PRI Magazine August 2013 : Page 84

very type of retail business depends on its bread-and-butter type products, and for the racing industry, obvi-ously, every race car needs tires and wheels in order to compete. And, the benefit to carrying tires and wheels is that these products are major consumables, bringing steady business to the racing retail store throughout the season. “Racing retailers have a great deal of business opportuni-ties presented to them in selling race wheels,” said Matt Budd from Valken, Swedesboro, New Jersey. “As a retailer, it would be wise of you to carry as many product categories as pos-sible, and I believe that wheels should be the most generic category amongst retailers. “Wheels complete the car and are something that every racer needs,” he continued. “It may not be the product line that you sell most frequently, but it’s certainly one of the most vital.” Rick Clement of Bart Wheels in Chicago, Illinois, added, “Wheels are a consumable part on a race car. The retailer should do his homework and find out what is used in the area and keep an inventory of the popular items on the shelf. “A relationship with a strong wholesaler is also a great idea in case the retail establishment doesn’t have the product needed on the floor,” he added. Irish Saunders of Hoosier Racing Tire, Lakeville, Indiana, mentioned the sales opportunities inherent in these products: “I think that for retailers, race tires are kind of the marquee— they bring people in because racers need tires to race. So 84 when a retailer offers tires at his retail store, the racers come in to get their tires and they also usually need something else. It’s kind of like going to the gas station—you have to buy gas for your car, but when you go inside you buy a soda and chips and whatever else there is.” The following pages will discuss wheel technology, new race tire and wheel offerings, and more. Wheel Technology The wheel business is all about design, noted LB Davis from Race Star Industries, Kearney, Missouri. “Designs keep improv-ing and the wheels continue to get lighter. They are finding new materials to make wheels out of every day. This makes the wheels lighter and the cars go faster, and that’s what every racer wants.” “New complex wheel designs that hold up to the rigorous demands of the sport are increasingly important,” added Ryan Dettling of Jongbloed Racing, Morgan Hill, California. And in regards to materials, “we still like the 6061 aluminum treated to T6 and forged aluminum in the same condition. When the company started in 1972, we were 100 percent cast magne-sium but have discontinued its use as costs have gone up. Also, the mass needed in critical areas of the wheel can be reduced with the use of forgings.” Kyle Fickler at Weld Racing, Kansas City, Missouri, summed up recent technological advances—lighter, stiffer and stronger. “We have focused extensively on determining the correct amount of bead bundle compression in both dirt oval and drag race Performance Racing Industry | August 2013

Rolling Stock—Increase Sales Of Race Tires & Wheels

Christen D'Alessandro

Manufacturers discuss their latest product releases and explain how adding these important 'bread and butter' items to your inventory can boost sales throughout the store.<br /> <br /> Every type of retail business depends on its bread-and-butter type products, and for the racing industry, obviously, every race car needs tires and wheels in order to compete. And, the benefit to carrying tires and wheels is that these products are major consumables, bringing steady business to the racing retail store throughout the season.<br /> <br /> “Racing retailers have a great deal of business opportunities presented to them in selling race wheels,” said Matt Budd from Valken, Swedesboro, New Jersey. “As a retailer, it would be wise of you to carry as many product categories as possible, and I believe that wheels should be the most generic category amongst retailers.<br /> <br /> “Wheels complete the car and are something that every racer needs,” he continued. “It may not be the product line that you sell most frequently, but it’s certainly one of the most vital.” <br /> <br /> Rick Clement of Bart Wheels in Chicago, Illinois, added, “Wheels are a consumable part on a race car. The retailer should do his homework and find out what is used in the area and keep an inventory of the popular items on the shelf.<br /> <br /> “A relationship with a strong wholesaler is also a great idea in case the retail establishment doesn’t have the product needed on the floor,” he added.<br /> <br /> Irish Saunders of Hoosier Racing Tire, Lakeville, Indiana, mentioned the sales opportunities inherent in these products: “I think that for retailers, race tires are kind of the marquee— they bring people in because racers need tires to race. So When a retailer offers tires at his retail store, the racers come in to get their tires and they also usually need something else. It’s kind of like going to the gas station—you have to buy gas for your car, but when you go inside you buy a soda and chips and whatever else there is.” <br /> <br /> The following pages will discuss wheel technology, new race tire and wheel offerings, and more.