ROBERT HIGHT DRIVES NEW DELTA-1 ONE PIECE WHEEL TO PROVISIONAL NO. 1
Funny Car driver Robert Hight admits he couldn't feel the difference from the rear wheels he ran on Friday at the NHRA Winternationals, to the set he ran last November at the NHRA AAA Finals.
The difference, he said, clearly shows in the performance.
Hight is racing at the NHRA Winternationals, with the brand new one-piece Delta-1 wheel from Weld Wheels, the first Funny Car racer to do so.
During Friday qualifying, Hight drove his way to the provisional No. 1 with a 3.871 elapsed time at 329.67 miles per hour.
"It’s by far the strongest, safest wheel out there," Hight said. "Weld did a great job when they decided to make a forged one-piece wheel. The older wheels that we run, you have to really keep an eye on the hardware and the bolt holes in the center, you know they oblong. The Delta-1 is a little different though. It has less air volume in it, so it changes the spring rate of the tire. But it’s all a matter of just working it out and figuring it out."
Hight was also the top runner at the recently-completed PRO Winter Warm-up test session in Phoenix, Az. His 3.871 elapsed time represented the only Funny Car in the 3.80s.
"We won’t know what we've got here until we get into some hot, hot racetracks if it’s better/worse/the same," Hight explained. "It probably distorts less on a run. Don’t know what any of that means or what it does but strength is always better. And it doesn’t hurt that they might be a little lighter."
Vic Wood, Senior Director of Sales for Weld Racing, said the Delta-1 has been in Top Fuel, Pro Stock, and Pro Modified, but until it was on Hight's vehicle, it had never been in the Funny Car division.
"We’re working with Jimmy Prock down at JFR and couldn’t get a better guy to work with," Wood explained. "Tim Wilkerson’s working with it as well. We’re really excited about it at Weld. It’s a wheel machined out of one big piece of aluminum, an aluminum forging — all one piece, very safe. No bolts, nothing. Just machined out of one piece of aluminum.
"No bolts to break, no centers to crack, nothing. It’s just a very special wheel, and I’m sure you’ve seen it, Dave Grubnic used it last year with Clay Millican in Top Fuel. We’re really excited about it. Big development for us."
The Funny Car design is slightly different than the one used by Millican last season.
"It’s got drive lugs on the back of it that match up with the lugs on the axle in the fuel cars," Wood explained. "So it’s same type of wheel, just slightly different in the way it connects to the vehicle."