VOLUME 12, ISSUE 1                                                                                                FEBRUARY 15, 1999

The 1999 racing season is underway for Kryderacing. We have already participated in both the Daytona test session and the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The start of the new year has been very good.
On January 9-11 the Kryderacing team tested our tube-frame Nissan 240SX in preparation for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Reed Kryder and Christain Heinkele did the driving. Most of the testing was targeted at engine programming, cam profiles, spark plug comparisons, night lighting, brake evaluations, drive-shaft variations, and several other items. No suspension testing was planned and old tires were used. This proved to be very frustrating for the drivers, especially late in the testing. More on this later.
Several of the new and/or different parts we tested didn’t show any significant improvement. The comparison between the “83” and “93” compound brake pads demonstrated the superiority of Performance Friction’s “93”. This was very dramatic when we mixed pads by running “83” in the front and “93” in the rear. The results simulated a brake bias adjustment with too much rear. In other words, the rear brakes locked before the front. Drivers don’t like this condition.
One other negative test result involved some new, brighter lights. The size and shape of the lights meant we had to mount them outside of the bodywork. It was obvious very early that our brackets were not rigid enough. We also had serious concerns regarding aerodynamics and protection of the lights. We decided to go forward with the test to see just how much improvement in lighting we actually had and to make sure a couple of other small chassis changes we had made were going to be okay for testing the following day. We only ran three laps, mainly to confirm the chassis changes were okay. The lights were probably bright enough but the new Daytona lighting system negated the need for any vehicle lights. We do apologize to the BMW driver Reed approached and passed in the “bus stop” area. The wild bouncing of our lights combined with their brightness must have been very irritating. We decided to revert to our previous light set-up for the race.
The testing of various engine management programs was long overdue. While we had done a few comparisons in the past, this was the first time we did any extensive testing. We learned a lot. By the time we were done the car was 200 rpm faster than at any previous time. This was significant since the previous top speed was set the year we established our best lap time. It was also frustrating for the drivers since lap times were actually slow due to the old tires on the car slowing us down in the infield portion of the track. We left the track very satisfied and looking forward to the race weekend, and new tires.
Reed Kryder, Christain Heinkele, and Steve Ahlgrim made up the driving team this year. It was the first time we have run Daytona with only three drivers. All of them have run with Kryderacing before and the combination worked very well. The crew was also slightly different this year. Two of our long time and talented volunteers could not make it this year due to new jobs. Crew Chief Matt Miller was the only “over the wall” crew member with any extensive Kryderacing experience. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the crew consisted of rookies. Dick Wade, Mike Haller, Rod and Mary Whelan, and Tim Walton have been there with us before. Gary Martz, Joe Starkey, Don Brooks, and Dave Hammer all race and know what to do around a race car. Mark Rife brought Indy Car crew experience. And Jason Orberg and Bob Haines added significantly to the enthusiasm and mechanical expertise of the effort. This crew was one of the best we had ever assembled. And let’s not forget Sandi Kryder.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind she is the “boss” of the effort during the race itself. She took over this job several years ago and anyone who has ever participated in a race such as this will understand the importance of one person overseeing the multiple actions of such a large group of people during this grueling race. It is not easy and it takes a special person.
Practice and qualifying went okay but we were not as fast as we had hoped. The car developed a severe understeer problem compared to past races. We made improvements, but never totally eliminated the condition. Also, the first qualifying session is shortly after the first practice session. There is not a lot of time to work on problem solving or chassis adjustments. We put on a new set of Goodyear tires for the first qualifying session and Reed put the car in the show.. After that we concentrated on getting ready for the race and not setting lap records. Similar to the early January test session we spent most practice periods evaluating different items and not chasing problems. Some worked and some didn’t. By the start of the race the team and the car were ready.
The object in any 24 hour race is to “stay out of the pits and keep making laps”. But sometimes things break for no apparent reason. Slightly less than an hour into the race a rear control arm bolt broke. The bolt showed evidence of a crack, but it was not an old one. The bolt was easy to replace, but the resulting damage to the differential and other areas was extensive and took some time to repair. It also resulted in a couple of problems discovered later in the race. One typical example of this domino effect was discovering a few hours later we had no rear running lights due to the wiring being damaged.
When all the repairs were done Reed returned to the track, Christain followed, and then Steve took his turn to complete the first rotation. During the night Steve was hit and we lost a front rim and tire. Reed was also hit and we lost a rear half-shaft. As dawn approached the car was parked due to questions about the oil pressure and oil temperature. The gages were giving some strange readings and we felt it best to check the engine closely rather than just assume bad gages. Everything checked okay and Reed returned to the racetrack at daybreak. Christain took over and shortly afterwards we switched to rain tires. By the time it was Steve’s turn the track was drying and the crew put the drys back on. Naturally the rains returned and Steve got his first Daytona experience in the rain. He was initially tentative but quickly built confidence as he passed slower cars. Reed got back in for the finish. He also tried a switch to dry tires but once again Mother Nature had other plans. We finished the race on rains in the wet. The finish was interesting. All of the crews came out onto the tri-oval apron to honor the cars still running. It was a fantastic, albeit dangerous, happening, especially when the wet conditions are taken into consideration.
