Winter has definitely made its presence known around our shop this year. It has been several years since we have seen snow stay on the ground for so long a period of time. There was a time when this was the quiet time of the racing year. Banquets and bench racing were as close as most of us got to a track during the winter months. Race cars, if they were lucky, sat in a warm building and were being prepped for the upcoming season. If they were unlucky, they sat on the trailer in the driveway, still wearing the battle scars from the last race of the season. Some of that past remains. But in 2001, the racing season has already begun for Kryderacing.
Several local SCCA Regions hold their annual banquets after the holidays. This year we attended the NEOhio and Mahoning Valley affairs. It was great to visit with numerous friends and enjoy some of the bench racing referred to above. The two evenings are different, but both are a lot of fun. The NEOhio Region is large, the banquet is well attended, a lot of awards are handed out, and the evening ends with some dancing. The Mahoning Valley Region is only a fifth of the size, the banquet is more intimate, several special people are honored, and a speaker brings some insights to their type of racing. Long-time friend Bob Ruman was the Mahoning Valley Region speaker this year and he gave everyone a race-by-race summary of his 2000 Trans Am season. Bob has run the Trans Am for several years now. In 2000 he experienced some of his best, and worse, races. For example, extremes for street races included a trip to the podium at Long Beach on the plus side. On the negative side, he crashed in the first turn of the first lap at Detroit. The ups and downs of his season may have been frustrating for Bob, but they provided good material for an entertaining talk.
Reed and Sandi are members of the Mahoning Valley Region. Reed was Regional Executive a couple of times a long time ago, but traveling activities have kept him somewhat inactive since then. Not so for Sandi. Somehow she finds the time to serve as Treasurer, Chair several races, work registration, assemble and mail a newsletter (during periods when no one else volunteers to be editor), put together the annual banquet, and pitch in whenever anyone needs a hand. She has been honored for her activities several times and this year she was awarded "Worker of the Year".
ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
Once again Kryderacing participated in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. We have run our own cars in this event about a dozen times. This was the second time we managed a team for someone else. Unfortunately our participation ended on Friday evening when the garages closed.
Reed was in California which left Matt & Sandi to handle things at the race shop and the track. It was pretty much a given that Matt & Sandi would be going to Daytona. The unknown was whether they would be working the race or spectating. Their on/off again situation seemed to change like the weather. Finally, two weeks before the race a decision was made by Jacob’s Motorsports to enter a Kudzu Chevy in the race. This is the same car we worked with last year at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Preparation began in earnest on the Kudzu Chevy.
On January 17 we took the engine heads to be freshened up. The next six days were spent inspecting and prepping the car. On January 25 we got the heads back and started assembling the car. Work continued through the weekend until the car was loaded and the trailer finally locked at 7:30pm on Sunday the 28th. Matt, Donny & Bill missed most of the Super Bowl.
The majority of Monday was spent relaxing in various vehicle seats while everyone was traveling to Daytona. On Tuesday morning Sandi dropped Matt off at Roebling Road where he joined our other crew guys (Bill Seibold, Tim Walton, Dick Wade & Bob Haines, Don Brooks) as they assisted a Motorola Cup team, Phoenix Racing, with a test day. Sandi continued on to Daytona. She wanted to get to warm, sunny Florida. Afterall, Ohio is cold in January. Sandi arrived at Daytona and was thrilled to see the sun. As an added bonus she was able to get the truck/trailer into the staging area for the much anticipated garage parking on Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday, January 31 she woke up to rain (a sign of things to come). The rest of the crew had arrived and everyone headed for the track. They wanted to be there by 7:30 so they could get into the garage early. Well, five hours later Sandi finally was able to get the truck/trailer into the garage area. Seems Jacobs Motorsports had made a last minute decision to enter a newly acquired Lola-Ford in place of the Kudzu-Chevy. He also had acquired a Riley&Scott and both vehicles were transported into the garage in the Jacobs Motorsports rig. The problem this created was that Sandi could not get our rig into the garage area since Grand-Am rules allow only those rigs into the (very crowded) garage area which contain cars entered in the race. However, all support equipment such as tools, pit cart etc. were in the Kryderacing trailer. Sandi would like to give a HUGE thanks to Mark Raffauf and Tom Seabolt for finding her a place to park.
Mike Jacobs had decided his new Lola-Ford and Riley&Scott had a better chance of making the race. He had run the Lola at test days shortly after acquiring it. An engine problem developed at the test, but was solved before the race. The first our crew laid eyes on the cars was when they were unloaded from the Jacobs Motorsports transporter. The R&S was not quite together (no belts, wiring harness, mirrors, missing sensors, etc.), but the Lola-Ford was basically ready to go. It was decided by three of the four drivers, Jim Webb, Trevor Hilliar, and Frank DelVecchio, plus our crew that it would be best to concentrate on a single car rather than two. As mentioned, this was the first time we had seen these cars, and we had come to Daytona with crew enough for only a single vehicle. The Lola-Ford was the logical choice since it was already assembled. It wasn‘t long before tech inspection was behind us and we were concentrating on the first practice session (scheduled for Thursday morning).
