There was a time when the Pro Extreme doorslammers demanded the tallest and widest tire available to handle the challenges of covering the eighth-mile drag strip in 3.5-seconds at 210-miles per hour. Mickey Thompson Tires, and their new 3190W slick which made its competition debut at the ADRL Dragpalooza event, went a long way towards proving bigger isn’t always better.
The manufacturer lists the new slick as 14-inch inches in tread width but some racers believe its narrower at 13.5 inches. Even averaged together the widths are considerably smaller than the traditional 17 inch tires.
Todd Tutterow ran the third quickest Pro Extreme time of qualifying with a 3.694-second run at 203.98 miles per hour.
“We looked at some of the tires we were running that were 17-inches wide and it became apparent to us that we were not using the entire tire,” said Tutterow. “My experience with the 10.5-inch tire is that with the larger tire, we were running entirely too big of a tire.”
“[With this tire] you mount them on the same wheel, so it spreads the entire tire out. We don’t have the extra sidewall flexing around.”
Controlling the sidewall is crucial says Tutterow.
“If we can control the sidewall, we are less likely to shake,” said Tutterow. “It’s a lot smoother run as you apply the run.”
Tutterow first tested the tire back in January and ran a career best.
Defending Outlaw 10.5 racer Dan Millen moved up to the Pro Extreme division this year and even though he can legally run a much larger tire, he’s chosen this 3190W slick from Mickey Thompson.
“I think within the next few races, you’ll see most of the class running this tire,” Millen said. “This tire has provided an excellent transition.”
This was the objective for Jason Molton, Product Development Manager for Mickey Thompson Tires.
“We’ve been working with Billy Glidden on this tire for the last three years,” said Molton. “We brought in Jeff Naiser and he and Billy worked together on developing this tire. Then we started to look at the areas where we could place this new tire design.”
Molton confirmed that preliminary tire tests, including the one with Tutterow, provided the kind of results his company had hoped to achieve.
“All of them had instant success when they bolted them on,” said Molton. “We’ve been really pleased with it. I wanted to see how this first event went and now, trust me, we have more coming in the production pipeline.”
Such success is even more impressive considering the tire’s extremely humble design beginning.
“This project started as a concept – the kind that comes to you on a paper napkin late at night,” admitted Molton. “We’re looking at probably expanding some sizes in this range … not quite as big as what everyone else is running. Some will have some different rollouts and maybe some different tread widths. We are going to explore everything. We want to build tires for the application not what everyone else is building.”
Beyond Pro Extreme, Molton said he expects racers in the Pro Nitrous, Pro Modified and Top Sportsman to try the 3190W. Immediately the racers, he believes, will gain a tire that will easily work with their combinations.
“It opens up the tuning window,” Molton explained. “The nice thing about this is we can keep it under control. With the way we do our tires, we can keep it aggressive.”