Whether you own a high-performance car or you’ve performed some upgrades to your old auto, there’s a high chance you might consider getting the best drag radial or extreme performance tires for your dear auto. You see, high-performance cars experience lots of stress and abuse such as taking sharp corners, accelerating to speeds of up to 150 mph, and braking suddenly from high speeds while still maintaining stability.
So, for your auto to have increased responsiveness and stabilized handling, you definitely need to own a set of high-performance tires. But, despite being built with high-performance vehicles in mind, picking the right set of drag radials can be quite overwhelming especially if you’re a newcomer.
For that reason, this guide has discussed at least 10 drag radials for streets that are not only affordable but also designed to offer outstanding grip and exceptional balance when driving at super high speeds.
Best Drag Radials: Editor’s Top Picks
Types of Racing Tires
1. Max Performance Tires
Max performance tires are very popular among most track and street drivers. They offer a mix of exceptional traction, excellent grip in corners, and outstanding stability when driving at high speeds. Their responsiveness is all thanks to their tread patterns that prevent hydroplaning. These tires excel in both dry and wet tracks making them the best for all-season use.
2. High-Performance Tires
High-performance tires, on the other hand, are engineered for all-season use. They’re particularly excellent when used on public roads as they have improved grip, good handling, and great responsiveness. Although these tires have poor gas mileage and riding comfort, they’re mostly hailed for offering better control when driving at high speeds.
3. Extreme Performance Tires
These types of tires are hailed for being dependable and highly useful in both drag and street racing. They offer excellent traction especially in hard acceleration making them the best for drag racing. They also offer excellent speed and are among the best when used in both dry and wet tracks.
4. Ultra-High Performance Tires
These types of tires are categorized into either summer or all-season models. Summer models are the best for racing as they improve drivability and handling when driving in corners at high speeds. The all-season models, on the other hand, are engineered for both wet and dry tracks without sacrificing traction or grip.
Things to Consider When Picking Drag Radials
Although we’ve discussed ten of the best radial tires that are trending in the market today, picking these tires was not an easy endeavor. That’s because there are some necessary requirements each tire has to fulfill based on its application in the racing business.
You see, for a radial tire to feature in this list, it must meet the driver’s intentions as well as other criteria that apply in the world of racing. So, in this section, we’ll take you through some of these parameters that are an absolute must for any drag radial.
The first parameter you need to consider when picking a drag radial is whether it’s DOT compliant. This is usually a strict consideration if you’re looking for a set of tires to use for street driving. Your tire’s DNA must pass strict Department of Transportation Regulations to be road legal.
Now, for a tire to pass these strict regulations, it must have very high hydroplane resistance, high sidewall stiffness, and tread depth that meets DOT specifications.
Although every manufacturer has its own unique rubber composition when making radial tires, the type of rubber compound used can have a significant influence on the performance of the tire. For instance, drag tires require some heating up while street tires don’t.
If you burn out drag tires, you actually warm them up to increase speed when racing. On the other hand, if you burnout street tires, the rubber compound becomes greasy, gummy, and sticky making the tire slaggy when racing. So, when picking a material, always make sure it offers the right level of stiffness, rigidity, and elasticity.
This is another important parameter you need to be very keen on when picking racing tires. You see, whether you’re doing street driving or track racing, good traction will be needed to ensure your high-performance vehicle sticks on the road when driving at high speeds. Good traction will help you take corners at high speeds without worrying about the car skidding off the track.
Also, tires with good traction will guarantee maximum safety when driving in various conditions such as snowy or wet tracks.
Tire size is another important parameter that requires maximum consideration when choosing the right drag radials. You see, most high-performance cars today demand tires that perfectly fit in their wide 17 to 20-inch wheels. Also, most of the newer racing cars have disc brakes that are specifically designed to fit large wheels.
So, if you fail to do the math and instead buy improperly fitting tires, what happens is that the tires will exert high pressure on the tire heel causing them to get detached thus causing an accident.
Fuel consumption is another factor you need to be keen on when selecting drag radials. As a rule of thumb, smaller tires consume less fuel as compared to larger tires. That’s because small tires are light and have smaller contact patch that leads to reduced friction.
