Mickey Thompson: A History of Firsts

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If it had wheels and could go fast, chances are that Mickey Thompson drove the machine at break-neck speeds. Thompson was, by the best definition, a speed freak. There was no particular form of racing that he had a passion for specifically; he loved it all. Not surprisingly, Mickey Thompson Tires and Wheels, shares the same enthusiasm for all forms of racing, from off-road dune buggies to drag racing funny cars, the tire company has had products tailored for most types of automotive insanity.

Just after high school, Mickey Thompson envisioned himself to be a newspaperman, maybe a reporter coving exciting stories, but his lust for racing got the better of him. Every weekend Thomspon could be found at local drag strips and then started his fascinating career as one of the most promising racers in the world.

Right around the 1960s, it seemed like Mickey Thompson began his reign to be first, whether it was breaking a world record or trying to become champion of a racing series, Mickey Thompson wanted to be numero uno.

Notable Firsts for Thompson and His Tires.

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The most fascinating part of Thompson’s racing career is that he could do more than just drive. On any given Sunday, you didn’t know whether he would be driving the racecar, turning wrenches, designing a new frame or gathering sponsors for a new he racing event that he dreamed up in the middle of the night. It was this dedication to the different facets of automobiles that lead to the success of his company. Below are some of the highlights of his career, as well as Mickey Thompson Wheel and Tire, which produces the Mickey Thompson Tires for cars and trucks in the market.

1960: In the 1960s, breaking a land speed record was big news. When Thompson broke the 400-mph barrier in his rave car, Challenger I, he gained international fame as the fastest man on four wheels.

1962: Mickey Thompson began to design cars to compete in the Indy 500. His designs were so different from other teams that he won the Mechanical Achievement Award for original construction.

1968: Mickey Thompson redesigns and races a new version of the Funny Car and wins the NHRA Spring races.

1970: M/T Tires is the first company to feature raised white lettering on their tires, a look that has been copied by drag racers ever since.

1977: M/T Tires starts innovating on truck and off-road wheels and tires. The company experiments with tires that have tread on the sidewalls.

1982: Mickey competes and wins the Baja 1000, the most grueling off-road road race in the world.

1988: Two gunmen kill Thompson and his wife Trudy in their home in California. Their murders go unsolved for years, but the legacy of Thompson lives on through his wheel and tire company.

1990: Mickey Tompson is entered into the Motosports Hall of Fame of America.

1992:  M/T Tires releases the world’s fasted D.O.T. street legal tire.

2004: M/T Tires releases the world’s largest Street Rod Radial Tire, the Sportsman S/R Radial.

2009: Focusing on Thompson’s off-roading career, M/T Tires designs the first ever off-road tire with directional sidebites, the Baja Claw TTC. That same year the International Motorsports Hall of Fame inducted Thompson.

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Mickey Thompson Tire and Wheel Today

A few years ago, the murder of Thompson and his wife finally came to a resolution. After nearly 20 years of police work and investigation, detectives were able to capture an old business partner with the crime of killing one of racings biggest legends and his wife in their own home.

Today, Mickey Thompson’s Tire and Wheel Company is doing just fine. Their products continue to be one of the best-sold tires for drag racers and off-road enthusiasts. In fact, because of their popularity, Cooper Tire and Rubber Company was able to purchase the company in 2003 to help the company continue to grow.

According to their website, Mickey Thompson Wheel and Tire Company says that their goal is “build the best performance tires in the world.” Mickey would be proud. 4WheelOnline Offers Mickey Thompson Tires and other Off Road Tires

By Sean Bowes
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