<br /> <br /> Wheel Technology<br /> <br /> The wheel business is all about design, noted LB Davis from Race Star Industries, Kearney, Missouri. “Designs keep improving and the wheels continue to get lighter. They are finding new materials to make wheels out of every day. This makes the wheels lighter and the cars go faster, and that’s what every racer wants.” <br /> <br /> “New complex wheel designs that hold up to the rigorous demands of the sport are increasingly important,” added Ryan Dettling of Jongbloed Racing, Morgan Hill, California. And in regards to materials, “we still like the 6061 aluminum treated to T6 and forged aluminum in the same condition. When the company started in 1972, we were 100 percent cast magnesium but have discontinued its use as costs have gone up. Also, the mass needed in critical areas of the wheel can be reduced with the use of forgings.” <br /> <br /> Kyle Fickler at Weld Racing, Kansas City, Missouri, summed up recent technological advances—lighter, stiffer and stronger. “We have focused extensively on determining the correct amount of bead bundle compression in both dirt oval and drag race applications, and have designed beadlock rings for specific tire combinations.<br /> <br /> “We have also developed a knurled bead seat process to optimize bead bundle retention in non-loc applications, ranging from Pro Mod drag cars to sprint cars,” Fickler added.<br /> <br /> In fact, wheel technology has become commercially more competitive, “where a first-class product is expected regardless of what series a competitor is running in,” explained Matt Neal from Rimstock, West Bromwich, West Midlands, United Kingdom. “The development of new alloys and machining techniques never stops. You see less and less companies making a wheel for one size fits all; we’re seeing wheel manufacturers making tailor-made products for specific cars, championships or series.” <br /> <br /> Moving on to materials, Neal continued, “Because of cost and durability, we’re seeing a swing away from magnesium to mainly aluminum. Carbon has been tried and used and can be a great product with extreme weight savings, but is still extremely expensive and still a little unknown and untrusted by many, and is now being banned in a lot of series. So aluminum is the real weapon of choice these days in both cast and forged guises.” <br /> <br /> Off-road racing wheels require different demands and technology. “Off-road wheels generally receive higher loads, more abuse and more sustained abuse on the longer endurance races, like the Baja or Dakar Rally,” noted Daraugh “Bones” Flynn from OMF Performance Products, Riverside, California. “For drag and circle track racing, wheels need to be lightweight, but strength is not as important as it is in off-road racing.<br /> <br /> “Wheel construction in drag and circle track racing is generally spun or forged aluminum, whereas off-road racing wheels are more commonly cast, with some of the higher end models being offered in forged aluminum,” he added.<br /> <br /> Wheel Product Developments <br /> <br /> Weld Racing builds drag racing wheels for every Pro and Sportsman category, noted Fickler, including Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Mod, etc., and all SFI specifications, such as 15.1, 15.2, 15.3 and the new TF/FC spec, 15.4. “Also, we build wheels for dirt late model, sprint, midget and micro applications, and are highly visible in virtually every race series that uses aluminum racing wheels,” Fickler added.<br /> <br /> On the dirt side, Weld has focused extensively on engineering beadlock rings in response to changing tire rules and the resulting change in bead bundle thickness. “Many racers are unaware of the dramatic difference in bead bundle thickness of different tires, and the resultant change in bead bundle compression that can lead to tire slippage on the wheel,” Fickler explained.<br /> <br /> Valken Wheels provides high-quality wheels to the Late Model, Northeast dirt modified, sprint, micro sprint and quarter midget racers, according to Budd. “Over the past five years we have really held the same standards. Our wheels are perfectly balanced and have been CNC spun since day one.<br /> <br /> “We have done some fine tuning to certain aspects of our wheels,” he continued. “The threaded inserts that are used in most wheels are single inserts that have the potential to spin when tightening your beadlock rings. We have developed a plate that locks two inserts together to remove this as a possibility.” <br /> <br /> Valken is gearing up to fully release its newest wheel line—the 15-inch sprint line—at the 2013 PRI Trade Show. “This line will be very similar to our micro sprint line as we will be producing our wheels in halves only,” Budd stated. “We feel the ability to ‘build’ a wheel to the size you need and being able to quickly change setup is what the market needs.<br /> <br /> “And a new feature that most racers will not be used to with wheel halves is our wheel gasket,” he continued. “This is the same principle as our micro wheel gaskets. We developed a rubber gasket that sandwiches between wheel halves to seal them tight to remove the need to silicone the wheel. The gaskets are reusable and seal tight.” <br /> <br /> Historically, touring car racing has been a focus for Rimstock on all levels, noted Neal, “from small club racing and time attack to the higher profile British, World and Australian touring car championships with both cast and forged alloy wheels. We also supply wheels for sports car racing and formula racing, like Formula Ford and Formula Renault—so pretty much anything and everything all around the world.”<br /> <br /> Rimstock has its cast alloy Pro Race and forged alloy Pro Forged lines aimed at distinctly different sectors of the motorsports market. “In 2013, we have added new sizes to both Pro Race and Pro Forged ranges, and have been working on new designs and machining techniques to give even lighter and stronger products,” Neal stated.