PRI 2010: Weld Racing Sweats the Details
Weld Racing’s Kyle Fickler is a man who pays attention to detail – when we caught up with him at this year’s PRI show, we got a little bit of an education on just how important those details can be when it comes to making a wheel for the street or strip.
Take, for example, an interesting detail on this AlumaStar P.R.O. 15.3-spec wheel. As Pro Mod and Outlaw cars have gotten quicker and faster, the loads they place on their wheels have shot up as well, but racers needed extra strength without all the excess weight of a SFI 15.4 Fuel-style wheel. Look closely at the backside of the AlumaStar and you’ll see the forged center section is secured to the rim shells using aerospace-style jet nuts rather than conventional hardware – a little detail that goes a long way to making the wheel stronger and more durable.
Another case in point is this wheel designed for racers looking for a vintage-style wheel without beadlocks or rim screws. Using a stock-car-style liner retention system, the tire can still shift on the rim, and suddenly less than 10 PSI in the tire and 50 or so in the liner becomes 25 in both – obviously bad for traction and possibly the source of a quick turn to the wall. Weld solves the problem with a deep knurled section on the inner rim that grabs the bead securely and prevents the tire from shifting much better than simply gluing it to the shell.
Solutions like that can lead to other interesting innovations down the line. This wheel addresses the inherent problem of a single-beadlock design – the outside bead is captured, but the inside bead can still shift, which as you can imagine does some interesting things to the tire’s contact patch (all of them bad). Putting the same knurling as the liner lock wheel around the inner rim turns the single-beadlock into a much better design.
Don’t get the impression that the innovation stops at the pit gate – Weld is sweating the details on their street wheels too. Their new RT-S series wheels are a three-piece welded modular design with a forged center section that’s available in three pad heights. It’s not just a question of the correct offset – to fit, your wheels have to clear the brake calipers and other components, and Weld’s selection of center section contours means that they’ve almost certainly got something that will fit properly.