With an array of high-quality circle track driveline products available, racers often turn to their local, knowledgeable retailer for expert setup advice, which can obviously make or break race results.
“Racers want the same thing, which is also the most important to them: turning weight and repeat tolerances with less twisting of the axles,” said Barry Wright from Barry Wright Race Cars, Cowpens, South Carolina. “The main issues in the past have had to deal with products breaking and warping (where they get out of round). The manufacturers used in the cars we build have certainly resolved the problems, and I would say I don’t hear other teams having these issues anymore.”
Most of Wright’s customers heed his recommendations. “We do a lot of testing and have a lot of service out in the field,” said Wright. “We also have input from axle manufacturers. Overall, it’s best to get information from people that have the knowledge. Get information from those you can, and use what you know. Instinct and intuition are always important.”
Consider the many aspects related to oval track product selection: vehicle class, vehicle weight, engine power, tire size, track length and even track surface. “At Motive Gear, we make every effort to educate and inform our dealers using training manuals, instructional emails, video tutorials and even personal training classes,” said Eric Filar of the Chicago, Illinois-based manufacturer. “If there’s a drivetrain package or question our customer isn’t sure about, we have a very knowledgeable and experienced staff manning the tech lines and ready with answers.”
Understanding the sanctioning body or rules package your customer is racing under is a very important part of building a performance driveline, so you don’t sell the customer products that they aren’t allowed to run—and you also need to understand the customer’s budget. “Once you understand those two things,” said Ryan Disterheft from Motor State Distributing, Watervliet, Michigan, “you can start building a driveline that will offer the customer the best performance. When weight is a factor, you can get them the most performance per dollar by reducing the weight of the parts in the driveline that have the largest physical diameter and turn at the highest rpm. These items have the highest MOI (moment of inertia). Once you reduce the MOI, you can think about reducing friction throughout the driveline.”
In addition to identifying customers’ requirements, Marshall Fegers from QA1 in Lakeville, Minnesota, noted that retailers should know the power output of the car’s engine, specifically torque output. “It’s at this point the retailer should be able to identify which size universal joints are appropriate,” he said. “From there, a pinion yoke with the appropriate universal joint sizing can be selected. Once the driveline is installed in the car, the car can be measured for a driveshaft. QA1 has all of the common dirt late model driveshaft lengths stocked and ready to ship. If the length doesn’t match up with one of these lengths, a custom order form is filled out, and a new shaft is built and delivered in a short amount of time.”
Lastly, retailers are advised to offer products from reputable manufacturers with a strong track record of delivering reliable products. Reps must offer excellent customer service and support, which will save time and energy. “Educate the customer that ‘you get what you pay for,’” said Jeff Neal from Quarter Master, Lake Zurich, Illinois. “If you buy low-cost products, you could be compromising safety, reliability and overall driveline performance. If you’re racing a dirt late model, putting 800 horsepower through the driveline, it won’t be long before you find the weak link.”