On the other hand, larger tires are heavy and require high rolling resistance. This, as a result, leads to high fuel consumption. So, when picking tires for drag or street racing, you need to consider the size if you really wish to save on fuel.
When it comes to treading patterns, you need to determine exactly how you’re planning on using the tires. Are they for drag racing, street driving, or all-season use? You see, drag radials are categorized depending on the treads, continuous ribs, and grooves.
So, if you’re looking for all-season tires, then you need to focus on the grooves and the continuous ribs to ensure the tires can provide improved traction and easy handling when driving at high speeds. On the other hand, if your focus is on speed and reduced road-noise, then you need a set of smooth tires with minimal treads.
Last but not least, there’s the issue of tire longevity. Now, if you’re a sponsored racer, then this factor is not much of an issue as you won’t feel the pain of replacing the tires. However, if you’re just an enthusiast racer, then you’ll need to consider the life expectancy of your drag radials to avoid spending a lot of bucks on them.
Now, if you’re using drag radials with a smooth surface and fewer treads, then you’ll have to sacrifice longevity to focus on the speed. That’s because such tires have a low mileage warranty that ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
On the other hand, if you’re using all-season tires with deep treads and grooves, then you’ll expect them to last longer. However, these tires will not be as fast as drag radials with small treads.
Top 10 Best Drag Radials Reviews:
1. Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S Racing Radial Tire
- Tire Diameter: 28.4-Inches
- Tire Aspect Ratio: 35.0
- Compliance: DOT approved
Founded in 1963, Mickey Thompson is one of the leading tire makers in the high-performance department. One of the tires that boast of having a successful track record is the Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Tire. Engineered with a polyester-ply interior and a steel belt reinforcement, this tire offers improved strength, increased stability, and proper maneuverability when driving on-road.
The ET Street S/S Radial Tire has a diameter of 28.4-inches and a tire aspect ratio of 35. This aggressive formation makes this tire quite easy to handle making it the best for on-track performance. Besides, this tire has a tubeless radial construction that makes it a safer bargain in case of punctures and blowouts when driving at high speeds.
Now, if you happen to inspect this tire, you’ll notice that it has shallow grooves. This is not a design flaw but rather an improvement that helps to reduce hydroplaning while improving traction on dry surfaces. The tubeless design also helps to improve heat dissipation which again is a major plus when it comes to improving the life of your tire.
- Shallow grooves reduce chances of hydroplaning
- Leak-free seals reduce chances of punctures and blowouts
- The tubeless design provides excellent heat dissipation
- DOT approval makes this tiring road legal
- Flexible sidewalls provide strength for safer control and maneuverability
2. Cooper Cobra Radial G/T All-Season Tire
- All-season use
- 50,000-mile warranty
- Tire Aspect Ratio: 60
- Load Capacity: 2149 pounds
- Tire Diameter: 28.07-Inches
Coming second in our discussion is the Cooper Cobra Radial All-Season Tire. While the Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Tire excels in summer seasons, the Cooper Cobra is designed to excel in all seasons regardless of whether it’s during summer, winter, or rainy seasons.
But to achieve this, this tire is equipped with a unique optimized tread design that allows it to excel in such hostile conditions. One of those is the tire aspect ratio of 60 that maximizes rubber-to-road contact to improve handling when driving. Another feature is the circumferential grooves on the tire such as the notched center rib and the refined tread element.
With such patterns, this tire can resist hydroplaning significantly leading to a secure driving experience. The notched rib design also helps to improve the tire’s longevity while still allowing even tread wear. To give this tire some strength, Cooper Cobra has added twin steel belts on the walls of the tire. This allows the tire to handle a high load capacity of around 2149 pounds without sacrificing stability.
- Polyester casing reduces shock and road vibrations when driving
- Circumferential grooves reduce hydroplaning for secure driving on wet roads
- All-reason use meaning you can drive during summer, winter, or rainy seasons
- Shoulder slotting design ensures pressure is distributed evenly across the tire
- Notched center rib allows proper steering responsiveness and driving stability
3. Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire
- DOT compliant
- Material: Specialized rubber compound
- Load Capacity: 1477 Pounds
- Tire Aspect Ratio: 35.0
- Weight: 33.7 Pounds
Most racing aficionados prefer multipurpose racing tires that can handle both drag racing and street driving events. The Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire is an excellent example of a high-performance tire that can handle both of these racing events without sacrificing safety or performance. With a tire aspect ratio of 35, a weight of 33.7 pounds, and a load capacity of 1477 pounds, this tire is designed to offer remarkable consistency regardless of the type of track it’s exposed to.
