trailers and overall pit support. Bang for the buck is potentially huge.

    With the basics out of the way, this is what I'm proposing...

    In order for this style to take root, I believe it hinges on one thing...THE RIGHT SLICKS.

    I recently talked to one of the winningest drivers in Drag Racing. He told me tire shake is the problem. "New tires want to 'dry up and hook', and when they do they start shaking. I just don't see any kind of real speed using the tires that are available." This view is something I've been hearing for a long time.

    OLD slicks are dangerous. The rubber has hardened over time and offers very little but slippery over-revving. Re-Caps with new rubber (from an original '60's mold), mounted on a multi-ply sidewall radial tire are too iffy for a high horspower fueler. Re-production street "cheater" slicks are an option. Brian Fox and his direct drive tire smoker "Zorba's Ghost" chevy rail are experimenting with those right now. Hopefully he'll get on here and go in to detail on that. The 12.00x16 M&H spec tire that is run in nostalgia top fuel right now is what I have on my car. I'm told it's going to shake, even though it's much stiffer than most current slicks. Still, for this thing to take hold, the slicks need to be bigger than the street 10x15s currently available, with a compound geared more toward the traction coatings that are on every track everywhere.

    As an interesting side note, Pat Foster said the tires from the sixties actually HOOKED while spinning. Growth and shake were minimal thanks to a stiff sidewall, so all 12"s were planted flat on the track.

    I want a 32" diameter, 12" wide footprint, 4 ply sidewall 16" slick, with thumbprints or without. I have no idea what compound to start with.

    This type of drag racing simply does not exist right now, so for a manufacturer to tool up and build these slicks solely based on that makes no sense. However, by changing compounds, this "smoker" tire could make an UNREAL d.o.t. street cheater slick. If it was made in a 13" version, it could be tread cut and run like the vintage Firestone dirt track tire. I'd settle for 13" wide slicks. 16" wheels look better than 15s. Proportionately, this tire can give any car the fueler/gasser look. In SPADES.

    So, I believe this slick is the key to running current day, high powered tire smoking rails. This same tire can be sold as a mainstream hot rod part by offering it in a "street" compound. If this tire is designed properly (aesthetically and technically) I believe it's worth doing.

    These are my thoughts, any ideas? - Thanks, Tim
     

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    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  2. Royalshifter
    Joined: May 29, 2005
    Posts: 15,545

    Royalshifter
    Moderator
    from California

    Very interesting.
     
  3. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,964

    Shifty Shifterton
    Member

    Sounds like you should try a set of shaved N50 pro-tracs on your dragster and see how she runs. Because what you describe is how hot street cars with tight converters launch and hook

    Interesting thoughts. Good luck with the dragster!
     
  4. DMFB
    Joined: May 22, 2009
    Posts: 545

    DMFB
    Member

    Pretty interesting.......
     

  5. Conder
    Joined: Jan 16, 2005
    Posts: 982

    Conder

    Brian Fox is the only one I know of actually running a dedicated tire smoker. He's over revving that chevy pretty hard off the line. I believe he's running current 10x15 Radir slicks. He told me they're nearly 8 years old.

    I reckon Brian is square one. It's anybody's guess if I'll run this year, but if I do it'll be on brand new 12.00x16 M&Hs with 10 lbs. of air, direct drive, pedal clutch and @ 2500 h.p.

    The pro NHRA racer I talked to says those M&Hs are gonna shake pretty bad. There it is so far...
     
  6. choke
    Joined: Dec 15, 2008
    Posts: 323

    choke
    Member

    What about Radir's new 12-16 tire? The only draw back is it only 30" tall. You could run it on a 8.5" wheel for growth. Remember the old M&H's were only 30" tall on a 10" rim. The only difference with your combo your making much more H.P. which means much more torque. Fuel curve and clutch are gonna be important BIG TIME!!!!
     
