The new year is upon us and we have been to several races already. Granted, we had to go to a better climate to find the races, but they were worth it. We have also been putting the finishing touches on numerous Kryderacing activities planned for 2002.
For Reed, it was mostly work (assuming you can call driving a race car work). Approximately two weeks working at Homestead Speedway. For Sandi, it was mostly vacation. Stuff like sun-bathing around the pool, sight-seeing, walking, and related stuff. But there was a lot more to the trip.
The trip started on January 10th with the first scheduled stop being Daytona and the offices of Grand-Am. After renewing our memberships, we visited with several officials and old friends. Then it was on to Dave and Michelle Deen’s place in Palm City FL. Dave has an RX-7 he has raced for several years with Kryderacing emblazoned across the hood and he has been a co-driver with us in a past Rolex 24 at Daytona event. Their racing team is fondly called Marquirita Motorsports. The hospitality was great with a delicious fish dinner and, of course, numerous marquiritas both with dinner and later on while we enjoyed their hot-tub.
The next day we headed for Moroso Motorsports Park. A SCCA National was being held. We saw several competitors from “up north” who had obviously decided Florida sunshine was preferable to Ohio snow. When combined with all of your friends who now live in Florida, it seemed as if we were back at a regular hangout rather then a track Sandi had never seen and Reed had not been to in over twenty years. We especially want to thank Rod and Mary Whelan for their hospitality at dinner. We also want to thank Frank DelVecchio for providing a bed in his motorhome. Frank was at the track “coaching” a Ferrari driver and his offer saved us the effort of searching for a room.
Sunday was a beautiful day for racing. Dave and Michelle brought their motorhome along with some “refreshments“. Dan Minkler (past GT5 National Champion, Kryderacing client, and our attorney) joined us. Rod Whelan was busy all day officiating while Mary took care of their motorhome and visitors. As far as the racing is concerned, we don’t remember everything, but we think Frank’s Ferrari driver finished second in the T1 class. Amy Ruman was challenging for the lead in GT1 when her transmission broke. Her sister had a good race in the Spec Racer class but we don’t remember where she finished. Dave Roush easily cruised to a win in T2 with his new Camaro. Bottom line - it was fun to spectate for a change, especially when you know some of the competitors. At the end of the day we headed to Florida City.
For the next couple of weeks Reed sweated at the track each day while Sandi lounged at the pool. We did get one day to ourselves and used it to explore the Everglades National Park. Seeing alligators and crocodiles in captivity is one thing, being close enough to touch them in the wild is another experience. At the end of that particular day we had dinner at an old favorite, the Pasta Factory. We started going there by accident years ago when Reed was driving in the Miami Grand Prix. It was an instant hit with the entire crew. Everyone we have ever taken there has returned on their own at future dates.
The end of the work at Homestead and the start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona meshed perfectly. Readers of these newsletters are aware of our “derailed” efforts to actually run in this year’s race. Most of the crew decided not to change their travel plans. Besides, maybe a last-minute opportunity might arise. It almost did. Reed and Frank DelVecchio almost ended up driving a SRP class car. The car was a back-up to one already qualified. Kryderacing was ready to supply a large portion of the crew. Two foreign drivers were negotiating with the car owner, It didn’t happen, but Frank says it was real close. Everyone ended up spectating.
Reed almost had a second opportunity to drive. While passing through the garage area on the way out of the track Saturday night, he and Sandi stopped to watch electrical repairs being made on a AGT Corvette. The car owner has been a friend of ours for many years and while talking with him we discovered two of his drivers had left. (We did not inquire as to why.) He was down to himself and another driver (also a longtime Kryderacing friend). After a couple minutes discussion we arrived at a plan. Reed would go to the hotel to get some sleep. If the car was still running in the morning he would be added to the driver line-up. Unfortunately the engine expired around 4 am.
We did spend some time talking with many friends concerning a variety of subjects. Among them were:
* Will the L/R concept ever happen with Grand Am. It seems the possibility still exists but it is not high on the priority list.
* We have been looking at the possibility of running a car in the Grand Am Cup Series and talked with several competitors. We followed these discussions up with a request to Grand Am to reinstate the Nissan 240SX (we just happen to have one sitting in the shop) into the same class it ran last year. We were told it no longer fits the class profile. We understand, but it was still disappointing.
* We had several discussions with Kenny Brown regarding his attempts to get a Kenny Brown edition Mustang approved for Grand Am competition. Kenny had just had some meetings with Grand Am and said it is going to happen, in more than one class. He is looking for people interested in buying and racing the cars. Kenny expressed a desire to have Kryderacing maintain and campaign one of these cars. We are looking for the right client to mesh with this program.
* We talked with Spencer Geswein and Brian Smith, winners of the last two One Lap of America events. They are not sure whether they are returning this year. John Bender and Reed plan on giving them some competition if they do return.
