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Fate & Drag Racing

PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:52 am
by Tetge
I wanted to take my car to Famoso to see what it has, but, not wishing to be a sheep, I decided that I could not run any drag strip, including Willow Springs dubious 1000', on P-Zero's, since they do not appear standing start friendly. Once upon a time, the P-Zero was considered one of the top choices for handling, but, even that honor has evaporated as Bridgestone and Michelin have brought out significantly better tires. But, the OEM tires are round and ride nicely and make no noise, so they are good grocery getter tires. But, no sense in wearing out the stock tires and spinning at the track, as, if you're spinning, you're not winning, and, time runners such as me, are all about getting decent, representative, numbers.

So, I went out to my shed and brought forth my trusty 17X 9": genuine SVT Cobra, rims, with the 275/17 MT DR's on them. These same tires and rims worked well on the Cobra, and also, on the 2012 auto trans GT that went 12.38 @ 113.9 at Famoso, with a lousy 1.95', 60'. and zero spin. I spend some time and made a trip to Home Depot for a thick steel stake used in construction and I fabricated a metal adapter that fitted the stock jack point indentations along the outside bottom rail of the car, and that now allowed me to use my floor jack with the factory jack points. And then, I tried the 17" rim and DR, on the rear of the car. It fit with plenty of clearance. but, it would not work, because a big knuckle on part of the IRS, moves as part of the rear suspension travel, and, it needs to be able to go inside of the rear rim, which is 19X9.5, and a 17" rim was too small to allow this. The suspension knuckle definitely would hit the inside lip of the 17" rim before full travel of the rear suspension could take place. This squelched my plan to use the 17" setup, which was disappointing since the shorter 17" tires would have given a nice effective 3.95 gear ratio, rather than the stock 3.73's, and modular engines still like gears.

In any case, I began to research 19" rims and drag radials, and, to my joy, I discovered that Mickey Thompson had just released a new P285/35 R19 drag radial with the usual R2 compound, and reduced tread depth. The minimum rim width specified for it was also 9.5", which meant that it could be mounted on a stock Ford Mustang black Performance Package rim, for that stealth look. It was over $300 per tire, and over $300 per stock rim, but it would also fit perfectly and even be not too far off the height of the stock tire, which is a 275/40. Add a couple of TPMS and find a place with free shipping and balancing and it was clear that I had found my solution to getting sticky rubber.

So, at this point, with Famoso, about 15 days off, I went to the good old web to order up. But, I soon discovered that although the OEM rims were widely available, the new P285/19 MT, DR's, were sold out everywhere (and I checked). I even called Mickey Thompson, and the nice lady told me that they were part of Cooper Tire and that they had limited production capability on some tires and that new sizes often sold right out, so there were no productions runs scheduled in the next 4-6 weeks for the P285/19 tires, so it would be months before the tire was reissued to vendors. Currently, outfits like Jegs and Summit are changing the estimated ship date for the tire out further and further, two weeks at a time, so they do not have product. They just wish to make it sound as if it is only a wait of less than two weeks when a potential customer checks. I called MT, so, I know better, but, at least the reputable vendors show that the tire is not currently available.

Finally, I decided that there could be a compromise tire and rim package that I could live with that I found on the American Muscle site. I did business with American Muscle a few times in the past, so I called them and spoke with a rep for almost an hour constructing a deal for a couple of 19x10", black, Performance Package, replicas, that closely mirrored the stock rims. On these I specified P305/35 R19 MT DR's, which require minimum rim width of 10" so they should not be used on the stock 9.5" rim per MT. These larger tires were alleged to fit by the vendor, as well as many different internet sources.

