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By Mike Garrison
New AKA Blog Post:
(Interview by Tyler Hooks)
Alright, time to get ready to travel, lets say this is your 1st year going to Psycho Nitro Blast or a similar arena type event like Silver State of Wicked etc. New location with new dirt that you are unfamiliar with.
TH: When you are getting prepared to attend how do you decide on a range of tires to bring with you?
JT: First thing that I will do if I'm going somewhere I have never been, is watch video. I try to find some video of a large race at that track so I can see the conditions. Second, I will reach out to someone that I know, and has been to that track before. Both of those things will get me in the ball park.
TH: Do you have favorite Compounds?
JT: I do have favorite compounds with AKA tires. My go to is Super Soft Long Wear, and I use this compound more than anything else. Arena tracks, you will need Clay compound sometimes, but I always have SSLW just in case.
TH: Do you have favorite Tread Patterns?
JT: Just like the compounds, I do have favored treads, but sometimes that doesn't work for arena races. It really depends on the dirt and how the surface is prepped. For SSLW tires, I like Gridiron and DoubleDown, and for Clay I like the Typo and now the new Scribble. I will always have Impacts with me, just in case as well. If I think DoubleDown will be a good choice, I will have some Zipps. If I think I will be using Typo, Scribble, it is good to have a couple Chainlinks as well. I try to pick my treads, before I go to the event, so I'm not too overwhelmed with too many choices during a race. This is always a tough balance, because you want to be mentally strong and have confidence in what you are using, but you also need to make sure you have what you need to be the fastest.
TH: Once you are at the event what are the biggest factors in your choice when going to hit the track?
JT: Once you are at the event, then you can really see the surface and make your choices. I will look at the moisture of the dirt, and then the actual prepping of the track, is it hard packed, loose greasy, dusty, etc. Once I can get on the track and drive, I'm looking for the tire that gives me the most traction.
TH: Do you like to pick tires in qualifying that you know will last in the main or make choices simply for qualifying then make educated guesses for the main?
JT: That is something that was important in the past, but not anymore, at least not on the top professional level. The pace that we run now, you have to be on the fastest tire pretty much every time you hit the track. I just focus on qualifying when I am in qualifying, as you need to be fast to start towards the front for the mains. You have to look at how the track is changing as well, and sometimes the grip is much better by the mains, and now a tire that lasts longer, isn't much slower like it would have been in qualifying.
TH: How do you make note of everything for the next year?
JT: Keeping notes is key. I keep notes on my phone during every race I attend. I keep track of each tire I run and how I finished that run. It really helps you to analyze your event after it is over. I can see where I made good choices, and then learn from where I didn't make the best choice. It is a huge help when returning to that event the following year, and also when you are attending a different event, but you know the conditions will be similar.
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