Made from a specialized rubber compound, this tire is equipped with two center ribs and large shoulder blocks with high modulus bead filler on the sides. Now, the two center ribs allow continuous contact of the tire with the ground while improving traction. The enhanced sidewall construction, on the other hand, provides longitudinal launch traction while providing the necessary stability through distributing the pressure evenly.
As if it’s not enough, the Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire is DOT compliant making it one of the best drag radial for the street. However, despite being street legal, these tires have limited gripping that makes them quite risky for use on wet, snowy, and icy roads.
- Usable both on track and for street driving
- DOT compliant meaning they’re safe for street driving
- Specialized construction allows even pressure distribution for even tread wear
- The center ribs allow continuous contact between the tire and the ground to improve traction.
- The enhanced sidewall construction provides added stability when driving
4. Mickey Thompson Street Radial Tire
- Weight: 34.7 pounds
- Smooth exterior
- Tire Aspect Ratio: 60
- Tire Diameter: 28.2-inches
- Tread Depth: 6-inches
Whether it’s street driving or track racing, the Mickey Thompson Street Radial Tire is an excellent pick that will never disappoint your efforts. Manufactured by one of the leading tire-making brands, this radial tire is a softer version that’s specifically designed to give you a stronger grip when driving on dry tracks.
Quite similar to the Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Tire, this tire does not excel in wet, icy, or freezing tracks. That’s because the surface of this tire lacks enough grooves to improve traction when driving. Besides, driving in sharp corners will require you to slow down significantly to avoid skidding and crashing in the process.
But, despite all that, the Mickey Thompson Street Radial Tire is an excellent pick if you’re driving in long straights. This tire weighs 34.7 pounds, has an aspect ratio of 60, a tire diameter of 28.2-inches, and a tread depth of just 6-inches. Made from an R2 rubber compound, this tire is among the best radial tires that will improve your car’s speed during track or street racing events.
- Offers stronger grip when driving on dry tracks
- The special sidewall construction offers improved balance and stability
- Versatile enough to be used both on track and on the streets
- Fewer grooves reduce noise when the tire is in contact with the ground
- Improved traction on uneven tracks
5. Shinko Hook-Up Drag Rear Tire
- DOT compliant
- Aspect Ratio: 55
- Weight: 6.3 Pounds
- Rim Diameter: 17-Inches
- Material: Rubber compound
While most of the tires we’ve discussed are specifically designed for high-performance cars, the Shinko Hook-Up Drag Rear Tire is an excellent fit for racing motorbikes. Made from an intermediate rubber compound, this rear tire boosts the overall performance of your motorcycle by improving stability when driving on smooth roads.
Besides, the rubber compound used is strong enough to increase the overall durability of the tire meaning there are fewer cases of wear and tear. Now, the Shinko Hook-Up Drag Rear Tire is quite different from most Shinko tires. The tire has small smooth grooves with broken treads lying at the center and on the sides of the tire.
What this means is that this tire can offer improved grip on dry tracks. This unique tread pattern also aids in improving the speed when performing drag racing. Just as it’s the case with most Shinko tires, this tire is equipped with a low-density aramid on the belts. This idea aids in increasing the speed of the tire thus giving you more chances of winning in drag races. Boasting of being DOT compliant, this tire is one of the safest rear tires you can consider in case you’re getting ready for some drag racing.
- This tire is DOT approved meaning it has undergone extreme safety tests
- Made from intermediate rubber compound for extreme durability
- The tread patterns are exclusively designed for drag racing
- Equipped with an aramid belted carcass for improved performance
- Long-lasting with very high mileage
6. Mickey Thompson ET Street S/S Racing Radial Tire P275/60R15
- DOT approved
- Tire Diameter: 28-Inches
- Tread Depth: 6-Inches
- Aspect Ratio: 60
The Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Tire is a perfect example of a versatile tire that’s exclusively designed to suit both track and street driving. Equipped with continuous treads both at the center and on the sides, this tire is designed to thrive both on dry tracks and in wet conditions. These continuous treads offer excellent traction while still lowering the chances of hydroplaning when driving.
The Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Tire has an aspect ratio of 60, a tire diameter of 28 inches, and a tread depth of 6-inches. With such characteristics, this tire can offer improved traction and excellent control when driving. When it comes to the construction, this best street drag radial is constructed from polyester-ply and is reinforced with an advanced steel-belt.
Now, unlike most contemporary tires, the Mickey Thompson ET Street Radial Tire is a smooth tubeless version. With the absence of the tube, this tire generates less heat as the setup aids in heat dissipation. Besides, this tire has passed the necessary safety tests making it DOT compliant. So, if you’re in the market looking for a tire that performs brilliantly in both dry and wet tracks, then this is a smart option you might wish to consider.
- Tubeless construction improves heat dissipation
- Leak-free radial makes this tire much safer in case of punctures and blowouts
- This tire is DOT approved and safe for both track and street driving
- Minimal treads improve speed and traction in dry tracks
- Reduced cases of hydroplaning when driving in wet conditions
7. Shinko 006 Podium Radial Rear Tire
- Weight: 20 pounds
- Load Index Rating: 73
- Aspect Ratio: 60
- Rim Diameter: 18-Inches
- Streamlined tread patterns
The Shinko 006 Podium Radial Rear Tire is another example of an excellent tire designed for greatness. Similar to most Shinko tires, this one too is designed for racing motorbikes making it an excellent pick if you’re planning to cruise or tour through those isolated country roads. Now, just like the Shinko Hook-Up Drag Rear Tire, the Shinko 006 Podium Tire is tubeless meaning you won’t have to worry about it bursting.
This tire is designed with smooth streamlined treads that are made with continuous patterns to improve water drainage when riding in wet conditions. The tire is aramid belted thus making it way lighter than most contemporary tires.
The smooth shoulder profile is an added plus as it offers you an improved grip and exceptional stability when cornering at lean angles. Besides, this tire offers excellent mileage without sacrificing its performance. Designed for both dry and wet tracks, the Shinko 006 Podium Radial Rear Tire is a must-have if you’re looking for a high-performance tire without having to break the bank.
- Streamlined tread patterns reduce rotating resistance when racing
- The continuous groove patterns improve water drainage and lower chances of hydroplaning
- Smooth shoulder profile provides an improved grip when cornering
- Exceptionally stable even when riding at lean angles
- Aramid reinforcement significantly reduces the weight of the tire
8. Cooper Cobra Radial G/T All-Season Tire P225/70R14 98T
- Load Capacity: 1675 Pounds
- Aspect Ratio: 70
- Tread Depth: 10.5 32nds
- Warranty: 50,000 miles
- Weight: 17 Pounds
The Cooper Cobra Radial Tire is an all-season tire that’s specifically designed for passenger vehicles. While most tires in this discussion are specifically designed for track and street racing, this tire has gone way beyond this tradition to offer some unmatched versatility. That versatility comes in form of a refined tread element coupled with circumferential grooves on the tire.
What this means is that this tire is capable of offering all-season traction regardless of the weather conditions. The deep continuous grooves have a tread depth of 10.5 32nds, which is a major benefit when it comes to resisting chances of hydroplaning. But, despite the treads being too deep, this tire has a specialized internal structure that consists of a polyester casing ply.
What this means is that motorists will experience reduced road noise and vibrations due to constant contact between the tire and the ground. About its longevity, the Cooper Cobra Radial Tire is equipped with a notched center rib that guarantees even tread wear. It also has a shoulder slotting design that allows even pressure distribution throughout the tire. Equipped with a 50,000 miles warranty and a free 45-day test drive, the Cooper Cobra Radial Tire is a real bargain if you’re looking to give your car a characteristic look.