* We had not seen Lew Bakes since the last time we took one of his cars to a West Coast event. He has been driving in the Ferrari Challenge series the past couple of years and did well enough finished Third in the series last year. Participation in 2002 is currently unknown.
Following the race’s conclusion on Sunday we started for home. When we arrived late Monday, the temperature was cold, the ground was covered with snow, and the pile of mail was gigantic. But our own bed sure felt nice.
OBSERVATION and OPINION
We have been around racing for a long time and seen many changes. One change has been the move towards a “Series” being more important than a “Race”. There are many good reasons for this, but sometimes it may not be the better idea. For example, we are still living with the results of CART trying to make the Indianapolis 500 an “equal part of the CART series”. On the SCCA Club Racing level many there are many classes and races which succeed on a local or individual track level but fail when expansion into the national championship program is tried. We also believe that professional sports car racing organizations are making a big mistake in how they “encourage” competitors to run the entire series. This “encouragement” usually comes in two forms. The first is a monetary inducement to run multiple events (lately this item seems to have shifted towards monetary penalties if you don’t sign on to run all of the events). The second is by writing the car construction rules such that the cars are not eligible anywhere else, especially at the amateur levels.
Different solutions are needed for different organizations. If CART is going to rebuild itself it is going to have to do it in the backbone of its strong individual events. One SCCA solution was when they recognized the Road America June Sprints was not your typical SCCA National and made it part of their Triple Crown (event win, Divisional Champion, and Run-Offs winner).
The big pro level sports car races, such as Daytona and Sebring, will always draw entries. But the belief their entrants will stay and support a series never seems to be work as well as hoped. The need for consistency in entrants (for TV and press coverage if nothing else) is important. But entry levels at many races would improve if local competitors were encouraged to enter by having compatible vehicle preparation rules and not penalizing a “one-off” entrant from the standpoint of entry fees or prize money. Kryderacing has been a “series” participant frequently over the years, but we got our professional start as a “one-off” entrant. So did a lot of other professionals.
* Bill Pintaric’s GT4 class Datsun 510 is getting a fresh engine, several new suspension pieces, and a long list of minor improvements for the upcoming Northeast Division National season. Both Nelson Ledges and both Mid-Ohio events are on his calendar. One or two others may be added as he prepares to return to the Run-Offs for a second year.
* The Nissan NX2000 which several people rent from Kryderacing for SCCA Regional and Driver School events is receiving some minor preparation. It was already to go at the last race in 2001 when the client had to cancel. Its first appearance will probably be at a car show promoting the SCCA, Mahoning Valley Region, and Nelson Ledges Road Course.
* With regards to converting our Nissan 240SX from Showroom Stock into something else, we spent a lot of effort trying to decide what class would best fit our clients needs. We finally decided to make it fit the Improved Touring S rules initially. We are also going to try and get it approved for E-Production for a later conversion.
* Another 240SX just left the shop. Mike Gerst has acquired a past national championship car and converted from SSB to ITS. It should be a strong car.
* Russ Wilson’s Corvette ZR-1 is getting some work done on it in preparation for 2002 track events. We may be doing something different (similar to One Lap) with it but the final decision has yet to be made.
* The Kryderacing designed and built Nissan 240SX tube-frame car is being rebuilt for vintage race participation. We hope to have it ready for the June Mid-Ohio SVRA event. It will be rebodied from the current to its original 240SX shell. We hope we can find all the parts.
Speaking of parts. We have a giant collection of parts from all these years of racing and a we find a lot of them difficult to throw away. If you need a wing, brake piece, lights, pit equipment, Nissan component, you might give us a call or e-mail us specific need. It would take us a year to list everything so don’t bother asking for such a list.
KRYDERACING REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES at NELSON LEDGES
It is hard for us to believe, but this will be the 20th Anniversary for the series. It all started in Track Manager John McGill’s kitchen a long time ago. The schedule will be finalized in the next couple of weeks and 2002 looks as if it could be the best year ever for the series. The total number of competitors, the average number of entrants at an event, and the number of banquet attendees have all steadily and continually increased over the past several years. More info will be in the next newsletter.
1-LAP of AMERICA
Reed will be teaming again with John Bender in his Corvette Z06. The event is scheduled to start May 3rd in Rochester, NY. This year we will travel over 5300 miles and compete at IRP (road course and drags), Tulsa (dirt oval), Continental Divide Raceway, Sandia Motorsports Park, Texas World Speedway, Road Atlanta, Summit Point, and Lancaster Dragway. It should be a lot of fun.
Kryderacing Test at Nelson Ledges
We have made arrangements to use the Nelson Ledges Road Course for some pre-season testing in early April. We did this last year for several of our clients and it was a big success. If you have been a past client and would like to participate or receive some coaching assistance, give us a call.
2002 will again see Kryderacing as the official SCCA A-Sedan Baer Brake System representatives. We will be at key National races with assemblies and parts. Baer has also come up with a hub made from 7075 aluminum. This hub should stand up to the heavy A-Sedan cars in racing situations better the stock hubs.