The 10 Best Street Tires For Drag Racing

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Participating in street-style drag racing means your car has to be kitted with certain after-market items. One essential item is a set of tires, and for drag racing, you need pretty good rubber. The tires are the most critical aspect of your drag racing car after the engine and the tuning. For a successful drag race, you need the best grip to stay on the track at high speeds. You can choose several tires depending on your make of car, the run-time, and your budget. You need to look at the x best street tires for drag racing.

The ten best street tires for drag racing are:

  1. Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R
  2. Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3
  3. Falken Azenis RT615K+
  4. BF Goodrich g-Force Rival S 1.5
  5. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R
  6. Hoosier Drag Radial 2
  7. Mickey Thomson Street Radial P275/60R15
  8. Nitto NT05R Drag Radial 35R17
  9. Nitto NT420S All-Season Radial
  10. Mickey Thompson ET Street Rad

The tires you pick for your car have to measure up to what your expectations are. Do you need more grip, more surface area, wet weather tires, or a good combination? These are always good points to know before you purchase a new set. We look at what we consider to be the ten best street tires for drag racing and look at the criteria they need to measure up to.


Buying Drag Racing Tires – Things To Consider

How Should I Store My Drag Racing Tires?

Tires of any type are best stored in a cool, dry environment away from direct sunlight. Store the tires deflated and, in winter, keep them away from frost, ice, or snow.  Chemicals can interact with rubber, so store chemicals separately.

What Size Tire Can I Buy?

In the car’s user manual, there is a section dedicated to your tires. The correct size will be indicated there. The tires you have on the vehicle will have the size indicated on the sidewall of the tire. If your car is past warranty and is modified, buy the tires to fit the modifications done. You might need to purchase wider tires for the back than in the front.

How Fast Can I Drive With My Tires?

Every tire will have a speed rating. This is indicated in letters ranging from L to Z. L being the lowest speed rating and Z being high-performance tires made for high speed. Always stay within the guidelines. Tires made for drag racing will be able to handle short bursts of high speed with ease.

What Is D.O.T. Rating?

Tires that carry a D.O.T. rating means that it has passed the Department Of Transportation’s strict regulations and requirements. Since drag racing on public roads is considered illegal, using D.O.T. tires will guarantee that you can race at the track and still use the tires on public roads for regular driving.

How Much Air?

Tires have a suggested P.S.I. printed on the side of the tire wall. The air pressure ensures the tire can handle the weight, speed, and weather conditions you could face. To have a good drag strip run, you need to have a little less air in it to give you more surface area grip.

While driving on public roads, always ensure your tires are the correct P.S.I. to prevent any damage to the tire wall or your rims.

How Much Do They Weigh?

Typically tires used for drag racing should be about 10% lighter than conventional tires. Tires that will only be used on a drag strip do not have to conform to load-bearing regulations and usually only have to pass the S.F.I. standards. If you want to use them for regular driving, make sure they are D.O.T. approved.

The Writing’s On The Wall

Drag racing tires must have sturdy sidewalls and a D.O.T. rating to navigate potholes and sidewalks if you turn sharply by accident. Cornering on non-approved tires can be tricky and leave you in a ditch or worse.

Typically drag racing tires are used going at high speeds in a straight line; cornering grip is not a consideration.  

How Many Times Can I Run A Quarter Mile?

A lot depends on you for the answer to this question. Tires usually have a 6-year warranty, but if you are going to do many burnouts, the tires will probably only last half that time. Every time you do a burnout, rubber gets shaved off the tire surface. If you only use the tires on the drag strip, you can expect to get around 5000 to 7000 miles from them. If you use them as dual-purpose tires, you can expect about 3000 to 5000 miles of use.

Always do an inspection of your drag tires after a day on the track, and replace the set if any damage is visible.

Image: Shutterstock.com

The Ten Best Street Tires For Drag Racing

1. Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R.

The Potenza RE-71R is an excellent tire at high speed, offering incredible stability. It is a very popular tire among drag racing enthusiasts. It was produced with extreme grip in mind, and that is what you need when drag racing.

This tire works very well even in wet conditions, so you can safely use it even if it is a wet race day. This tire is available in various sizes, but it is pricey.

Noteworthy Points

  • High-speed stability
  • Very responsive to handling
  • Outstanding grip
  • Wet weather friendly
  • Great control at top speed

2. Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3

The Eagle F1 Supercar 3 tire will give you the best performance at high tire temperatures. The easiest way to heat up the tire fast is to do a short burst burnout before a run. As soon as the tire reaches the optimal temperature and becomes sticky, that’s when you will genuinely appreciate this radial.

The grip you get from this tire is truly astonishing, not only on the strip but also for daily driving; the grip in corners is unrivaled. It gives excellent handling in rainy conditions and fantastic responsiveness on the steering.

Noteworthy Points

  • Excellent traction at high temperatures
  • Excellent grip when cornering
  • Very responsive on the steering
  • Controllable at top speed
  • Excellent in wet weather

3. Falken Azenis RT615K+

The Falken Azenis RT615K+ is an extreme-performance type. A lot of drag racers love them because of their price and reliability. This tire delivers excellent traction on the drag strip. It has a low activation temperature making it a favorite for drag racing and day-to-day driving.

The Azenis does not perform well in wet weather so keep that in mind if you live in an area with high rainfall. This tire is better suited to drier climates.

Noteworthy Points

  • Excellent grip on the drag strip and for day-to-day driving
  • Highly responsive on the steering
  • Excellent control at top speed
  • D.O.T. approved

4. BFGoodrich g-Force Rival S 1.5

The g-Force Rival S 1.5 is an excellent drag racing tire, giving you everything you expect from a tire. Incredible traction and grip and perform well in wet weather too. However, the g-Force is only available in limited sizes, but certainly, a tire to look out for.  