<br /> <br /> OMF Performance Products offers bead locked wheels in sizes ranging from sixto 20-inch diameters. “This has put our racing wheels in nearly every form of motorsports, including kart, ATV, UTV, truck, buggy, dragster, rock crawlers, Baja, Dakar and a handful of other demanding fields,” Flynn said.<br /> <br /> The newest offerings from OMF are its 14- and 15-inch Billet Center Series Wheels. “These wheels offer customers nearly unlimited options on size, offset, bolt pattern, colors, styles, upgrades and accessories,” Flynn explained. “Great looks don’t win races though, so these wheels are reinforced in key areas to help avoid damaging the wheel.<br /> <br /> “At OMF Performance, we use only the highest quality, artificially aged and heat-treated 6061-T6 aluminum,” he added.<br /> <br /> Arcasting in Riese Pio X, Treviso, Italy, has two types of products: aftermarket wheels and competition wheels. “The competition wheels are made using alloy (ALSI7) with heat treatment, and all the wheels have steel inserts,” Nadir Giacometti said.<br /> <br /> Competition products include rally wheels, circuit wheels and heavy-duty 4 by 4 wheels. The rally wheels are for tarmac and gravel, range from 14 to 18 inches, and are available in ZAR and Excalibur models. The circuit wheels are 18 inches in models Excalibur and GTR, and the heavy-duty wheels range from 16 to 20 inches in RACER and F15 models.<br /> <br /> “Our production system avails of the low pressure casting technology, which guarantees the highest quality and reliability of the product,” Giacometti said.<br /> <br /> EvoCorse in Piombino Dese, Padua, Italy, manufactures cast and forged aluminum competition wheels. It initially specialized in the production of wheels for tarmac and gravel rally vehicles, but now its catalog also includes wheels for 13-inch F3 applications, 16-inch heavyduty off-road 4 by 4 vehicles, 17- and 18-inch circuit and rally cross rims, as well as offering the possibility of tailor-made forged products for GT racing.<br /> <br /> “EvoCorse has contributed to an impressive number of national and international victories and trophies, including the 2011 FIA Production World Rally Championship title, with the Belgian Symtech Subaru Rally Team, and first place in the T1 category at the latest Dakar in South America,” noted Massimo Trentin.<br /> <br /> Luca Meneghetti at EvoCorse added, “We look forward to meeting all the key persons at PRI in December. It will be the best opportunity to make the first real contact with the American market, which opens us to a wide number of new possibilities for expansion.” <br /> <br /> Race Star’s wheels are used in the NMRA Super Stang Class. “We have a lightweight cast wheel that can be used on the street or drag strip at an affordable price,” Davis said. “It lets the average guy buy an affordable set of wheels to run his car at the drag strip that won’t set him back an arm and a leg. This invites more people into the racing hobby to enjoy.” <br /> <br /> Last October, Race Star came out with its new design, the 94 Super Star. “It has more of a honeycomb design and is available in the polished aluminum and a PVD black chrome effect. We will soon be adding to the line a new wheel for the Ford Lightning pickup, and long term are working on a double beadlock race wheel and a larger front runner for the new 2013 Mustang GT500,” Davis explained.<br /> <br /> Bart Wheels makes product for all weekend racer classes, from mini stock to Late Models, both dirt and asphalt, according to Clement. “This year, Bart Wheels has redesigned our beadlock kit, but not any of our actual wheels. And material has pretty much stayed the same over the years in steel wheels.”<br /> <br /> D-Force Wheels in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, builds private label wheels for many different companies as well as its own line, so it’s in many levels of competition. “Our new forged lineup is light, strong and super low cost,” explained Tom Merrifield. “Surprisingly affordable, these allow a whole new realm of possibility for racers looking for value. We want to offer the best possible value for forged and flow formed wheels.” <br /> <br /> Jongbloed Racing is involved with various series. “We finalized a deal with SCCA Enterprises to become the spec wheel for its FE Class,” Dettling said. “We are the spec wheel for a new SCCA SF Region Spec Mustang Class, and we are also involved in multiple contingency award programs with NASA, SCCA, Formula F1000 Sportscar Series, and the CTCC Series in Canada.<br /> <br /> “We have several new products to meet customer demands,” he continued. “Our new 18-inch Flow Formed wheel is currently being used in the Spec Mustang series. We offer our forged 13-inch onepiece wheels in varying widths, and a new 13-inch cast wheel line will soon debut in the Spec Miata class. We are venturing into bigger sizes, 20- to 22-inch diameters for exotic cars.” <br /> <br /> BBS of America in Braselton, Georgia, has been making three-piece race wheels for over 40 years, “and they are still an important part of our program today. One-piece wheels are finding more opportunities in certain areas,” Craig Donnelly said.