The 25: Speed Rain Darkness Damage Glory GoRacingTV.com’s Documentary of NASA’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill Krider Racing, a team that drove its way to success in crap-can racing with both the 24 Hours of LeMons and ChumpCar $500 racecar events, graduated to National Auto Sport Association (NASA) races and competed in the Western Endurance Racing Championship (WERC). The team applied their tried-and-true formula from racing beaters and went on to earn the 2010 E3 Championship title in the WERC series. Cameras followed the team to NASA’s headline-year-ending event, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. With narration by “RacerBoy” Rob Krider and production from GoRacingTV.com this gritty documentary came to life about what it was like to “Survive the 25.”
Tag - NASA
You already have a car with a rollcage and you finally got your competition license. The only problem now is you’re totally broke from installing the rollcage and paying to go to driving school. With limited funds, how are you going to race? Simple, split the operating costs with a few friends and go endurance racing. With endurance racing, you and your friends will each get more than enough seat time and you can all share the
burden fun of working on the car and paying for tires.
I’m not going to blow smoke up your anus here. Racing is expensive, and endurance racing is hours and hours of expensive racing which means fuel, brake pads, rotors and tires will be destroyed in abundance. But I’ve found that the best way to keep the costs reasonable is to spread it out amongst a team effort. In a previous Racer Boy we covered how much it costs to set up a car for racing in NASA’s Performance Touring Series, in this article we will concentrate on the endurance racing side. Performance Touring cars (PTA, PTB, PTC, PTD, PTE, PTF) fall right into NASA’s endurance classing (ESR, ES, EO, E1, E2, E3).
The major cost of racing is the ante (the initial investment of the car, safety equipment, etc.). But once all of that is sitting in your garage (keeping your wife’s car outside in the driveway) the race-to-race operating costs aren’t that bad. As long as you don’t stuff the front of your car into the back of another (resulting in some major repair costs), all you have to do to keep the car on the track is replace renewable items (tires and brakes). A harder compound tire (Toyo versus a Hoosier) won’t be as fast but it will last longer and Carbotech makes an endurance racing brake pad that lasts three times as long as their other pads. Using equipment that has longer life span and splitting those costs up between two or three drivers really makes things manageable.
The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) runs the longest closed course endurance road race in the world, The 25 Hours of Thunderhill, which makes them the endurance experts. ChumpCar and The 24 Hours of LeMons are other sanctioning bodies that provide inexpensive forms of endurance racing (and have been covered in previous Racer Boy columns). For this column we will focus on “the show” and that is racing alongside the pros with NASA, who orchestrate the Western Endurance Racing Championship (WERC).
Racing with NASA is fast paced. The multi-class racing makes every lap exciting because you have faster cars always passing slower cars. There is no breathing room, there is no cruising for a few laps and getting your focus back, your focus has to be 100% for the entire race. Inevitably someone is always in your mirror or you are overtaking another car. One small mistake and you are sitting in the paddock wondering why your radiator and windshield are in the same place. And if that kind of non-stop action doesn’t do it for you, eventually the sun sets and you have to race at night. Night racing can be summed up with one word: scary.
At night you can’t see the track for squat. And everyone’s headlights and auxiliary lights are so bright that you can’t tell if the car behind you is right on your bumper (about to pass you) or if it is seven car lengths back (so you should run your line through the next corner). Simply put, it’s harrowing.
Cars occasionally die in road racing. Cars certainly up their risk level in endurance racing. The amount of traffic, rain, night racing, multiple drivers (multiple skill levels) all increase the chance that your racecar may come back from a race as scrap metal. The trick to keeping your car alive is to understand that endurance racing is all about enduring. Let the other guys run way too hard and stuff their car into a tire wall. You play it safe, save the equipment and at the end of the race you may still have a car to run, and hopefully a new trophy to sit on a shelf and collect dust.
Call all of your friends. I mean all of them. Even that guy Bruce that you had nap time with in kindergarten. Endurance racing is a team effort and it takes an entire team to be successful. You need friends to fuel the car, to spot on the radio, to keep track of mileage, to change tires, and to make sandwiches. It’s always smart to have a girl in the pits who is good at massages to loosen you up when you climb out of the car after a triple stint behind the wheel (Well, I say it’s smart if you’re single, if you’re married and you found your ex-girlfriend on Facebook and had her come out to the track to give you a massage, you can kiss the race team goodbye when your wife makes you sell the car in the divorce).
The biggest difference between sprint racing and endurance racing is pit stops. There are tons of rules when it comes to fueling cars and changing tires (you can’t do them at the same time in most classes). If you want to be successful you need to become an expert on all of the rules (NASA Endurance Racing Rules are here). While learning those rules you’ll realize that you have to outfit your crew (you know, Bruce, from nap time) with the proper equipment. NASA won’t let Bruce stand in a pair of flip flops and shorts with a cigarette in his mouth while he fuels your racecar. He has to be completely covered in Nomex with a helmet (equal safety equipment as the driver). You can get all the crew gear you need pretty cheap at I/O Port Racing Supplies.
The length of the race will orchestrate how many driver swaps and fuel stops you need to make. Any time wasted in the pits trying to get your seatbelts on is time lost out on the track where you could be making a pass for position. We lost a three hour race this year by 15 seconds (I still lie in bed at night thinking about that damn 15 seconds).
