<font color=purple>The improvements I'd look into are as follows:
I've never seen anyone with a good engine & bad tires win a race. But, I've won several on premium tires (with zero pavement miles on 'em) & junk engines.
I've never had a locker in any of my racers & most have been open diffy's front & rear. Tell him to definitely take off the top & doors (assuming it's okay with the rules - generally is & he could run a bikini top to keep some mud out), but NOT to uncork the headers. Mufflers are almost always required in the lower classes. If he's allowed to remove the passenger seat, he should also take that out & definitely remove the rear seat if he has one. Unbolt the spare, the jack, and anything else that adds weight & doesn't HAVE to be there. With an aggressive set of 31-33" radials, he should probably be able to run 2nd gear, low range with a 304 (that's my old setup). He probably has 3.54's & I used to run 3.73's. If his engine is worn out, the 33's & 3.54's might dog him down a bit in 2nd, but if he gets a good launch, he should be okay. If he gets some 33" Swampers (tell him to forget he even heard the word "Bogger"), then he'll need to stay in 1st, low-range. If he has an open air cleaner, a quick fix is to take an oil drainpan & put it over the filter upside down (he'll have to poke a hole in it for the carb post & should get one that's plenty big so it'll allow a lot of air to reach the filter). He'll need to remove his mechanical fan so it doesn't end up in the radiator. A stock 304 can do w/o it for a while w/o getting hot. It's about a 5 minute job, max. Just tell him to make sure to leave the pulley in place & crank the nuts back down on the pulley. It wouldn't be a bad idea to cover the distributor, but I never did. Right before his class starts, he should spray it & the plug wires with lots of WD-40 - helps keep moisture out. Rev the engine a couple of times before taking off to clean it out & sidestep the clutch at about 3,500 RPM's while simultaneously flooring the throttle. If momentum slows down, he should start working the steering wheel for all it's worth! When they red-flag him, he should try to push in the clutch while his left leg does its best impersonation of a sewing-machine needle[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]. Put it in neutral & let the tractor pull him out (assuming he doesn't cross the finish line). He'll need to bring his own helmet, & should go to the farm supply store for a 3" or larger clevis to mount on the rear if he doesn't already have one. Goggles & neck braces aren't a bad idea & if it gets real sloppy, he'll definitely want to keep his mouth closed[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif[/img]. For specific tire recommendations, I'd have to know more about the rules. But, 32X9.50, 12X15, 33X12.50, & 34X9.50 TSL's all kick serious butt - as do P78 Buckshots (33X10). The 34's are the best of the bunch, but if it's a bog event, he'll probably be limited to 33" in the lowest class (not always the case, though). None of the above make decent ON-road tires. So, if he's looking for something more versatile, he should consider an aggressive radial - something like a Cooper Discoverer STT
I've never won a race on radials, but have been in the money with 'em. A Buckshot radial or a 33X10.50 TSL radial would be even more aggressive than the Coopers & would give him a better shot while still being better on the highway than a bias tire - but not as good as something like the Coopers. And just trying to be "competitive" is about as high as any first-timer should aim. Most of all, tell him just to try to have fun!</font color=purple>
[img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif[/img] Got Mud?
G.U.M.B.O. Mud Racing