  7. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,563

    lippy
    Member
    from Ks

    Tough deal, we've never tried to smoke em. LOL. :D I definitely think it's gonna take an old style tire, something that will spin consistently. It could get pretty hairy out there with a tire that hooks one time and doesn't another. Sooooo, 2500 hp, crowerglide?, direct drive, short W.B., no wheelie bar, on a modern sticky track. Hmmmmmm. If the car accidentally hooks, your gonna be a busy guy. Oh, I guess a pedal clutch. Lippy
     
  8. storm king
    Joined: Oct 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,991

    storm king
    Member

    I'd like to see all of the nostagia racing back it up a notch or two. I'd like to see the S/S cars limited to maybe an 8 or 9 inch tire, gassers to a 10 or 12 inch tire, and diggers to maybe a 12 or 14. Just think, it would make the racing more accurate, and it would also make the cars less expensive as there would be a point of diminishing returns if you just kept spending more money to get more power. I'd also not have traction compound sprayed on the tracks at nostalgia events.
    It likely wouldn't go over well everywhere. I was ust talking to a bud of mine at the HHR yesterday and we were on this very subject. Not allowing modern exotic combinations on the gassers, using factory cast iron (or replica) parts like heads, etc. It would keep the cost down, and I think the fun factor up. Slower et's, for sure but probably less harm to parts.
     
  9. Conder
    Joined: Jan 16, 2005
    Posts: 982

    Conder

    If you've tried to do a very fast, mid-sixties style, no burnout, tire smoking run on purpose (not a roll through the water box and do a 1/4 mile burnout) I'd love to hear every detail about it. This is why I started this thread.

    One of our theories is to hit the tires hard off the line and really get 'em spinning. Try to avoid bogging the car and avoid tire shake.

    My rail's 165", with a Titan pedal clutch that's "locked up." At the suggestion of Pete Jensen, (an NTF owner/tuner) and Titan, I'm using hard faced clutch plates too, which are different than the usual Titan discs that are designed to slip. Gene Adams told me the 3:9 gear I was going to use might buzz the motor too hard. He said back when they were smoking the tires, he liked running a 3:40 gear. So, I had Chrisman's set me up with exactly that. I reckon I'll start with 50 pounds of weight up front and tune backwards from that.

    According to nitro tuners who really know their !@#$, one of the potential problems with smoking the tires (as far as tune up) is, nitro likes (needs?) LOAD. If we launch the car and run it like I want to, there won't really be any.

    If you all know anything about my car, you know I've had it for a long time. It was built to be run ONE way. This way. So, naturally if I can approach this deal (and not destroy my car) backed up with strong advise and solid method I'm down. Any plans or ideas you may read here from my end are exactly that, IDEAS. I have an open mind on everything but this...My rail is going to smoke the tires and go fast. I'm not interested in drag racing any other way.

    Once again, if any readers here have attempted a NO WATER BOX, serious run with a nitro rail on these new tires and tracks, on purpose, I would appreciate any insight you might have. - Thanks!
     
  10. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,094

    autobilly
    Member

    Sounds like a real winner with the spectators too.
     
  11. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,563

    lippy
    Member
    from Ks

    This thread is turning into something odd. Tell PCP (pedal clutch Pete) Lippy said hi.
     
  12. Slickster51_50
    Joined: Jul 30, 2006
    Posts: 494

    Slickster51_50
    Member

    I wish there was more racing like this myself! I would love to see some more grass roots style racing like they used to do before it got too big for its own britches! I love the old push car slingshot dragsters they are the coolest to watch at any nostalgia drg along with the nose high gassers!!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  13. KING CHASSIS
    Joined: Aug 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,867

    KING CHASSIS
    Member

    I just got home from Bowling Green a few hours ago. And just found this thread. But it is bed time for me. So basically this is just a back to the top reply. I love this idea and am trying my hand at it, in a smaller fashion then Conder and just on alcohol. So when I am rested and my mind is right I will do a better post. So bttt.
     
  14. Joe King
    Joined: Oct 8, 2004
    Posts: 993

    Joe King
    Member

    Crap I thought the title said smoker chicks
     
  15. Conder
    Joined: Jan 16, 2005
    Posts: 982

    Conder

    Okay. Forgive me for not knowing who you are Lippy, I appreciate the input and I'm all ears. Pete's been a huge help with my rail, as well as Chris "Choke" Bocciocco, who helped build the chassis with Pete Ogden. He's been everywhere on the car (especially lately.) Thanks again Chris.