<br /> <br /> “We have expanded the use of some cast flow/formed wheels for certain race classes,” he added. “This technology is used for our OEM and high-end aftermarket cast wheels and allows us to provide certain factory race programs with a cost-effective, high-performance wheel. Forged one-piece (monoblocs) in aluminum are now more common, and we still offer forged magnesium wheels as the highest level technology.”<br /> <br /> BBS continues to evolve its products, Donnelly reported. “We have reduced the spoke count on some applications while still maintaining stiffness. Extensive back milling operations continue to show good results in the performance of our newer designs,” he said.<br /> <br /> BBS is involved in almost every type of road racing, according to Donnelly, including F1, IndyCar, ALMS, GRAND-AM, World Challenge, Porsche Cup, Ferrari Challenge, Formula Mazda and SCCA.<br /> <br /> Real Racing Wheels in Independence, Iowa, continues to expand and cater to new markets and individual customer needs. “After 21 years in the wheel business, we still get calls for wheels we’ve never made,” said Troy Boubin. “Most of the time if their application requires an 8-, 10-, 13-, 15- or 16-inch diameter aluminum wheel, we build it.” <br /> <br /> Real Racing Wheels also carries a line of 15- by 7-inch and 15- by 8-inch steel wheels. “Our steel wheel sales have been strong the last couple years,” he added.<br /> <br /> “Our primary market has always been dirt circle track, but we’ve built wheels for road racers, truck and tractor pullers, mud racers and autocross racers,” Boubin added, as they seek to enter new markets.<br /> <br /> Race Tire Roundup <br /> <br /> Hoosier Racing Tire is involved in many series and classes, including asphalt and dirt late model, modifieds, sprint cars (dirt and asphalt), road racing, drag racing, karting, quarter midgets—“from mighty to mini, we have it all,” Saunders said.<br /> <br /> Recently, Hoosier released several new road racing and karting products as well as dirt products for open competition. “We have an agreement with the World of Outlaws, and we are the sole tire supplier for the sprint car series this year,” Saunders explained.<br /> <br /> He added, “We’re always broadening our horizons, getting into new markets, and we work very hard to try and keep the best product out there for all the competitors we can. And we’re always very cost conscious and try to keep the costs down, yet give racers a good, competitive product they can run week in and week out.<br /> <br /> “Repeatability is very important, and when different types of chemicals come in, we analyze them, and they have a certain standard they have to meet or else we just don’t use them,” Saunders continued. <br /> <br /> American Racer (a Race Tires America brand) in Indiana, Pennsylvania, participates in short track racing. “Our footprint is global in all hemispheres,” Scott Junod said. “If we don’t make a particular tire for a particular class of race car, we can. This company was built on its flexibility and ability to meet customers’ needs whatever the racing application.”<br /> <br /> Product development is ongoing at Race Tires America, Junod noted. “The technology available to the racer changes constantly. That means that our company must continue to adapt to those advancements that affect performance of the racing tire. So at any given time we have projects on the drawing board and at testing stages, all designed to meet the needs of our customers and potential customers,” he said.<br /> <br /> Coker Tire in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is involved in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the Southern Outlaw Tour, according to Harret Markham.<br /> <br /> A distributor for M&H Race Tires, Coker’s newest offering is M&H 13.0/33.3– 16, Coker’s part number MVD-010. “This is an extra stiff, four-ply tire, uses our #8 soft/medium compound, and was developed for the nostalgia top fuel market,” Markham explained. “The tire has also been used in the Outlaw racing scene as it’s very similar in technology to an Outlaw 10. 5 tire, but has more tread width and overall stiffness.<br /> <br /> “M&H Race Tires has a product for practically all drag race markets—import, street, radial, vintage, outlaw, bracket racing, etc.,” she added.<br /> <br /> Currently, Coker is working on negative camber drag radials.<br /> <br /> The Proxes competition passenger car tires from Toyo Tires, Cypress California, are the official tires of NASA and The Cadillac Challenge for road racing, and they are also popular in time attack, according to Stan Chen. “The tires include Proxes RS1 race slicks, Proxes RR40- treadwear DOT competition tires, and the 100-treadwear Proxes R888 and Proxes RA1 R-compound tires,” said Chen.<br /> <br /> “Proxes TQ drag radials are also available for the weekend racer,” Chen added. “In off-road racing, products such as our Open Country M/T –R compete on both short courses and in the desert. The Toyo Tires brand has won stages of the Dakar rally, two SCORE International Overall Championships, the top two overall spots in this year’s Baja 500 and the overall in the Baja 1000.” <br /> <br /> The Toyo Proxes RR is the company’s newest competition tire. “It has a symmetrical two-groove tread design and special tread compound to provide a maximum contact patch and ultimate dry traction with superior cornering force,” Chen explained. “It comes off the shelf in race-ready condition with a 4/32nds depth tread and wear inspection holes— no shaving required. A sidewall marking area is designed with the racer in mind, allowing for easy labeling.”

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