Leisure Hours Hobbies opened the outdoor asphalt track for the first time this year, today. I took advantage as this is one of the best permanent facilities in the US.
Video of Leisure's track
Anyway, it was in the 60's all day, and the track had been prepared for the first time all year, so it was a bit green. Actually, I felt it was a great time to test tires just because the ability to make grip would be highlighted.
I only used the option soft rear and kit front tire, as they had been the best all around choice for most tracks last year. The hard fronts may also be worth a try as well, since it might allow a more aggressive front end setup, but that will have to wait for now.
What I wanted to highlight was tire preparation. This is to me is overlooked at times, but it is really critical with rubber tires. You can look at race reports from big sedan races highlighting what small changes in tire prep can do for a car's performance. Last year I approached the tires from a sedan-centric viewpoint. I more or less copied what i was doing with sedan tires. I would clean the tires with SXT 1.0, apply Paragon FXII for a bit and then bake in SXT 2.0 or possibly Tire Tweak with warmers. This seemed to be fine for tracks that had a lot of traction, but I'm not sure if it was the best thing overall. At the TCS Nats, only myself and one other guy were using warmers. He did a lot better than I did, and I'm not sure of his routine, but my car was not all that great. Most people seemed to be cleaning the tires or not using anything at all. So in that vein, I went with a less aggressive regimen.
I tried a few different things, including Trinity Red Dot, PB Blaster, Simple Green, and Sticky Kicks Blanco. I either cleaned with SXT 1.0 or the product itself. Red Dot was ok, but I was not 100% satisfied with it. The problem may have been that it made the tires too sticky, and it would up picking up junk off the track. Either that or the tires were somehow greasing off. PB Blaster made the tires softer, and even a bit sticky, but the greasy effect came into play here as well. I think that these two, along with the other oil type additives (Tire Tweak, SXT 2.0, Paragon) may make the tires greasy or prone to overheat somehow. That was part of my problem last year.
I moved on to Sticky Kicks Blanco, which is more of an off road tire product, like Buggy Grip, but less aggressive. I used a rag to wipe it on, since it is a spray. This actually turned out to be the best overall for me. It left the tire feeling soft and sticky, but not greasy. The run I made with SK was really good, and the grip held up for the whole run. Sticky Kicks makes three different sauces, and Blanco is the middle in terms of aggressiveness, so I will be testing the other varieties to see how they will work in different situations.
Straight Simple Green was next. Simple Green is a cleaner more often than not, but I let it set on the tire a few minutes. Much like Sticky Kicks Blanco, it got the tire clean and sticky again, but I don't think it penetrated the rubber as much. I went out to the track thinking this would be as good or better than the SK.
My car was definitely hooked up at the beginning of the run, but it tended to break away in some corners as the run went on. I think Simple Green works well, but may not work as well into the run as the SK. This might not be as noticeable if the track temp is high, as the tires might heat up enough to develop more grip.
So maybe Sticky Kicks or something similar like Buggy Grip or Ragu may be the way to go. I think that Simple Green may even be better than the Sticky Kicks as we move into the warmer months to prevent the tires from overheating due to too much softening. I also like the way the tires don't "grease" over with the buggy style additives.