    My Donovan is basically the same set-up Pete and Gerry Steiner won the March Meet with a while back. Pete's loaned me his Jim Davis starter, along with a few hundred other parts/details like setting up my clutch. Thanks for getting on here Brian. I'm looking forward to hearing about Bowling Green.

    I had a pair of beautiful M&Hs a few years ago. They were very tall, maybe 33", 10" wide. They had a perfectly smooth side wall, no stripes or anything, just the name. The cool thing about these tires was the shape. They bulged far out from the bead, then came back in and curved up to a tall, sharp edge at the crown. I've never seen any like them before or since. They actually looked better than the M&H spec tire(!) and this would be what I'd like to see built, only a true 12" wide.

    I talked to a rep from M&H recently about this, and he said the 12.00x16 is basically a "semi-truck tire". I believe it's cast in a mold from '67, only with a different compound. He said now that everyone is going to 13s, they may stop making the 12.00s.

    I've heard quite a bit more ideas and theories, as well as actual knowledge over the last ten years than I can remember. Hopefully some of this !@#$ will come back to me!
     
  16. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 5,563

    lippy
    Member
    from Ks

    I sympathize with your plight. We run 13x33's on our car. Goodyears. I am going with a Hoosier next year. We run a 3.55 gear. I never drove back in the day billowing smoke the full quarter, I had a Kent Fuller 150in car with an Ed Pink 354 direct that wanted to smoke em all the time!:p I'm still trying to get my head wrapped around smoking these things a full quarter and living to tell about it!:D I don't like 70wt on my new 20 suit. LOL. [​IMG]
     
  17. Conder
    Joined: Jan 16, 2005
    Posts: 982

    Conder

    Those 13s look badass. Are you running that thing the new way? (burnout, back up, make a hooked up pass?) Have they broke loose under power on a launch? If so, what happened?

    Somewhere out there is a video of Sammy Hale running the Champion Speed Shop recreation (back in the late '80s I think) on a hard smoking pass. It must have been during the NDRA days. It was amazing...

    The car looks partly sideways the whole way. It's twisting the frame so hard it's lifting one front tire off the ground intermittently with smoke rolling off the slicks. You could tell he was steering and pedaling the car HARD under power! I think that car was under 150" with a SERIOUS "Champion" chevy in it. If you know Pete, then you know he's Sammy Hale's biggest fan. He lives around me somewhere and I'm planning to go see him (I just wanted to at least get close to running my rail before I start buggin' him!)

    One more thing I've heard about the new 13" tires and the current NTF guys...The M&H rep mentioned last year there were only a few f.e.d.s with enough power to "get up on the new tire." I guess the NTF guys got very, very good at going fast on those little 12" M&H slicks and the 13s are a whole new learning curve. Pretty cool.

    There's this too (about halfway). No tire growth or shake! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lgELwHxpWQ
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  18. KING CHASSIS
    Joined: Aug 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,867

    KING CHASSIS
    Member

    This tire smoker deal I think is really cool. Let people see how it use to be.

    ALOT of people dont get it. " Why do you want to go backwards? ". Some people havent liked History since grade school. Others love it and watch stuff like the Discovery channel or what ever. The tire smoker thing is live history. History in motion.

    Man there is a country song right now called " Should Have See It In Color ". All the pictures I look at of front motor cars, doing everything from being built to being tire smokin wheel standing sling shots , has me totaly interested. This weekend at bowling green I was asked to push start Kenny Sanford. Blown olds. Yeah me in a cacklefest, said Id never do it. BUT his wife rode with me and told very cool stories. She told stories that here I am 45 years later trying to mimic. And basically the whole time I was thinkin , man I wish I could have seen it in color.

    When I built my car people said you will never be able to run it anywhere, why are you waistin your money. It has been down 4 different dragstrips. And alowed to do what ever I wanted. The only thing holding back a full pass is the learning curve.