Thursday morning was dry, but much cooler. The Lola-Ford went out for the first session. All four drivers got some initial seat-time in the car. Although these early times were slow, things were looking good. Then it started raining. We went to put on the rain tires only to discover that the wheels lugs on the right side of the car won’t come off. There was a short practice session just before qualifying, and it was over before we were able to get the wheels changed. Due to the rain, the qualifying sessions were combined. When we went out for qualifying we weren‘t fast, but then, it was raining. The real problem was the car kept getting slower ever lap. After qualifying, we had the personnel from EFI, STACK, and LOLA climbing all over the car. What was wrong? Why did the car get slower each lap? The EFI people did find a bad voltage regulator. Great! We thought we were ready for night practice. Unfortunately, the car was still slow. Following the night practice, everyone swarmed over the car. A problem with the throttle position sensor was detected. We started the car up and it sounded great. Actually it sounded much better than it had in the last two days. We buttoned up the car and organized the garage area before the designated closing time of 9:00pm. Everyone was optimistic about the Lola-Ford.
Just prior to night practice, car owner Mike Jacobs had Black Forest Racing come and pick up the R&S. Mike still wanted to run the car. We didn’t have the available manpower, but Black Forest Racing was there with a vintage program and felt they could get the car together after their vintage obligations were completed. They were going to try to put it together for the race in exchange for some seat-time.
Guess what, Friday was still rainy and the temperatures were even cooler. It felt like we had all been transported back to Ohio in the middle of the night. We had only one practice session before final qualifying. Mike had decided that he will drive the R&S if it gets together and arranged for another driver, Toyota Atlantic hot shoe Will Langhorne, to drive the Lola-Ford. We fired up the Kudzu and it didn‘t sound good. We couldn’t find any reason for the change from the previous evening. Will went out for qualifying in what was another combined session. The car was down on power and won’t rev up. Qualifying did not go well. Turns out our best qualifying time was from the day before in the rain. We still have an outside chance to make the big show. But only if we could get out in practice and show that we were able to correct the problem and turn a respectable time. If we could do that, then MAYBE the officials would let us start the race. Well, needless to say we did not have enough time to locate the problem.
This is only the second time in Kryderacing history that they have been at Daytona with a car that failed to make the show. Even though there were quite a few others who also failed to qualify, it was still very disappointing. Our only consolation was we did get to sleep in a warm bed during the race.
Looking back on the weekend we have several thoughts. First, we may never find out what was wrong with the Lola-Ford. When last seen, it was being loaded into the Jacobs Transporter. This is frustrating. Kryderacing has always had a "never give up" attitude and even though the race started without the car, and our obligations to the car owner were completed, it still feels as if we have unfinished business with the car.
The second thought regards preparation of the three vehicles. While both new cars definitely were better vehicles than the Kudzu-Chevy, none of the vehicles were thoroughly prepped for the race. The Kudzu preparation was sufficient for a sprint race, but asking it to last 24 hours was a risk. The Lola appeared to be ready, but after eighteen months of storage it had several "bugs". These small problems were evident throughout the weekend and the team spent considerable time working on them. One of them may have been causing the engine problems. The Riley & Scott actually qualified and started the race, but it cracked it’s block early in the race. Without going into all the details, let’s just say the cause of this failure was directly related to rushed preparation. The car owner recognizes these problems and we hope he makes changes in the future.
And last but definitely not least:
"Thank you" to Matt Miller, Bill Seibold, Dick Wade, Tim Walton, Bob Haines,
Dave Deen & Don Brooks for all their help. We would also like to thank
Sam & Ron Moreck. Sam was originally going to crew, however, when Jim
Webb got injured while driving a Motorola Cup Mustang, he was pressed into
action as a driver. Louie & Dan (Trevor’s friends) also crewed and
were a big help. Unfortunately, we did not get their last names.
2001 KRYDERACING CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES AT NELSON LEDGES (Schedule)
May 5-6 Double Regional Steel Cities Region
June 16-17 Double Regional NEOhio Region
August 4-5 Double Regional Finger Lakes Region
August 18-19 Double Regional Mahoning Valley Region
October 20-21 Double Regional Mahoning Valley Region
October 27-28 Regional Western New York Region
November 17 Awards Banquet Colonial
We have lost one of the greats. When
Reed was Goodyear’s Group Leader for Stock Car Tire Development from 1982
through 1984, he worked with Dale at a lot of NASCAR events. During those
years Richard, Bobby and Cale were the established stars. Waltrip and Earnhardt
were the young lions. Waltrip was considered intelligent but his "jaws"
kept getting him in trouble. Earnhardt was sometimes referred to "ironhead",
and while his driving abilities were never questioned, his intelligence
often was suspect. What Reed remembers was someone who was so mentally
focused on what he was doing that he appeared ignorant of everything else
going on around him. But it was this focused intelligence which got him
to the top of his sport. Dale’s total concentration on his chosen profession
was at a level Reed remembers seeing in no one else, regardless of their
profession, at any time in his life. Dale was always Reed’s favorite NASCAR
driver after those years, partly because of his obvious driving skills,
but mostly because he admired his dedication.