Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars

June 11th, 2010

By Tom McEwen

The Mongoose's ride, around the time of the Tire Wars

M&H Racemaster Tussles with Goodyear in a ‘David & Goliath’ Battle

In the “Tire Wars” of ’67, not a shot was fired, but the combat on the drag strips throughout the U.S. was fierce.

The basics of the battle were truly a David vs. Goliath saga. On one side stood the little guy, Marvin Rifchin, owner of M&H Racemaster Tires out of Watertown, Mass. On the other was his rival, the mighty Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio. The two companies had their own approach to drag racing and they varied greatly. Marvin, the creator of the first modern racing slick in 1957, took a very hands-on approach when it came to developing compounds for new slicks and dealing directly with the racers. Goodyear relied on the giant corporate approach to design and development. Both business strategies proved successful as a flood of newly conceived tires surged from both companies’ design facilities.

Next: The first official 6-second pass in drag racing history …

Differing greatly in tire design, Goodyear introduced slicks with inner liners. This strong liner, which amounted to a smaller tire within the drag slick itself, was inflated to 40-50 pounds and provided a base for the soft outer slick, which could be spread out to its full tread width with only two-to-five pounds inflation pressure. This design gave them their unique “wrinkle wall” appearance. With the sidewalls wrinkling, the traction off the starting line was considerably better than before.

Working with a different strategy, M&H provided an unforeseen bonus to racers with a tire that “grew” so much during a run it provided an extra five miles an hour. The sensation was akin to going into overdrive. The design permitted the tire to expand in circumference as speed increased, providing more speed at any given rpm, over less-flexible models. You have to keep in mind, back in the ‘60s, big speed was almost as important as low elapsed times.

For better or worse, Don “The Beachcomber” Johnson and I will always be attached to the Tire Wars and several other pieces of drag racing history. I started driving Don’s SPE-fabricated, Ed Pink-tuned digger in early May 1967. Shortly after our association began, NHRA held a Divisional points race and record run. In the months prior to the race, many “experts” had stated the seven-second bracket was the epitome of elapsed times and the “sixes” were simply unattainable. The NHRA had set up not one, but three Chrondek timing systems for the record runs to ensure total accuracy.

I had a special set of slicks Marvin Rifchin had provided for testing, but under no circumstances was I to use them at that race. Ernie Hashim, one of Marvin’s big West Coast distributors, was also competing, but didn’t have access to my experimental editions. Marv didn’t want to ruffle any feathers, so that’s why the tires were supposed to stay on the trailer. But, you know me, on the car they went. On my very first pass, I tripped the triple timers with a jaw-dropping elapsed time of 6.9-seconds (!) at 227 miles an hour. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the first official six-second pass in drag racing history. Of course, the other competitors sniveled about my one-off tires, but the record stood. Marv was a bit miffed, but that six-second time slip soothed a lot of wounds and I was quickly back in his good graces.

Shortly after that race in Carlsbad, Goodyear lured me into its camp to become its unofficial chief tire tester. Many inside and outside the company give me the majority of the credit for the development of their new 11.75 slick.

The next skirmish in the Tire Wars took place at NHRA’s new Springnationals, held at Thunder Valley in Bristol, Tenn. I became disenchanted with my relationship with the tire giant. The rift culminated in The Snake and me rolling a new set of 11.75 Goodyears over to Lou Baney’s Brand Ford trailer. They eventually used them to win the race, while we ran the Springnationals shod with M&Hs. Marv and I were back together.

I guess we know how the War eventually ended. M&H, though no longer under Marv Rifchin’s ownership, is still making tires, and of course Goodyear won the war. They’re the one-and-only manufacturer of slicks for the nitro classes. Where would we be without Goodyear?

The Snake and I had another one of our titanic struggles on the first of July at Irwindale. My stock was still soaring, following that first six-second 227-mph pass, so Johnson and I were feeling pretty confident. As usual, I left Prudhomme in the first two races, only to have him nail me in the lights. After the race was over, I discovered our engine had a split cylinder wall.

Rare photos of the Mongoose, spanning 60 years. Get them here (http://store NULL.beckett NULL.com/Mongoose-The-Life-and-Times-of-Tom-McEwen NULL.html).

Want mo’ Mongoose? Stay tuned to Motortopia’s Drag Racer page.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Advertisement

2,029 Responses to “Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars”

  1. Full Statement (http://www NULL.coachoutlet-corp NULL.com/Coach-outlet-coupon-a-5 NULL.html) says:

    Full Statement…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  2. comprar bolsos longchamp baratos (http://www NULL.gegei NULL.es/up-style/comprar-bolsos-longchamp-baratos-58 NULL.html) says:

    comprar bolsos longchamp baratos…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  3. la tienda outlet (http://www NULL.bmabogados NULL.com/tiendas/la-tienda-outlet-194 NULL.html) says:

    la tienda outlet…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  4. gucci iphone 5 wallet (http://www NULL.crisbasso NULL.com NULL.br/?bags=gucci-iphone-5-wallet) says:

    gucci iphone 5 wallet…

    The Caribbean in general and St. Martin in particular, according to Richardson, blessed by beauty and it rejuvenates people who have the opportunity to have an experience here. We have an international community, and we are enriched by the variety of v…

  5. abercrombie and fitch store locator cyber monday 2014 (http://tantei-wins NULL.com/?tag=abercrombie-and-fitch-store-locator-cyber-monday-2014) says:

    abercrombie and fitch store locator cyber monday 2014…

    Il est indispensable que les aliments soient de premi fra Si vous avez envie d steak tartare, ne prenez pas de viande pr Pr votre boucher que vous allez la consommer crue et exigez qu la hache devant vous. Ensuite, pour ne pas rompre la cha du froid, t…