This tire will perform very well for day-to-day driving duties and give tremendous cornering grip and outstanding responsiveness on the steering.

Noteworthy Points

  • Incredible traction on the drag strip
  • Excellent grip when cornering during day-to-day driving
  • Highly sensitive on the steering
  • Great control at top sped

5. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R

Michelin has been making excellent tires for decades. Therefore it should be no surprise that one of their tires of well-loved in the drag racing community. The Pilot Sport Cup2 R is a staple tire in drag racing and motorsports.

Michelin is known for making quality, and the tire is pricey. This Michelin will increase your time on the drag strip due to its tremendous grip at speed. It heats up relatively fast, giving you time to concentrate on the run.

The Pilot Sport 2 R handles very well at high speeds and gives excellent grip when cornering, so it makes a perfect dual-purpose tire. It does not perform well on the drag strip in wet weather.

Noteworthy Points

  • Tremendous traction on the drag strip
  • Excellent handling at top speed
  • Great sensitivity on the steering
  • Durability and reliability
  • Remarkable stability
  • Superior stability

6. Hoosier Drag Radial 2

For many drag racing enthusiasts, there is not a better tire than this Hoosier. The Drag Radial 2 gives an unbelievable performance on the drag strip and when used for day-to-day driving. The Drag Radial 2 tires heat up fast, giving you tremendous grip on the drag strip.

The Drag Radial 2 tires do not perform great in wet weather at all, so driving on public roads should be done with great caution.

Noteworthy Points

  • Tremendous performance on the drag strip
  • Excellent grip and traction
  • Stable at high speeds
  • Great sensitivity on the steering
Image: Shutterstock.com

7. Mickey Thompson Street Radial P275/60R15

Mickey Thompson tires are known to be premium products and come highly coveted. The P275/60R15 is the best drag tire for both drag racing and day-to-day driving. These radials are designed with wear and tear in mind and are manufactured using R2 compounds for street use.

Not only does it provide superior traction on the drag strip but also on the street, whether smooth or rough. This radial has a 6-inch tread depth and 15-inch diameter.

Noteworthy Points

  • Brilliant drag strip control
  • Superior traction and grip
  • Patent sidewall construction
  • Reliability

8. Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire 35R17

The NT05R radials are considered to be the best multi-purpose radials by drag racing fanatics. Not only can these tires outperform most other makes on the drag strip, but they are also fantastic on the road when used for day-to-day driving.

Instead of having to change your tire sets before and after each weekend, these multi-purpose radials can stay fitted. A great run on the drag strip, superior grip and traction and without effort, good grip, control, and traction on the road.

The NT05R Radials are D.O.T. approved, giving you extra peace of mind and confidence when you need to push your car to the limit. The center rib of the radial is primarily giving the tire continuous contact with the road. Without a doubt one of the best radials for drag racing on the market.

Noteworthy Points

  • Particular and unique center rib creating permanent road contact
  • Incredible traction and control
  • Good in wet weather
  • Best dual-purpose radial

9. Nitto NT420S All-Season Radial Tire

Staying with Nitto, the NT420S has been prominent in drag racing for over a decade. This radial is considered to be the best drag radial available. This radial will give you superior road handling for day-to-day driving and perform as expected on the drag strip.

The NT420S has an extended tread life compared to other radials commonly used on drag and dual-purpose tires. The “all-season” addition is an indication that it also performs well in wet weather.

The NT420S is known for its superior traction; it helps provide drag cars. The tread is enhanced with silica compound, and the tire has large shoulder blocks on the outside, creating enhanced traction.

Noteworthy Points

  • Great in dry or wet weather
  • Asymmetrical tread giving better tread life
  • Outer tread blocks create superior grip
  • Best all-season radial available

10. Mickey Thompson ET Street Rad Racing Radial

This radial is a tremendous dual-purpose tire. Effective on the road for day-to-day driving and performs brilliantly on the drag strip. This tire will give you excellent traction on race day and give you superior road handling even in wet weather.

The E.T. Street Radial has a strengthened sidewall allowing you a quick launch and traction straight from the start line.  These radials heat up fast and will give you the perfect grip in the first 200 feet.

The Mickey Thompson ET Street Rad Racing Radial is a perfect choice for any racer that prefers a dual-purpose tire.

Noteworthy Points

  • Great performing dual-purpose tire
  • Excellent traction
  • Superb grip in the first 200 feet
  • Great overall radial construction
  • Sensitive on the steering
  • Good performance in wet weather

The #1 Street Tire For Drag Racing

Although all the tires in this list will make an excellent choice for your next set, one particular tire is a clear winner. This is based on its overall performance ability, safety, and flexibility for both drag racing and day-to-day use on public roads.

The choice for #1 Street Tire for Drag Racing is the Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire 35R17. This tire promises to give you the ultimate performance.


Conclusion

Each drag racer will have a favorite brand of the tire they prefer. Sticking to what works for you as an individual is essential. The car, tires, and tuning have to work together as a whole to give you that extra second on the quarter-mile.

These ten best tires for drag racing are all excellent, tested, and tried by numerous drag racers, but the Nitto NT05R DRT 35R17 seems to have it all. The only way to properly test what this tire promise is to invest in a set and let it loose on the strip.


Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tire_code

https://www.bfgoodrichtires.com/

https://www.nittotire.com/

https://www.mickeythompsontires.com/

https://www.michelinman.com/

https://www.falkentire.com/

https://www.bridgestoneamericas.com/en/index

https://www.goodyear.com/en-US/international?expand=international

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