*Grooved Tire Racing...Thoughts?*

Zach Jaynes

New member
If memory serves, 20+ years ago when I was a kid dreaming about racing karts, grooved tires were all that were ran (at least anywhere around my area) and things slowly but surely evolved to all slicks. Karting in my area has been virtually non existent for the last several years but is starting to take back off in a big way. Most of the local tracks are allowing grooved tires, which I absolutely love. To me, it just opens up so many more opportunities for side by side racing, as you can make use of more than 1 groove on the track more often than with slicks only. Sure, the track won't get rubbered up and basically turn into asphalt if everyone is on grooved tires, but why is that a bad thing? Just trying to start some discussion on the matter (without fighting or name calling) as to why dirt oval evolved to basically slick tires only, and do you think that it will ever come full circle and revert back to grooved? We had a race at a local track this past weekend that allows grooved tires, and some of the open motored karts were actually up on the cushion like a sprint car! To me, THAT is racing! Just my thoughts, what are yours? And one last thing, if you are running at a track that allows grooved tires, are they almost always going to be the best bet? I would think so but I could be wrong. Discuss.........
 

Ted Hamilton

helmet painter and racer
LOVE LOVE LOVE this post.... I wish they'd promote use of grooved tires...and prep with more water, deeper. I'd love to see some slideways action here in the South...
 

Hobby87

New member
We have 125/250&500 winged karts running grooves, track is not banked enough to allow for running the cushion, but promoter is trying to build it up. We have some winter shows indoors that grooves work better because the track is so deep and soft, it'd be fun to go back to grooves only and no prep, but won't happen in stocker classes.. 99% of the time slicks are faster
 

sem inc

New member
I have been struggling with making a decision about getting into karting. I'm from the stock car world. Retired from it about 10 years ago. The tire prep deal has got to be my only draw back from getting back in. I have been running a kart locally on just for fun tracks with treaded Hoosiers. Fun, fun, fun. Tire prep, not so much. My $.02
 

mikey56

New member
i race on asphalt. the track is a car track that loves to let us kart guys go at it. the majority of the cars are on grooved tires. i think that even on the asphalt, grooved tires would work. slicks are good, but i think that a good set of grooved hoosiers would give me the same results as a slick!
 

ABR #69

Member
No one would really stop prepping with treads. All the late models and sprints do. But, I would like to try some on my open. Little bit of cushion racing likes late model would be a thrill I haven't experienced since running Open wheel mods.

Pretty sure quite a few of the opens out in the Midwest run treads. But, I take it you're meaning for karting in general. Not just high power.

All together though, I think slicks are faster on most surfaces, and no one would go backwards.
 

mikey56

New member
i learned to drive a latemodel on dirt and use the cushion...slippin and slidin!! ain't nothing like going sideways slingin dirt......but i was "told" that i can't drive a kart that way...they explained that "you can't drift a kart around a corner. we jsut don't do it"......right, and if you believe that you can't drift a kart...then y'all ain't lived.....
 

XXX#40

Member
i learned to drive a latemodel on dirt and use the cushion...slippin and slidin!! ain't nothing like going sideways slingin dirt......but i was "told" that i can't drive a kart that way...they explained that "you can't drift a kart around a corner. we jsut don't do it"......right, and if you believe that you can't drift a kart...then y'all ain't lived.....
If the track and kart are prepped for that, thats fine.
But in low horsepower stock classes "slingin dirt" is scrubbing speed
 

oldasdirt

Member
Switched tracks late in the season. Went from an open tire dry dusty track to a always wet sandy track. All I had were some older Blue Maxxis hand groved tires suitable for that type of surface. Track had an Open Tire Rule and most everyone were on super prepped Vega Yellow slicks. I was asked to remove them at the last race of the season because I might have an advantage. Told them I would next season. Either tire has it's good and bad points. Vegas duroed 15-20 Maxxis 38-40. Key to our track is learning how to get sideways and ride the cushion which is foreign to me since I started out on asphalt 50+ years ago. Next year I have the Vegas and a new era in driving starts can't wait! I run a stock light class which allows any mod internal,methanol and a 390 carb on the 196cc engines. No tech or drama just fun with the guys. Next class up is Mod strokers and big engines any carb no 2 strokes or MX engines. We don't need tech because everyone knows if you aren't fast enough build something better.Trophys $10 entry $10 to race . Money races go somewhere else and deal with the rough driving, other wise come to our track and have fun like the old school days.
 

ABR #69

Member
I agree, way more fun slideways! But, for stockers sideways is usually slower. Even late models, they try not to spin/slide anymore than necessary. More forward drive when the tires are stuck, grooves can accomplish that too. But, most tracks would have to work the track a lot more too.

Much more fun slideways though!
 