We raced the entire season of the Western Endurance Racing Championship this year with NASA. Teams in the first race, who were complete strangers to us, we are now on a first name basis with and consider to be close friends (Team Jagermeister, did you get my Christmas card?). The endurance racing community is a close knit group who have battled and shared a lot. I remember climbing out of the racecar after an epic night battle with a guy in a Miata. The best part of the event was having a beer with the dude after the race and talking about our sparring, turn-by-turn, all of the crap we pulled on each other (he tried a late inside move on me and we touched, I got him back on the straight and then put two wheels off on purpose to kick dirt up in front of him on the track, which will blind a driver at night –its all in fun). The endurance racing folks go above and beyond to help one another out in the pits with tools, parts or advice. Once the green flag drops, those friendships are over. When the checker falls, we are all friends again. It’s a great time.
Winning an endurance race is awesome because you get to share it with your friends. Trust me, you didn’t with the race. Your team won the race by everyone working together. The races are so long and hard, and there are so many competitors going for it, that there is an incredible amount of satisfaction that comes from actually winning an event. And racing hard all year long and actually managing to win a championship; that is awesome.
OH, YOU WANT TO WIN, DO YA?
The first thing to know about endurance racing is you need to be able to see to go fast. We made the mistake of going cheap on lights one time and it cost us a win. We will never make that mistake again. The bigger and brighter the lights, the better. However, big lights cause big strain on an electrical system and you may find yourself in the pits changing an alternator in the middle of the race. You have to find the right balance of lights and longevity in order to be successful.
If you just want to win one race then I’ll tell you to go for broke and go like hell. If you want to win a championship then you need to think about the big picture all year long and grab every point that you can earn. You may find yourself taking a conservative strategy that only results in a second place finish for one race, but if you can do that over and over again all year long, odds are you will be the one with the championship trophy. Running an entire season is a real commitment, not only for you and your car partners but your friend Bruce too. Travel, fuel, food, all of those costs have to be considered when going after a championship. You have to make every event. In the 2010 NASA Western Endurance Racing Championship there were no drops. Every race counted, and the finale at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill was a double points race.
So with all of that on the line, you need to keep your friends happy. Standing at the pit wall and screaming at them because they forgot to check the torque on the lugs will probably guarantee that they won’t come back to the next event. That means you will be torquing your own lug nuts. Be a nice guy, and you will have a nice crew. Be an asshat and you will be jumping out of the car and fueling it yourself –that’s no way to have a fast pit stop! And it is definitely not the road toward a championship.
RACER BOY GAUGE
Let’s review the Racer Boy gauge cluster here:
FUEL (Cost): The fuel gauge is less than a quarter tank because lets face it you are going to burn a lot of fuel in a 3, 6 or 25 hour race. This is expensive racing but sharing the costs as you share the driving duties will help keep things so you will at least have enough cash after the race to hit the dollar menu at Taco Bell.
RPMs (Adrenaline): The tachometer is at 6,800 RPMs because this is awesome door-to-door racing. Mix in a little darkness for night racing and it can give you a heart attack.
MPH (Danger): The speedometer is at 123 miles per hour because you will probably be going that fast. And if you aren’t, someone in a faster class will be, and they will be passing you while you’re only going 112. That makes things still 123 miles per hour dangerous for both of you.
VOLTS (Time): The volts gauge is less than a quarter full because this sort of racing takes an enormous amount of time. A lot of that time is spent tracking down your friends on Facebook to see if they want to drive six hours to put gas in your car. Bruce? Where are you? Napping again?
MILEAGE (Car Wear): The mileage is at 150,000 miles because this racing is very hard on cars. Endurance racing breaks stuff on cars you didn’t even know existed. Welds will break, bolts you never saw before will loosen over time. We should all feel very sorry for any car that lives its life at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
Road racing with NASA has been some of the best racing action I have ever experienced. Adding the endurance aspect to it and doing it side-by-side with my friends made it even better. During the 25 Hours of Thunderhill we ran alongside World Challenge Champions Peter Cunningham and Lawson Aschenbach, driving a Honda factory effort. It was awesome to get the chance to rub fenders with these accomplished drivers. If you have the chance, grab your buds and find the longest race you can. Find out if you can endure. See you at Thunderhill!
For the 25 Hours of Thunderhill GoRacingTV.com shipped a bunch of HD Cameras to the Krider Racing crew to film their adventures in the number 33 Nissan Sentra SE-R at the race. The team took hours of footage and the editors at GoRacingTV.com are currently busy putting together a feature episode of the event. In the meantime, GoRacingTV is running a new web series called The Insiders Report which features Randy Pobst (World Challenge Champion), Peter Keane (Daytona 24 Hour Crew Chief), Bill Wood (Motorsports commentator) and GoRacingTV’s founder, Errol Tucker. The weekly show has inside information on pro and amateur motorsports as well as features expert opinions and insight from the people deep in the motor racing field. The first episode talks about NASA’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Check out the links below: Episode 1 (25 Hours of Thunderhill, Travis Pastrana in NASCAR, Grand-Am Testing) Episode 2 (Ken Block Gymkhana, Trans-Am Schedule, Daytona Testing) Episode 3 (Rally Cross, Rally Car, Audi R-18, Trans-Am, K-Pax Racing) Episode 4 (SCCA, Grand-Am, Formula Drift, Dakar Rally) