Front vs. Rear

Grooves and sipes should always be cut perpendicular to the direction of the stresses applied to the tread. For example, rear tires are subjected to acceleration and braking forces circumferentially. Consequently, those grooves need to be cut across the tire thereby delivering bite in a front to rear direction. However, just because rear tires do not turn as front tires do, doesn’t mean that lateral traction isn’t important. By cutting grooves and sipes circumferentially around the tire you can increase the lateral traction of the rear tires as you negotiate the corners.

Front tires experience a different set of stresses than the rear tires because you turn your front tires to steer the car. Therefore, grooves and sipes must be cut at an angle in order for them to lay perpendicular to the direction of the tire stresses. Start by holding the tire between your knees and imagining a clock. 6 o’clock would be closest to your body while 12 o’clock would be the farthest away with 9 o’clock to your left and 3 o’clock to your right. You make all of your cuts in a pattern running from 8 o’clock to 2 o’clock. This is important to get right because if you cut the grooves the wrong direction you will reduce the braking force of the front tires and cause the car to push when entering the turn.

Don’t Forget Tire Management

Grooving, siping, and grinding on tire is all well and good, but keeping detailed records as part of a tire management program is critical to maximizing your results. Prepping dirt tires is a time consuming task. As such, you want to make sure that you have all the proverbial ducks in a row before you hit the track.


Prepping a tire for dirt racing is an arduous task that is time consuming and labor intensive. But with the right tools and the right approach you can maximize your performance on the track. And that’s what it is all about. If you follow our guidelines in this article and pay very close attention to the track conditions you will be in good shape.

Speedway Motors
340 Victory Lane
ME  68528
Steve Smith Autosports
P.O. Box 11631
Santa Ana
CA  92711