- Offers excellent all-weather traction
- Comes with a 50,000 miles warranty
- Circumferential grooves resist hydroplaning in wet conditions
- Polyester casing ply in the inside structure prevents road noise and vibrations
- Notched center rib allow even tread wear
9. Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Performance Radial Tire
- Load Capacity: 1477 Pounds
- Aspect Ratio: 35
- Tire Diameter: 27.44-Inches
- Weight: 30.6 Pounds
Appearing late in our discussion is the Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire. Now, according to most racing enthusiasts, a multi-purpose drag radial is much better than a pure radial tire as it offers some versatility when it comes to driving both on the track and the streets. Also, such a tire is all-weather friendly as it can be used on both dry and wet tracks.
With the Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire, the surface comprises of literal slits and slanted grooves that improve the grip when driving in wet tracks. These grooves also help in reducing chances of hydroplaning making it safe for you to drive. This tire has a load capacity of 1477 pounds, a weight of 30.6 pounds, and an aspect ratio of 35.
About the sizing, the Nitto NT05R Drag Radial Tire has a tire diameter of 27.44 inches and a size that ranges from 15 to 18 inches. This tire has a large center rib that offers excellent contact between the tire and the ground when driving. Although its treads are expected to wear much faster than most contemporary tires, this tire is hailed for offering a combination of high-speed stability and unmatched durability.
- These drag radials are multi-purpose making them suitable for all-season use
- The tires are DOT compliant
- Notched center rib offers continuous contact between the tire and the ground
- Large shoulder blocks offer stability and even pressure distribution
- Slanted grooves improve traction on wet tracks
10. Maxxis M917 Off-Road Radial Tire
- Off-road use
- Load Capacity: 470 Pounds
- Rim Diameter: 14-Inches
- Load Index Rating: 48
Coming in at 10th is the Maxxis M917 Off-Road Radial Tire. Although this tire is not in the category of the best drag radial, its radial construction makes it an excellent pick for ATV and UTV legends. While most of the tires here are designed with smooth shallow treads for drag racing, this one is designed with wide footprints and tread patterns that make it suitable for desert, dirt, and rocky terrains.
Other than offering excellent traction on rough off-roads, the wide footprint of this tire provides exceptional balance when driving in wet conditions. It also gives the tire excellent gripping reducing chances of skidding when cornering on wet tracks.
Other than the performance, Maxxis has not failed in the aesthetic department. That’s because this brand has managed to add white bold letterings on the sides of the tire to give it a characteristic look. This tire is also equipped with extra lugs on the shoulder to protect the rim and the sidewall from excessive pressure.
- Wide footprint offers exceptional traction
- Perfect for off-road use in rocky terrains
- Bold white letterings improve the tire’s aesthetic looks
- Radial construction guarantees a smoother ride
- Extra lugs on the shoulder offer immense protection to the rim and the sidewall
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What Does Tire Speed Rating Mean?
The tire speed rating is basically a measure of how safe a tire can run and perform when a car is driven at a high speed. This measurement is mostly indicated by letters ranging from M to Z. So, when inspecting a tire’s specifications, always check the tire speed rating to know whether a tire can handle itself when driven at a high speed.
Q2: How Do I Store Drag Radials?
Unlike most contemporary tires, drag tires require proper storage for them to last longer. One way of storing radial tires effectively is by keeping them in a cool dark place with a temperate range of between 40°-90°F. Also, ensure that the tires are stored inside plastic bags to avoid any possible contact with grease, oil, or any solvent that can damage the rubber compound.
Q3: Do Drag Radials Wear Out Faster?
High-performance tires are made from rubber compound that helps them to maintain great grip and traction when driving. Unfortunately, as the tire grips the road, it tends to wear out much faster. For this reason, most drag radials have a low life expectancy but with a higher tire performance.
Q4: Are These Tires Noisy?
Unlike off-road tires, high-performance tires have shallow grooves that make them less noisy when driving. However, these tires are not entirely quiet as they’re designed to grip the road firmly to give you better handling. So, the issue of whether drag radials are noisy or not will most likely depend on the type of insulation used in your car’s cabin.
So, with that said, whether you’re a professional racer looking to improve your drag racing results or maybe you’re a street driver looking to enhance the looks of your dear auto, picking the best drag radial will hugely depend on your specific needs and demands.
You see, drag radials are different. Some tires will offer you much-needed results while others will fail you depending on how you use them. Therefore, whether you prefer to buy a set of drag radials for drag racing or maybe for street driving, always pay attention to your specific demands first before parting with your money.