    THE LEARNING CURVE , Everyone said that the little chevy on todays tracks would never be able to work with a dirrect drive. It doesnt make enuff power to work on a sticky track. WELL, They are RIGHT AND WRONG. It would be easier with more power than I have. Every time I drive the car I figure it out more and more. I do have to rev the little motor to HIGH HELL to get it to smoke the tires. A easyer leave just makes a big wheelie. So what I have to do is leave HARD get the tires smoking then back pedal just a hair to get it to hook a little. But with it still smoking the tires.

    I never tryed that approach until two weeks ago. FINE LINE, I back pedaled to get the RPMs down a little and to get it to start hooking enuff so the car would actualy MPH. But when I did I didnt get back into it fast enuff and BOGGED the motor. So that is where my lack of power comes in. I will figure it out. I think I have the plan layed out , just need to go back to the track.

    MORE POWER, My motor probably only makes about 650 hp. I think that 1200 or a little more would be perfect. You wouldnt have to leave as hard. And when you back pedaled it, the thing would still be making well enuff power to not bogg the motor.

    SPEC TIRE, I think that is a great idea. I would love to try a 30 inch tall 10" wide one. Make two a big one like Conder is talkin and a smaller one for les powerful cars.
     
  19. Royalshifter
    Joined: May 29, 2005
    Posts: 15,545

    Royalshifter
    Moderator
    from California

    Smokers rule......I wish they still did it.......get rid of the sticky off the tracks.
     
  20. KING CHASSIS
    Joined: Aug 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,867

    KING CHASSIS
    Member

    The other half, my computer starting messing up. So I wanted to submit that stuff before I lost it.

    I also agree with Conder about the look. Man make it a big deal. Boy everyone makes a big deal about their reaction time in bracket racing. Well that is exciting to some but where is the show. Push start these things turn them around. With help of corse because they wont turn around on their own. You know guy running out to pull you backward so you can finish the turn. And also grabbin the front tires to straighten them out because of so much caster. Neet stuff.

    And cool push cars or trucks. Get the local Gusses Auto Parts or Billy Bobs muffler shop to sponcer you. A little free advertising for them painted on the camper shell of your 68 Ford pick up . When I say sponcer I mean it is a budys business but he donates shop space or spark plugs. I dont know just make it look like the damn pictures you see in OLD hot rod mags. Not splash graphics and a old Dominos triangle thing on the roof.

    I dont know if Conder and I are just dreamin. And where the only two people who see it. I just dont get how more people dont want to do it.

    BACK TO THE CACKLE FEST Kennys wife told me that she thought that it was really neet that someone as young as me. Is interested in what they use to do. And that people are building cars identicle to the old ones. Now what would she think if she seen one run down the track the way they use to? Be proud as hell, I am shure.

    TIRE SMOKING FRONT MOTOR CARS FOREVER
     

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  21. KING CHASSIS
    Joined: Aug 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,867

    KING CHASSIS
    Member

    Yeah Royalshifter, smokers rule. An airport race would be perfect. Isnt there one out there in Cali coming up soon? If so that place should be loaded with smokein diggers. My dream.
     
  22. 64 DODGE 440
    Joined: Sep 2, 2006
    Posts: 4,283

    64 DODGE 440
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from so cal

    What you said.......lose the contact cement and water box and bring the driver back into the equation. Nostalgia top fuel should be like that.
     
  23. SinisterCustom
    Joined: Feb 18, 2004
    Posts: 8,269

    SinisterCustom
    Member

    NO WAY MAN!!!! There's more of "us" out here......dreamin' of SMOKIN' the tires on a fueler for 1000'...........hell...I'd be happy drivin' the push truck!:D
     
  24. Conder
    Joined: Jan 16, 2005
    Posts: 982

    Conder

    In order to understand the confusing resistance to a real, fast and legal tire smoker, I've asked a lot of questions. Usually, the only people who are actually willing to talk about it are not the drivers from back then, but the tire wipers. The sidekicks, volunteers and superfans who straightened the wheels, jockeyed the cars into position and polished all that raw magnesium. They were the friends and family of the owners and drivers who were actually doing it so, they offer a perspective that the actual drag racer's can't (or won't.)

