If you’ve been to a major heads-up drag racing event any time in the last several years you’ve no doubt seen what’s become on the most vital pieces of equipment in the secret sauce of track preparation, known as a tire dragger or tire rotator. The formula is quite simple, although it has changed some over the years. In the past — and even to this day at some tracks — large pieces of flat rubber are attached to purpose-built implements and dragged down the racing surface to both clean it of dirt and debris but, more importantly, to help lay down ever-import layers of rubber where and when needed.
But track prep guru Larry Crispe, who calls the Bandimere Speedway near Denver, Colorado home, felt that an actual set of drag racing slicks would be better served as the provider of the rubber on such pieces of equipment, and concocted an implement that features four Goodyear rear slicks that are turned in the direction opposite of the forward motion of the tractor that’s pulling it, which creates a high degree of friction and therefore rubber contact with the surface.
This, as you can imagine, puts a staggering amount of stress on everything from the drivetrain in the tractor to the implement itself. Crispe, who builds and sells these very implements to racing organizations like the NHRA, initially tried a run-of-the-mill stock nine-inch rear end housing and gears to transfer the torque from the tractor to the drive gears at each end that turn the axle. But he quickly found it not up to snuff, and called upon Mark Williams Enterprises to supply a truly bulletproof assembly. What intimately found its way onto Crispe’s tire rotators has been MW’s popular modular nine-inch housing, with detachable bells that lead out to the custom axle setup that Crispe designed.
All in all, a very cool piece of equipment that’s become standard-issue for track prep personnel, that makes unique use of a piece of race car componentry.