After a strong 2018 season, Strange Oval found even more success during the 2019 season with a variety of products, including a new lightweight axle called “Itty Bitty” that has been used by numerous teams in both asphalt and dirt. In fact, the product visited victory lane at the Snowball Derby.
“This axle was on the winner for the Snowball Derby for an hour and a half, and it was also on the second-place car that ended up winning,” said Jeff Sandlin of Strange Oval. “It’s a 940 thousandths thick axle. In comparison, those axles are usually 1.2 inches in diameter. It’s significantly thinner and just as strong as the original big, behemoth of an axle. We just go smaller because we like the axle to twist up and wrap and it slows the tire down from breaking traction.”
Strange Oval is a branch-off from the Strange Engineering company that has been a household name among drag racers for years. Since Strange Oval started in 2012, the company has had axles on cars for stars like Jonathan Davenport, Brandon Sheppard, and Mat Williamson on dirt, as well as Bubba Pollard, Travis Braden, and Wayne Helliwell, Jr, on asphalt. It was drivers like them who inspired “itty bitty”.
“Guys knowing that they can have the faith in our stuff not breaking and how thin we can go. I’d say it was a motivator and to be honest, probably more so by Bubba Pollard than anybody that wanted to put a fire under our butt to see how creative we can get with axle diameters without breaking them.”
Knotje says it’s the relationships with the different drivers and teams that keep Strange Oval going.
“We really admire and value our relationships because our company methodology is to help the guys get faster. When we’re able to prove a point in our setups and our different combinations we would run from chassis to chassis, whether it’s a Port City or a Senneker, Pathfinder, we’re able to dial that in for the driver’s driving style and when they see it’s worth, in many cases, two-tenths of a second, now we have that driver’s interest as well as the crew chief’s. From that, when we pitch it and we tell them the value of what we can do for them, then to actually do it, you have customers that have great faith in you. As a result of that, you build relationships and have some good followers.”
For more information on Strange Oval, visit StrangeOval.com.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com.