The Kryderacing Nissan 240SX finished 19th in class and 49th overall. There had been 78 starters. This was our twelfth Daytona 24-Hour race and the eighth for this chassis. It has six finishes in those eight starts. Every year we say we will bring a new car next year. Things are in the works for 2000. Hopefully, next year this car will run the 24 Minutes of Daytona (supporting vintage event) while we run something new in the Rolex.
After the race and loading of the equipment, the crew headed for their homes. Some ended up in motel rooms after only a few miles. Reed and Sandi headed for their hotel, showered, and met Steve and Christain for a last drink together. We talked about past successes and plans for next year. Christain then left for the airport and his flight to Brazil while the other three attempted to stay awake and watch the other major sporting attraction of the weekend: the Super Bowl commercials. We made it to halftime before going to our rooms for some long needed sleep.
A week after the race several of the crew members gathered at the Kryder house for a party. Everyone had a good time and after watching tapes of the race and listening to “war stories” some of the spouses have a better understanding of what goes on in Florida.
Looking back on this race leaves us with a good feeling and a major since of accomplishment. The recorded history of this race wouldn’t show Kryderacing with our best finish, fastest lap, or most trouble-free race. But this was a race which left us with positive attitudes about our preparation and methods of operation. The problems we experienced in this race, while numerous and time consuming, were minor in comparison to some past races. The people involved with the program will all be invited back. The lessons learned this year can easily be applied to future races and situations. And they will be.
The Daytona event was sanctioned by USRRC and the upcoming Sebring event will be sanctioned by PSCR. Kryderacing has a lot of friends in both organizations. Ever since the battle between the two started over a year ago there has been a lot of talk in the press about the death of professional sports car racing if the two fail to get together. I disagree, at least partially. For one thing, both groups appear healthier in 1999 than 1998. While there are numerous short-term problems for everyone involved, the long-term health of the sport may be worth the problems. Sports car racing has had turmoil and problems throughout its history. Having two separate groups attacking the current problems with different approaches may prove beneficial. I prefer this “survival of the fittest” approach over a quick solution (merger) and perhaps finding a few years later we picked the wrong solution.
I don’t have a favorite. I see strengths and weaknesses with each organization. They both have challenges and problems to overcome. And as long as they are separate the costs to Kryderacing will be higher than if there was only one group. I admit any merger in the near future will probably result in a stronger program than either currently offers. But if the both groups survive through these tough times, there may come a day when joining their strengths may result in a program stronger than the TOTAL of their separate efforts.
May 15-16 Steel Cities Region Double SCCA Regional
June 19-20 NEOhio Region Double SCCA Regional
August 21-22 Mahoning Valley Region SCCA Double Regional
October 23-24 Mahoning Valley Region SCCA Double Regional
October 30-31 Western New York Region SCCA Regional
November 20 Awards Banquet
We recently made a lot of changes to our phone system. Our new numbers are:
Business phone 330-854-4889
FAX 330-854-4672
Wireless #1 (Reed) 330-289-0473
Wireless #2 (Matt) 330-289-0536
The Kryderacing supplied Infiniti Q45 used as the Nelson Ledges Pace Car has a new pair of shoes. The Goodyear Eagle GS-C’s are being replaced with Goodyear Eagle F1. We were very happy with the performance of the GS-C tires and are looking forward to the F1’s.
We have made the decision not to run our Nissan 240SX in the Sebring 12-Hour race this year. This was a very difficult decision and we know we are going to disappoint a lot of our fans. The current car began life after its predecessor was totaled (while in second place with two hours to go) at Sebring in 1990. It finished Fifth in the 1991 IMSA GTU Championship Series (top non-factory car) and was rebodied in 1997. While it is quicker than it originally was, its 300+ HP is no longer competitive in a 400+ HP class. We will probably race it a few more times, but it is time to concentrate on the future. Reed and Sandi will be at Sebring on race related business. Reed would love to drive someone else’s car in 1999 and keep his Sebring string going.
Long-time Kryderacing crew member and friend Mary Whelan recently had knee surgery. She is doing well, but don’t try to reach her at home. Her and Rod recently moved out of their Indiatlantic oceanside condo and into their motorhome. It is only temporary until the new condo is finished. Meanwhile they are traveling all over the country - going to races of course.
8930 INDIAN HILL CIR NW ~~ CANAL FULTON, OH 44614-8860 ~~ 330-854-4889 ~~ 330-854-4672 FAX ~~