Dunlop officials have confirmed that the company will be involved in dirt track racing for the 2001 season, the news coming on the heels of a successful test at Devils Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, on October 25.
Reigning Formula USA/Wrenchead.com National Dirt Track Champion Chris Carr and current factory Harley-Davidson rider Rich King took part in the test which, according to Dunlop Off-Road Race Manager Brian Fleck, gave the company a lot of direction as it heads toward a production model.
"We tested about 12 different patterns," Fleck said. "We tested front and rear patterns, groove widths, a whole lot of different things. Based upon what we learned, we have plan to go ahead and order molds so that we can have a tire ready by April 1. Daytona is too soon, but we plan to go there with molded tires so that we can do some final testing. Besides, we have to get them AMA-approved, which shouldn't be a problem.
Fleck said that the sizes for the tires will be 130/80-19 for the front and 140/80-19 for the rear, "the same as the Continentals," and that the tires will be competitively priced, "about $100 each."
Carr said that he figured he had tried about 10 different rears and six different fronts during the test.
"They weren't bad," Carr said. "I think that they [Dunlop] are really close with them."
Dunlop began initial testing after the Formula USA/Wrenchead.com Phoenix Half Mile last August, precipitating a serious move into what Fleck calls "all-American racing."
"It [dirt track] is obviously a strong market because of the Harley crowd," Fleck said. "We just saw it as a market that we were not in and a market that we could be competitive in. With some of the SuperTrackers, tire wear is becoming a big issue, and we hope to get around that and produce a safer tire for the sport."
In related news, Carr, King, Johnny Murphree and Willie McCoy are scheduled to take part in a test for Continental Tire at the Springfield Mile this week. The event is closed to the public.