Lightweight 360 Sprint Pistons
360 Sprint Racers are always fighting for more power, and JE Pistons has recently redesigned its 360 Sprint pistons to significantly cut weight and free up more power. JE's engineers scrapped the old fully skirted design for a more modern slipper skirt that not only reduces mass to the tune of 25 grams, but it also significantly cuts friction between the skirt and cylinder wall. The boxed design also brings the piston's pin towers inboard to shorten the length of the pins. Overall, the total weight savings comes to approximately 60 grams per piston.
Wiseco now has available a new series of pistons called the Thunderbolt line for select Brodix and All Pro cylinder heads in 410 Sprint Car engines. These pistons feature lateral gas ports and ring lands machined for GFX rings for great sealing. By designing the dome specifically for these heads, higher compression can be achieved while limiting weight.
K1 has long been known for its value-oriented crankshafts and connecting rods, but it has also been steadily adding very high-quality components to its lineup of engine components. The latest is a line of lightweight cranks for Chevy small-blocks. These cranks are forged from 4340 steel and come in a variety of stroke lengths from 3.350 to 4.00 inches. You can also have a choice of rod end sizes of 2.000 or 2.100 inches. The cranks are all fully machined on all surfaces and include undercut counterweights for lower overall weight. Knife edging on the leading edges of the counterweights should also help reduce windage in classes where this is allowed. The most popular option for stock car racing will probably be the 3.500-inch-stroke version with 2.100 rod journals; we checked and it weighs in at just 43 pounds.
Everybody is playing the weight game these days, and we guess every little bit helps. Of course, with Racing Electronics' newly introduced Titanium Series in-car communication wiring, you get a lot of benefits on top of a few ounces of weight savings. The Titanium Series is highlighted by a new proprietary wire. It's a lightweight, triple shielded wire that has an abrasion-resistant Teflon jacket for ultimate protection. There's also an upgraded quick-disconnect system, a low-profile pressure switch push-to-talk, and even the connectors have been made smaller to cut weight. Best of all, it's all made in the USA.
Pay Attention to the Small Things
Every year we are surprised by at least one product we find at the trade shows and how it can be used to improve a racing program—and this year it was definitely Big C's Dino-Lite Digital Microscope. The microscope hooks up to a computer through a standard USB port, and Big C also includes all the necessary software to record and save either photos or even video. There are several different options available with prices starting under one hundred bucks, and magnifications range from 10x to 220x. The microscopes come with a built-in light and the clarity that they are capable of is quite surprising. We can see this becoming a great tool for engine builders who want to document such things as bearing wear, cylinder bore crosshatch wear, or even cracks between rebuilds. A good diagnostic tool like this can prove valuable in any number of ways.
We found this bad boy radio controlled car sitting in the Out-Pace booth. The cool Modified body is custom made by a company called Barts Parts and we're told versions are available to fit most common hobby-grade RC car chassis.