Steering pump creator: Ken Roper

Steering pump creator: Ken Roper

By Fergus Ogilvy: The annual PRI exhibition in Indianapolis provides valuable time to catch up with old friends. It also offers particularly good opportunities to tap into the productive minds of our industry’s designers and problem solvers. You’ll see their familiar faces peak out from their booths among the surge of racers in the corridors. I’m particularly interested in those whose work is not always predictable—those who tend to ignore boundaries, odd ducks often given to the unexpected. Some have sunny dispositions while others can be dour or aloof. Some are self-absorbed, some chronic complainers and a few irascible. But all are characterized by a keen sense of observation, ingenuity and persistence. Their products are brilliantly conceived—some just sitting there quietly on a show table hitherto unseen and unheralded—ready to rise from obscurity. “Look,” says Ken Roper, with youthful enthusiasm, “this 10-rib pulley belt system transforms the Dirt Late Model’s durability.” These cars, as we know, operate in thick dust and dirt and this example had run 1,500 laps on a Super Late  Model. “It looks immaculate—have you encountered better?” A retrospective of Roper’s work always fascinates. In 1985 at age 33, the father of a 14-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter, Roper had served the telephone company Southern Bell and AT&T for 15 years when an ultimatum came: move to Miami. But Southern boys with dirt track racing settled in their minds have a deep attachment to home turf and little interest in moving from the domain they know. So instead he accepted his $18,000 severance compensation and developed his first company, Fast Lane Racing Equipment. Based in Woodstock,...
Pedal Performance

Pedal Performance

Enthusiasts with manual transmissions might know whether their clutch release mechanism is operated by cable or by a hydraulic bearing. But if it’s the latter it’s unlikely they could tell whether the bearing operates in constant contact with the clutch fingers or intermittently—that is, operating only when the clutch pedal is depressed. More interestingly, what would lead a manufacturer of high performance hydraulic clutch bearings to adopt one style over the other? Read Ram’s article on the proper way to install hydraulic bearings (courtesy of Fastest Street Car). Ram also provides an excellent video of understanding factory clutch hydraulics in late model vehicles – view the video...
Tech tips for steering in the right direction

Tech tips for steering in the right direction

If you aspire to own or build a great rod or replica, don’t take the positioning or the proportions of the steering column assembly for granted. A number of variables are involved in creating a comfortable setup, including the cockpit shape and seat location, particularly seat back tilt and cushion height, as well as steering wheel design. The rim’s diameter, and whether in dished or flat form, along with human proportions, all come into play. Read ididit’s story on what to consider before ordering and installing a steering column (courtesy of ReinCarnation...
Ian Tocher takes tough decision for better prospects

Ian Tocher takes tough decision for better prospects

By Martha Maglone: Ian Tocher’s total recovery from severe injury was blighted when infection penetrated his injured left leg in mid-October. Two weeks and four days ago he took the decision to go prosthetic and have it amputated below the knee.  “The lower leg was beyond repair and I’m going to have a better quality of life with a prosthetic,” said Ian this morning. His infection stalled a promising recovery and brought the situation to a head. Bacteria, apparently, was residing in the hardware, the titanium rod and fasteners, and to address the problem all the hardware had to be removed. His orthopedic surgeon confirmed the matter, saying that the bacteria had migrated from the screw threads and penetrated his bones, causing them further deterioration. Under no illusions, his stark prospects were either a series of bone grafts, involving multiply invasive surgeries—which might or might not leave the leg strong enough to support him—or a prosthetic limb. “We’d reached the point where the prosthetic limb was the most sensible option,” Ian commented. “It was a point of relief. I’d been handicapped by 15 pounds of dead weight down there, which was physically taxing. And in the New Year I’ll have my prosthetic and I’ll be walking again, attending the races and playing hockey again.” I’m the goalie and goalies are irrepressible!” Ian Tocher, who is Drag Illustrated’s senior reporter / photographer, was struck by Ronnie Davis’s Corvette when it crashed during a qualifying run at Rockingham on April 10,...
New Idea, New Price: Steering news for short-track racers

New Idea, New Price: Steering news for short-track racers

By Archie Bosman: Did you know most hydraulic racing and high-performance power steering pumps are rebuilt street car pumps and that electric steering is regarded as the single worst attribute of the modern road-going car? Lack of consistent feel and listlessness on-center are its common criticisms. When Porsche was asked why they use such an abomination, their sources reported that its advantage is fuel saving—a free tank of fuel every 40,000 miles. Maybe so, but would anyone care? Thankfully, KRC the Kennesaw, Georgia, power steering specialist, didn’t pretend to be treading virgin territory in  earlier times, but now they probably stand alone. Le Mans 24-hour endurance race winners and NASCAR teams are among their highest profile proponents. What is new, though, is their Elite series power steering pump. Based on their Pro Series III, the Elite shares many of its best properties, including 9 flow adjustments that allow drivers to adapt steering feel to their preference. Also, the Elite features sealed bearings—an upgrade from the standard bushings found in competing power steering pumps. But most important is its price: PN# ESP 10096000 Elite Series Pump $299.98 PN# ESP 10096100 Elite Series Pump with bolt-on aluminum tank $399.98 Considering a Pro Series III or the new Elite Series? Click here for a list of the features of each. For more information contact an Authorized KRC Power Steering Pump Distributor or visit www.KRCPower.com Meet KRC founder Ken Roper and his team at the PRI exhibition Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, Dec 8-10, Booth...
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