In Pomona, California in the late 1970s Mike VanK realized a growing market for go-kart racing wheels, which led him to purchase a spinning lathe to start spinning aluminum wheel halves.
Over the next several years VanK Engineering grew to become a leading karting wheel manufacturer in the United States, and in 1985 Mike VanK sold the business to Jeff Davis.
Davis developed the business further and moved to a new location in Anaheim Hills, Calif. During his ownership, Davis hired a college kid named Brian Bass to work part time.
While Brian Bass was attending Cal Poly Pomona, majoring in Aerospace and mechanical engineering, he was working at VanK. During shifts, Bass and another part-timer would hold competitions to see who could spin more wheel halves.
After Brian’s college days he took a more active management roll in VanK Engineering and also took on the job as crew chief for boss, Jeff Davis. That team spent time racing in shifter karts, Formula Mazda, Toyota Atlantic, Winston West and even some Winston Cup racing in the late 1990’s.
VanK Engineering was sold to Circle Wheels in 2000 and moved the business to their location in Cerritos, California. During this time, Brian Bass moved to North Carolina and spent time working for a number of Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams as a race team engineer and shock / set-up specialist.
While Brian was working in the NASCAR industry, Mike VanK had the opportunity to buy VanK Engineering and once again get his hands dirty in the business he had started years ago.
In 2006 VanK moved the business from San Bernardino, California to Denver, North Carolina, to be closer to where most of the VanK business took place.
In 2010, Mike VanK and Brian Bass (with wife, Natalie) entered into the sale of VanK Engineering. Once the sale was final, the company was renamed to Van-K Wheels.
Now, with Brian leading the company there are many possibilities ahead for wheels and beyond. In 2016 the Basses moved their growing company to a brand-new facility in Troutman, N.C., where Van-K continues to operate today.
Networking at major karting races and tradeshows, along with continuous conversations with the racer, chassis manufacturers and tire specialists, has once again solidified Van-K as a leader in aluminum kart wheels.
Aside from speedway dirt-oval karting, Van-K is a leading manufacturer of 5-inch wheels for 4-cycle sprint road course karting and quarter-midget (.25 midget) racing.
We also produce a wide range of different sizes of non-machined wheels, for everything from karts and quarter-midgets to racing lawnmowers to mini-cup cars!