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Tools to Race By

Possible Lead Image 1 - Chris McDill photo

PHOTO BY CHRIS MCDILL

These simple additions to your tool box can make life much easier

By Ben Shelton

Etheridge Race Parts not only sells race parts, but the owners are also racers themselves. Owned and operated by the father-and-son duo of Ronnie and Rodney Etheridge, the company has grown from a part-time hobby into a successful, full-time business.

“When we started this deal, it was just to provide basic parts and accessories to racers in our area,” Rodney remembers. “We would just take a few containers of extra items to the track with us in our race hauler. It wasn’t anything just massive at the beginning, so it’s pretty crazy to see how big our little operation has grown to be.”

Impact Gun

From their humble beginning in 2001, the company has now grown by leaps and bounds to offer thousands of parts to racers in all types of motorsports. They offer customers the option to purchase supplies from their storefront in Tuscaloosa, Alabama,  online at EtheridgeRaceParts.com, or they also still sell products out of their race hauler at the track.

Because of their hands-on approach to racing, the team has a firm grasp of what tools can be the most beneficial to a race team, while at the same time not breaking the bank

OneDirt recently caught up with Rodney Etheridge to pick his brain on his favorite tools to have at both the shop and at the track. Not only did he give us five good selections, but he also filled us in the details that make each one a must-have for your own team.

“In the day and time that we now race in, scales are a must,” Etheridge says. “Whether you are at the shop or at the track, you can roll your car up on the scales and quickly pinpoint an issue with your setup.”

Etheridge says Longacre’s AccuSet scales are one of his most popular items.

Longacre Scales

Longacre Scales

“The AccuSet scales from Longacre are easy to use and cost-effective with plenty of options,” Etheridge notes. “They are available in wired and wireless options — based upon your preference, needs, and budget — and pricing starts at $1,045.”

The next hidden gem he says is a must-have for any team is the Longacre Cordless Impact Gun.

“This one pretty much speaks for itself,” Etheridge shares with a grin. “You don’t have a cord getting in your way, and you don’t have to worry about having electricity to be able to use it. Usually, the charge on a single battery lasts the entire race night. Best of all, you can use this thing for everything from lug nuts to changing bars to a wide variety of other uses.”

The impact gun features a ½-inch drive and is available with one or multiple batteries for extended use. Etheridge Race Parts offers the useful tool for as low as $249.99.

Speaking of lug nuts, we’ve all been there when changing a tire. Whether it be on your personal car on the way to the track, or on your racecar during a mid-race caution, we’ve all had that time when we desperately needed to remove the lug nuts, but the socket is being a pain. If it isn’t perfectly lined up with each lug nut, it just won’t go on.

Aero Wheels Rim Wrench

Aero Wheels Rim Wrench

Alas, Allstar Performance has stepped up to the plate to offer a frustration-saving tool.

“One of my hottest-selling items is the Allstar Performance Super Socket,” Etheridge comments. “This puppy is the real deal. It’s awesome for taking lug nuts on and off because it has a specially designed head that doesn’t require you to specifically line it up with the head of the nut. This is definitely one of those products that came about with the idea of making life easier.”

The engineered head allows for faster tire and wheel changes without the danger of jamming lug nuts. Etheridge Race Products sells the Super Socket for just $75.

Etheridge’s final two recommendations both involve tools that allow for easy repairs. Nobody wants to think about having to fix their race car, but let’s be honest, accidents happen. Fear not, as Etheridge Racing Products has just the tools to get you back on track.

“In dirt track racing, there’s no shortage of contact, whether it be with another racer or the wall,” Etheridge says. “Inevitably, you are going to bend a wheel. In the past, if you bent a wheel, it was just junk, but now Aero Race Wheels offers their Rim Wrench. It can be used to straighten the ends of steel wheels. If you bend the outer edge, you can straighten it without having to replace the wheel.”

This money-saving tool retails for a mere $20.99.

Cordless Riveter

Cordless Riveter

Last, but not least, it’s no big secret that body panels get bent and damaged. Sometimes, you need to remove them to either beat them out or replace them altogether. To reassemble the car, you need your old friend, the pop-rivet gun. Luckily, thanks to the Racing Rivets Cordless Rivet Tool, the days of hand rivets are over and done.

“Just like the Longacre Cordless Impact Gun, this tool is especially handy because you don’t need cords or electricity,” Etheridge states. “Also, since it’s battery powered, you don’t have to manually pop the rivets in with your hand. The Racing Rivets Cordless Rivet Tool is universal to all rivet types and is overall just a really handy device. We sell them for $269.99.”

While these are some of Etheridge’s favorite tools, he’s quick to note everybody has different needs.

“What makes our racing life easier might not be what the next guy is needing,” he says. “Whatever your need might be, odds are really good that we have exactly what you are seeking. So, the next time you’re in a bind, I recommend that you check out our website or give us a call. We’ll get your tool or part in the mail to you as soon as possible.”

Source: Etheridge Race Parts, etheridgeraceparts.com


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