WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Wheels are vital pieces on the race cars of International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) members.
When it comes to choosing quality wheels that will withstand the the extreme forces put on it upon launch, it can be a tough decision when it comes time to purchase new wheels.
We sit down with IHRA contingency partner Wade Huisman, President and CEO of Keizer Wheels, as he explains how Keizer got its start and the process it takes to manufacture quality drag racing wheels.
Q: How did Keizer Wheels get started?
Wade Huisman: In 1997, I took Keizer wheels on a journey from a garage shop to the factory we are today. At the age of 18, I started drilling holes and spinning metal by hand. Today, we boost over 20 CNC machines and utilize some of the top spinning equipment in the nation to produce our wheels. Our factory is over 45,000 square feet of fully air-conditioned work space. Our workers are second to none as we strive to create the world’s best racing wheels at an affordable price.
Q: Keizer Wheels makes some of the nicest drag racing wheels on the market, what helps set those wheels apart from the competitors?
Wade Huisman: I would say our location. It sounds funny but our upper Midwest location gives us a great advantage up on the completion. Here in Northwest Iowa, we can find great skilled workers, affordable land and building, a central shipping location and all expenses don’t seem to overrun with nonsense. So, all around, we feel we have a leg up on the competition who may be located in large cities or others who are located on the coasts.
Q: With many IHRA members thinking about purchasing new wheels for their cars, what are some of the main reasons why an IHRA member should try Keizer Wheels?
Wade Huisman: Cost is a big reason. Keizer wheels can give you the same SFI-approved wheels that probably beat the competition in weight and strength at a better price point. So, why pay more for less? We look at what some of these big-name brand companies sell their stuff in the big-name brand catalogs and wonder how or why someone would pay double.
Q: How much testing is involved when you develop new wheels before they are released to the public?
Wade Huisman: There is a lot of design time in the wheels. We know from building wheels for 20-plus years, the ballpark design restraints.
From there, we utilize FEA testing. It is a computerized way we can see how the wheel will work under heavy loads even before we produce the first cut. This allows us to make small corrections to the design before final product prototypes.
Even though we have a very good feel for the wheel’s strength, we still go to physical testing before production begins. We have a few testing labs that specialize in wheel testing in the US assist us with our destructive testing.
With our drag race wheels, we look to meet all SFI certification that our customers may need. We also do full destructive testing to see what the absolute values a given wheel can take. From this point, with test certificates in hand we are ready for full production.
Q: What are some new items that are being developed that IHRA racers can take advantage of?
Wade Huisman: We have been making drag wheels for a long time. Really 20 years, but over the past 12 months, we have done a complete revamp that line giving everything a new look, more center options, forged one-piece fronts and have also added Junior Dragster wheels to the mix.
For more information about Keizer Wheels visit their website at Keizerwheels.com, visit their Facebook page here or call 712-737-3053 to purchase some of the finest drag racing wheels on the market.