Wheel failures are both costly and scary, but when they take car out of competition for several weeks it is almost devastating. This very thing happened to Ken Kurtz, NASA racer who’s LS-powered Firebird sustained heavy damage after a wheel gave out on him during a February race. After taking the time to assess the damage and make the necessary repairs, the wheel issue was still present. Burned by failure once, Kurtz needed to find a reliable product that was tested and designed to meet the demands of NASA racing. At this point Weld Racing stepped in to help Kurtz by sponsoring his Firebird and hooking him up with a set of their new RT-S wheels.
Weld Racing’s RT-S wheels are designed to handle to rigors of street driving and racing usage while keeping an individual’s budget in mind. These wheels feature Weld’s iconic 5-spoke star design that attracted quite a crowd at Kurtz’s return to competing in USTCC-GT at Thunderhill Raceway in northern California. Kurtz’s Firebird was also treated to a custom vehicle wrap designed by BDI in Forza 3 Motorsport thanks to his new sponsor, CVWRAPS.com. With the eye-catching combination of graphics and billet wheels, the Firebird looked amazing.
During the two day of racing at Thunderhill, Kurtz managed to take the USTCC-GT win on both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday Kurtz was plagued by a gremlin caused by the February crash, but thanks to the valiant efforts of his crew he was able to get the car on the grid with 10 minutes to spare. Unfortunately during the thrash session, the tire pressure was overlooked resulting in the Firebird handling erratically. This issue was corrected during a pit stop, but again another problem emerged during the stop; the gas cap was left loose allowing fuel to spill on the course resulting in a black flag. Despite the struggles early on Saturday, Kurtz’s pulled off a win on his first trip back to competition.
Sunday was beset by a rainstorm, which resulted in the morning practice being held during wet conditions. Kurtz took a gamble, electing not to participate in the practice session or setting his car up for rainy conditions; instead he stayed glued to the Doppler radar. A few showers dampened the course prior to qualifying, but by the time qualifying started the track was dry and Kurtz’s gamble paid off netting him the pole. In the end the grid position was selected by drawing random numbers and Kurtz ended up drawing number three. Kurtz pulled off another win, even after receiving a donut on the side of his Firebird. At the end of the event, Kurtz had won both races, was the overall winner and managed to have the fastest lap time by an estimated 4-5 seconds; not too shabby considering the car had been knocked out of competition in February and was running a new set wheels.
Along with the event wins, Kurtz was also recognized for having the best looking car and was rewarded with a plethora of auto detailing products from Mother’s. Kurtz was thankful for the assistance provided by his new sponsors, Weld Racing and CVWRAPS.com. There maybe a little touch-up work required after the rubbing received on Sunday during competition, but the Firebird will be back at the track ready to take on any contenders. During the season Kurtz, who is now a member of the Weld Racing field R&D team, will be testing a new rac- specific wheel; after the success with the RT-S wheels, it should be interesting to see the results with the new prototypes.