Strange Oval was created by Strange Engineering as a dedicated oval track company with the same high quality and high performance passion that Strange Engineering is known for. At this year’s PRI Tradeshow, Strange Oval took center stage for the company by putting focus on their new KERA axles.
“The name KERA is short for Kleben Equal Response Axles. Hank Kleben, who works for us, is the gentleman that owns the patent for these axles,” explained Strange’s Jim Kontje.
To understand the equal response moniker, Kontje explained, “In oval track racing, the left axle and right axle will be different in length but the same diameter. When the differential is offset and one axle is longer than the other, one side has a lower twist rate than the other. Usually it’s the right side that is longer and it has the ability to twist more than the shorter one on the left side. What ends up happening under acceleration or deceleration, the left rear tire will see the power first because it doesn’t twist as much.”
The picture starts getting clearer when Kontje gave us this scenario, “On restart you’ll end up spinning your left rear on asphalt and on dirt it tends to make the car steer toward the wall.” Heading toward the wall is the last place a driver wants to be heading. To prevent that from happening, Strange Oval has come up with a simple but track proven method of correction. “We lower the left side diameter in size which equalizes the axle wrap at the same rate,” he said adding, “We can take the left side axle down in diameter even further to steer the car the direction we want it to go. The right side will see the power first when the left side diameter is smaller. This steers the front of the car to the left which is what the drivers want to help them corner.”
With a range of different diameter axles to work with, “We’re able to tune it depending on the track. Many of the dirt late model teams will bring three different sized diameter left rear axles so they can tune the chassis depending on what they want the car to do at each track. The axles become a tuning device, very much like tire stagger,” explained Kontje.
There is an added benefit of speed to this tuning process Kontje claimed, “The speed difference with axle response tuning means that you are able to lower tire stagger by about 2o percent. Lowering tire stagger means greater straightaway speed.”
Currently Strange Oval offers gun drilled axles for the Saturday night type racers and a solid axle for NASCAR type asphalt racing series when the rules mandate a solid axle.
For more information on the KERA oval axles, visit Strange Oval at Strange Oval.