  6. canada goose boston (http://www NULL.ayuntamientodeillueca NULL.com/goose/canada-goose-boston NULL.asp) says:

    canada goose boston…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  7. Botas Uggs España (http://www NULL.benmagec NULL.org/uggbaratas/) says:

    Botas Uggs España…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  8. canada goose jackets cheap (http://www NULL.seprox NULL.es/sql/canada-goose-damen-54 NULL.html) says:

    canada goose jackets cheap…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  9. uggs sloffen baby (http://onlineveenendaal NULL.nl/wp-content/cache/tmp/nl-ugg/N3VnPe2x6u/) says:

    uggs sloffen baby…

    I¡¯m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road. All the best…

  10. Cheap Snapback Hats (http://www NULL.peripheralneuropathy NULL.info/invites/cheap-snapback-hats NULL.html) says:

    Cheap Snapback Hats…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  11. cheap moose knuckles (http://devinemenucovers NULL.com/hot/moose NULL.php) says:

    cheap moose knuckles…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  12. north face jacket hood replacement (http://intellservis NULL.ru/wp-content/plugins/dk-north%20face/n1RgBMgvlw/) says:

    north face jacket hood replacement…

    I’m not sure why but this blog is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists….

  13. gucci shoes mens 11 (http://www NULL.crisbasso NULL.com NULL.br/?bags=gucci-shoes-mens-11) says:

    gucci shoes mens 11…

    Serve with a dollop of sour cream, some buttered bread. I like to cut up some fresh chives and put them on top for colour and flavour.What are the latest bags to use for teen girls going school…

  14. marca moncler (http://www NULL.actimat NULL.es/baratas/marca-moncler NULL.asp) says:

    marca moncler…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  15. black friday cheap hollister (http://trenyng NULL.ru/?key=black-friday-cheap-hollister) says:

    black friday cheap hollister…

    Lors de la manche 2, les quatre candidats restants s sur un th pr Chaque jour, le th change. Les trois premi questions sont des questions Duo Les candidats doivent choisir parmi deux choix de r Ils gagnent 1 pt s r juste. Ensuite, les trois questions s…

  16. 9fifty Snapback (http://www NULL.peripheralneuropathy NULL.info/invites/9fifty-snapback NULL.html) says:

    9fifty Snapback…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  17. Moncler Outlet Online (http://www NULL.levelprograms NULL.com/moncler NULL.htm) says:

    Moncler Outlet Online…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  18. abercrombie london black friday deals (http://safarijeff NULL.com/?page=abercrombie-london-black-friday-deals) says:

    abercrombie london black friday deals…

    So now he has a clear conscience, and a share of the lead at Ridgewood. He also gets to play Saturday in the final group with Scott….

  19. michael kors factory outlet (http://www NULL.onsitetechnicians NULL.com/factory NULL.php) says:

    michael kors factory outlet…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  20. nfl cheap jerseys (http://www NULL.marysmashup NULL.com) says:

    nfl cheap jerseys…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  21. plumiferos moncler (http://www NULL.fermad NULL.org/es-mon/outlet-shops-moncler-cfkdfje-166 NULL.html) says:

    plumiferos moncler…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  22. Moncler Sale (http://www NULL.fallasquatrecarreres NULL.com/) says:

    Moncler Sale…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  23. moncler california (http://www NULL.formaclm NULL.org/sale/moncler-precios NULL.htm) says:

    moncler california…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  24. cyber monday hollister joggers (http://astridbio NULL.com/?key=cyber-monday-hollister-joggers) says:

    cyber monday hollister joggers…

    A: Yes. With the Xbox One and Xbox 360 updates now available, Xbox Live Gold members who have purchased a paid membership before 4 June 2014 and activated that membership before 30 June 2014, can cancel and receive a pro rata refund of any unused remai…

  25. abercrombie ireland black friday 2014 (http://mszmt NULL.hu/?key=abercrombie-ireland-black-friday-2014) says:

    abercrombie ireland black friday 2014…

    La bouteille doit rester en place au moins une dizaine de jours. Si possible, r茅p茅tez l’incantation “Avec l’aide des Forces divines.” chaque fois que vous apercevrez la bouteille ou passerez devant elle. Enfin, enterrez la au pied d’un arbre (voir…

  26. moose knuckles shop (http://devinemenucovers NULL.com/hot/moose NULL.php?pid=17) says:

    moose knuckles shop…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  27. canada goose en madrid (http://www NULL.gegei NULL.es/up-style/canada-goose-en-madrid-8 NULL.html) says:

    canada goose en madrid…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  28. Women Jack Tatum Raiders Nike Jersey (http://georgiaguidestones NULL.com/bhp/nfl NULL.php?pid=162) says:

    Women Jack Tatum Raiders Nike Jersey…

    Drag Racing History: The Mongoose Takes You Inside the 1967 Tire Wars « Drag Racer…

  29. cyber monday hollister sale (http://be-with-money NULL.com/?key=cyber-monday-hollister-sale) says:

    cyber monday hollister sale…

    Le mur d’enceinte a souffert en plusieurs endroits. Trois piliers de la colonnade au sud du temple ont 茅t茅 d茅membr茅s, leurs chapiteaux corinthiens gisant 脿 terre. Mais les autres monuments n’ont pas 茅t茅 touch茅s par les combats….

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.