Throughout the lengthy conversation I kept impressing on the salesperson that timeliness was crucial, and prior to me making the order, he repeatedly told me that all the pieces were in stock and that I would have them mo later than the following Weds. But, when I registered for their web site the next day and checked the order status, although my card has been charged, the order showed as "back ordered". I let it go one more day, and then, I called, to be told that all the parts were not at the location that mounted and balanced the tires and shipped them for free, and that the order could not be filled timely. In fact, when I checked further, American Muscle had already refunded the part of my order that was for the tires, although the P305/35 size is clearly not out of stock nationally. I cancelled my order, of course, and they made an instant refund, but, I shall never do business with American Muscle again, as they didn't even follow their own guidelines about notifying me if they could not fill the order, and they made zero effort to expedite things to make good on their sales promise. I have to add that Summit won many points some years in the past when only one of two DR's sent by UPS arrived and time was important. Summit, on their own dime, overnighted me a tire, and gave me a RMA to send back the other if and when it arrived. That left a good taste in my mouth, and, Summit has also been really good to my friend who has been building a Hudson street rod, in his garage, for about 10 years now.

But, every cloud may have a silver lining, and, it now appears that the record heat wave is centered on Famoso, and temps, and humidity, will be hideous tomorrow, even for the evening event. So, American Muscle, while deceitful, actually saved me from a disappointing, unpleasant, experience, since if the order had been filled, as promised, I would have had to go, weather or not. Interesting how fate works at times, but, I still can not recommend American Muscle as a vendor.

I added a pic of the weather for McFarland, and it will be about 10* hotter there than in the Mojave desert, and this will be greatly magnified by the high humidity, that keeps going up as the evening wears on. About the worst place to be that one could imagine for the next week, or so.

Re: Fate & Drag Racing

PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:35 am
by jhwalker
So this was a good thing, right? :whistle:

Re: Fate & Drag Racing

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:34 am
by SonicVenum
That is a harrowing tale, but I'm glad you avoided spending all that money for a hot & muggy event. I remember those surrounding orchards stinking of rotten fruit, and inviting giant flying bugs. No thanks.

Re: Fate & Drag Racing

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:56 am
by Tetge
SonicVenum wrote:That is a harrowing tale, but I'm glad you avoided spending all that money for a hot & muggy event. I remember those surrounding orchards stinking of rotten fruit, and inviting giant flying bugs. No thanks.

It actually turned out OK, as I want the stock look, which means expensive stock 9.5" rims as opposed to replica 10" rims that are close to stock in appearance, but not exact copies. The replicas are about 50% of the cost, but a pair of the bigger 305 MT DR's costs about $100 more, delivered, than the 285 size, so that evens the cost a bit. Mainly, I can be sure that the stock rim works well with the stock parts, and a 285/35 tire is not too much of a departure from the stock 275/40. Only about 2% shorter, which is not a major concern for the speedo and other electronics.

I posted the story here, in spite of a limited audience, since, those that do post on this board know well the sickness of drag racing addiction, or for that matter, any gear head type affliction. They understand the frustrations of phantom ware performance parts and the need (I mean NEED) to have instant gratification, and success, when it comes to mods. They also are aware of the slippery slope that their addiction puts them on, and they know full well, how shops and vendors make promises and prey on the poor addicted gear heads.

But, it is not a life threatening, or critical, thing, and my car will still get me to Costco, while depleting my tank of fuel that was boosted to over 93 octane by the addition of VP 100 octane unleaded, from the pump at the drive through dairy in Lancaster. $8.96 per gallon is nothing when one has race fever. I since filled the tank with 91, which blended it all down to 93+ octane, which, according to Ford Racing, got me some RWHP and RWTQ. But, the small, perhaps 10 HP increase, would not offset DA at Famoso, that was in the ~3500'+ range. And, the humidity and bugs and odor as well as excessive heat, would make for some serious unpleasant conditions. So, it worked out pretty well as it turned out. Fate made an intervention and prevented a possible overdose of race fever.

I know for sure that most that read this can identify with, and understand, what I say.

Re: Fate & Drag Racing

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:13 pm
by xbacksideslider
Lead free 100 from Lancaster's cows? I always knew that the Antelope Valley was special. Maybe it's the wind?

Wow, and at a drive through dairy? Do the milking machines deliver the fuel "direct to your tank?"