    A driver/owner is too busy being the badass. They want to WIN. They want to go FASTER, no matter what it takes. You might hear The "Snake" say in an interview..."Man, the Hawaiian we had in '65 was a fantastic, BEAUTIFUL car. I sure miss those days." But, he was a competitive DRIVER. It's no surprise to me why technology and speed won out over aesthetics and low cost rigs/pit support. Everything is great until some guy shows up with cubic money, puts everyone on the trailer and then lounges in an air-conditioned semi while a crew of college educated pros set-up the car. My point is, "The day" is missed, but to them it's gone.

    Then there were the fans. The "mules" and pit kids who saw every detail of everything. Daydreaming about it. Doing anything they could just to be near it. They got to see a pure side of it all...without the creepy politics, financial and social woes, one-upmanship, third degree burns and disfigurement. The fans got to see a whole different world. A place most drivers/owners never got to.

    Like Garlits has said, "I was glad to see the death of the front engine dragster that killed and hurt so many of my friends." We only see the beauty, folks like Garlits have seen something entirely different (yet, he gets in one on a regular basis and gives it hell in exhibition.)

    Combine that, with the fact that smoking the tires makes a car go slower (so far) and that pretty much explains it.

    *Fans want to see something happen that's 5 times more exciting than anything today. Cacklefest is only wetting their appetites.

    *Drivers/owners have to pay for it in every way. If they're going to invest the high$$$$ cost, they want to win, go faster and be safer. Cacklefest is the answer for them when they miss the old days.

    However...I applaud Brian for everything he's doing. He's done it about as thriftily as any human can. It's actually built exactly like a 1965 rail and he's actually RACING it like it's '65 as well. But, it's not legal and it doesn't have the new tech available today to make it scary fast, and as safe as possible. That !@#$ costs big money. Big money takes big sponsors or independent wealth or both. ESPECIALLY when you're trying to do something nobody thinks will work. Something that (with the old technology) killed 4 to 5 men a year and caused major grief for a lot of people.

    I believe drag racing is starting to stagnate in it's current form. I believe a mid-sixties style drag race, when coupled with experience, vision and enough resources will transform the sport. And it'll be a lot safer than most folks think. But me saying it doesn't have the weight of Garlits or Prudhomme and it never will. The only way we can make anything happen is to do it ourselves. That's the way it was for THEM.

    So, I want a pair of these new slicks for my street/strip Gasser '55. I want them to LOOK RIGHT. I want to drive to the track and run with 'em too. Who's gonna make 'em?
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
  25. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,490

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Amen brothers.
     
  26. 1320stang
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 166

    1320stang
    Member
    from Edmond, OK

    Tim, long time no hear about (always loved the ATF site, still wondering what happened to the cars and push cars), I'm thinking maybe you might talk to Corky Coker about making such a tire.

    At least that's where I'd start.
     
  27. k-member
    Joined: May 25, 2002
    Posts: 2,114

    k-member
    Member

    What's up Tim, love that video clip. Have you talked with Cody about compounds? He may know a thing or two and have some good advise.
     
  28. Shaggy
    Joined: Mar 6, 2003
    Posts: 5,208

    Shaggy
    Member
    from Sultan, WA

    Hey K-member, there is a merc p/u that looks like a rusty version of yours on craigslist right now same color m-1, the guy labeled it as a '50 but it's a 51-52
     
  29. Cshabang
    Joined: Mar 30, 2004
    Posts: 2,458

    Cshabang
    Member

    I'm interested...hahaits been a dream of mine to make a pass in a FED...and doing it as the hides billow is the only way..
     
  30. I'm kinda sorry I didn't set mine up with a direct drive. Original plans were to have a mild hemi and use my old 4 Stromberg setup. Without much hp I couldn't see how it could work. Now The engine will still have a pretty mild cam but also a blower, Hilborn 4 port, and run on alcohol. I plan on seeing just how the trans will work. I do have it setup for full manual control but NO trans-brake. I plan on using a set of Cody's Hurst 30x10x15 piecrusts. Time will tell how well they smoke.
     

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