RC Components Goes All-In With SFI 15.1 And 15.3 F5 Drive Wheels

As drag cars continue to produce more and more power, the need for strong, safe, and sexy SFI Foundation-approved wheels has skyrocketed. Now, RC Components is stepping into the game with its line of new SFI 15.1 and 15.3 one-piece, forged F5 series drive wheels designed specifically for high-horsepower drag applications.

Rick Ball, founder of the Bowling Green, Kentucky-based RC Components company, has been proudly pioneering performance wheel manufacturing for more than 30 years. From the motorcycle market to the upper echelons of doorslammer drag racing, Ball has grown the business while producing parts that don’t skimp on either form or function.

All of RC Component’s wheels have been SFI-approved for years, however, the introduction of its gorgeous new F5 series takes things to an even higher level. “These are true one-piece forged wheels – not weld-together or bolt-together wheels,” affirmed Ball. “They’re both stronger and lighter, so racers get ‘the win’ on both ends of the spectrum.”

Currently available in a 16×16-inch fitment with a 4- or 5-inch backspace option, the SFI 15.1 version is approved for NHRA Pro Stock, Top Sportsman, and Top Dragster use, while the SFI 15.3 wheel is approved for NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, and Pro Modified, and is likewise perfect for No Prep Kings and other high-horsepower cars.

Designed using state-of-the-art computer modeling techniques to run countless stress point simulations and finite analysis testing prior to production to eliminate potential weaknesses, the F5 series wheels were put through the wringer to ensure they exceeded all of the SFI testing requirements.

As a gearhead and a racer, I wanted to deliver a wheel that had the best quality for the best price. – Rick Ball, RC Components

The primary focus of the SFI Foundation, Inc.’s wheel testing, which “establishes uniform test procedures and minimum standards for evaluating and determining performance capabilities for Drag Race Drive Wheels used by individuals engaged in competitive motorsports,” is on strength to withstand lateral and twisting forces.

First, the wheels are subjected to a dynamic cornering fatigue test where the test load is specified at 1,700 foot-pounds and 30,000 cycles. Next, the dynamic radial fatigue test where a radial load of 2,000 pounds is placed upon the wheel and subjected to 400,000 cycles, and is followed by a deflection test in which the test machine shall has the capability of applying an increasing bending moment to the wheel while the angular deflection between the bolt circle plate and outer rim cylinder is being measured.

For the 15.1 SFI certification, the wheel must withstand 6,000 ft-lb, while for the 15.3 SFI certification, the wheel must withstand 12,000 ft-lb of pressure. “They bolt a 30-inch-long pipe to the hub and have a hydraulic press push on the hub area to try and break it, and every increment and data point of flex is recorded. Then they do a dye test at the end to check if there are any cracks,” Ball continued of the thorough, extensive SFI testing process. “They also check for things like making sure your bolts aren’t loose and the tire hasn’t lost more than a certain percentage of air pressure.”

Both RC Components’ 15.1 and 15.3 F5 series one-piece forged drive wheels passed their respective SFI tests with flying colors. Impressively, the 15.1 F5 wheel withstood a whopping 11,750 ft-pounds of force, nearly matching the minimum requirement for the 15.3 version.

“Normal rim bands have a .125-inch wall material, but we went with .140-inch to make our wheels stronger. It’s a little backwards thinking with drag racing, because lighter is always better…unless it breaks. And, we wanted to make sure our wheels wouldn’t break,” noted Ball, who prioritizes his racers’ safety. As such, Ball intentionally overengineered the F5 series to accommodate the extreme abuse the wheels will surely see under hard acceleration, and as more and more horsepower is applied to them over time. “We do offer a full titanium bolt kit for these wheels, too, and we run a deeper thread engagement than many other manufacturers.”

RC Components takes pride in providing a complete made-in-America product, from start to finish, and has amassed an impressive collection of state-of-the-art and high-end machining equipment, including the latest CNC machines and nine-axis mills and lathes.

After receiving the initial F5 wheel forgings from a supply house in California, the company completes each piece by turning and milling the designs in-house. “We do all of the polishing and anodizing here in-house, too, and follow up the anodizing with a high-grade, very light polish to bring out the luster of the finish,” Ball explained.

Additionally, the F5 series built-in beadlocks (also drilled and tapped in-house at RC’s Kentucky facility) mean racers don’t have to fret or fuss over whether the tire will slip on the rim as it hooks and traction takes over.


After the final assembly work has been completed, RC employs multiple quality control centers to give final approval before each wheel is packed up and shipped off to its lucky new owners.

Keeping the majority of the production process under one roof allows RC Components to deliver not only exceptional customer service but also exceptional lead times. Oftentimes, front wheels can be produced and shipped within a week, while the newer SFI drive wheels can be produced in as little as two weeks.

With introductory pricing set at a competitively affordable rate of just $2,995 per wheel for RC’s new F5 series forged, one-piece offerings, it certainly puts the wheels at an advantage over other popular brands which can cost nearly twice as much. However, the special rate will only be available for a limited time, as projected standard pricing will be in the $3,300-$3,500 range, so interested racers are encouraged to act quickly.

In addition to there aforementioned 4- and 5-inch backspace offerings, the F5 wheels can also be optioned with 5×4.5-, 5×4.75-, or 5×5-inch bolt patterns, in polished or Eclipse (black) finishes.

“As a gearhead and a racer, I wanted to deliver a wheel that had the best quality for the best price,” said Ball, whose F5 series gives racers more options than were previously available when selecting a set of drive wheels for their racecars. “We keep trying to push the envelope of what we’re doing, and we continue moving forward on that.”

Ball’s team intentionally designed the F5 line of wheels to be iconic yet classic in appearance, and so that they will pair perfectly with any of the company’s other six SFI-approved companion front wheels for a tailor-made, unique aesthetic.

“Street Outlaws” star, Jeff Lutz, had the honor of being the first to jump onboard by bolting on a set of RC Components’ F5 drive wheels to his No Prep Kings ride, while many other big names in the sport have already placed their orders, as well.

RC Components has also announced that it will be releasing a set of 16×18-inch F5 series drive wheels towards the end of summer. “We’ve done all our testing on those, and they will also be available in both SFI 15.1 and 15.3 versions,” Ball added of the larger wheels that should work well for the big tire crowd.

From a company started in his home-based garage and a line of drag race wheels originally inspired by a set he prototyped for his own Drag Week-style Corvette, Ball’s company has established itself as a major player in the performance wheel market over the years thanks to its commitment to quality and service. Now, RC Components has stepped up even further by going all-in with its new, one-piece forged SFI 15.1 and 15.3 F5 drive wheels.

About the author

Ainsley Jacobs

P.TEN Marketing's Ainsley Jacobs is a freelance motorsports marketing professional with extensive experience in marketing and communications, website development, social media management, photography, journalism, and more.
Read My Articles