ABR #69

Member
Switched tracks late in the season. Went from an open tire dry dusty track to a always wet sandy track. All I had were some older Blue Maxxis hand groved tires suitable for that type of surface. Track had an Open Tire Rule and most everyone were on super prepped Vega Yellow slicks. I was asked to remove them at the last race of the season because I might have an advantage. Told them I would next season. Either tire has it's good and bad points. Vegas duroed 15-20 Maxxis 38-40. Key to our track is learning how to get sideways and ride the cushion which is foreign to me since I started out on asphalt 50+ years ago. Next year I have the Vegas and a new era in driving starts can't wait! I run a stock light class which allows any mod internal,methanol and a 390 carb on the 196cc engines. No tech or drama just fun with the guys. Next class up is Mod strokers and big engines any carb no 2 strokes or MX engines. We don't need tech because everyone knows if you aren't fast enough build something better.Trophys $10 entry $10 to race . Money races go somewhere else and deal with the rough driving, other wise come to our track and have fun like the old school days.
Huh? Open tire rule, yet you were asked to change tires because you might have an advantage?!? Quite odd.
 

mikey56

New member
that is odd...bet that one or two of the front runners saw them, didn't like them and complained. if the rule is open tires, then i'd think that i would have to tell them to check the rules again and get with the program! Seems to me that you had something and they didn't like it....

oh well....old tires and they complain....get on new tires and smoke'em and they'll complain....seems like you can't win or lose...buy a set of the worst tires that no one would ever think about running.....prep the crap out of them and then eat them alive....watch what happens then!!!

iffin ya don't stir the pot....ya ain't ever gonna make soup....
 

BrendanFitz #73

New member
i learned to drive a latemodel on dirt and use the cushion...slippin and slidin!! ain't nothing like going sideways slingin dirt......but i was "told" that i can't drive a kart that way...they explained that "you can't drift a kart around a corner. we jsut don't do it"......right, and if you believe that you can't drift a kart...then y'all ain't lived.....
Unless you've got the horsepower to keep that drift going, your slower. And it makes no sense to want to be slower.
 

Dutton13

New member
The top late model drivers have often spoken of "driving the car straight". Austin Hubbard is one who had to learn that it was faster that way. High horsepower or not, the straighter you can get it, the better turn speed you'll make.
 

racedave

Member
We run a 1/10 mile banked track that runs treads or slicks and the slicks are always faster. This track is the baseball type clay that he will wet even during parade laps.
 

zablocki

New member
treads have a lot of "bite" for a lack of better terms. this will bog down a lower HP kart like a stocker or clone. the slicks have less drag. when you start to get in the higher HP numbers like 20-30, then you can start thinking about the treads. now grooved slicks for a looser sandy track... you might be onto something.
 

GeorgeHenry

New member
What track are you talking about? Would like to check it out.
Switched tracks late in the season. Went from an open tire dry dusty track to a always wet sandy track. All I had were some older Blue Maxxis hand groved tires suitable for that type of surface. Track had an Open Tire Rule and most everyone were on super prepped Vega Yellow slicks. I was asked to remove them at the last race of the season because I might have an advantage. Told them I would next season. Either tire has it's good and bad points. Vegas duroed 15-20 Maxxis 38-40. Key to our track is learning how to get sideways and ride the cushion which is foreign to me since I started out on asphalt 50+ years ago. Next year I have the Vegas and a new era in driving starts can't wait! I run a stock light class which allows any mod internal,methanol and a 390 carb on the 196cc engines. No tech or drama just fun with the guys. Next class up is Mod strokers and big engines any carb no 2 strokes or MX engines. We don't need tech because everyone knows if you aren't fast enough build something better.Trophys $10 entry $10 to race . Money races go somewhere else and deal with the rough driving, other wise come to our track and have fun like the old school days.
 

ShallowPockets

New member
Treads

"Back in the day" we used to have a banked 1/8th mile track that drew 120+ karts. The track/grove never cleaned all the way up but a K21 Burris was a great tire for the economical racer. Later we started grooving Burris D4's and turned out to be much faster than the K0/K21. I thought it was more fun putting your own block designs in the tire. Those were some fun times at the track where all you needed was the four tires on the kart, one motor all in the back of your truck
 
Early '80's we all ran treads, but at Oakland Valley dirt oval the Major retreads began to be seen on some of the 4 cycle classes and it wasn't long before the were running quicker than they did before on treads, and this was way before preps, so as the rest of us tried them, we too began to get faster, also we found the same tires worked on pavement too. that's how it all started and it was only different compounds.
 

jake17j

Member
I run a winged outlaw box stock class. we run bp clones and are required to have a rr duro of 50+ after the race so that only gives us the option of a 12/9 which rolls out to be a 38 1/2+. where I'm kind of screwed is then I have to choose to run another 9 in on the lr to keep my stagger down but then it pushes bad. or put a 6.5 on the lr like we normally do on a flat kart and then lose the straight away speed because I have 2+ inches of stagger. the biggest draw back to me is they are limited on sizes and compounds. I tried this year to get hoosier to make a 50 or 55 in a 12/8 but they said I was the first person to ever ask for them and in order to make a set i'd have to buy 80 tires which is their minimum run because they don't think there is a market for them. so to me that's the biggest draw back for the flat kart guys is nothing harder then a 30 in the sizes that you run.I'm still try'n to figure these treads out even with a 50 rr I have to jack the pressure way up I ran 19/17 last week track was like a sponge and I ran my fastest laps of the year
 
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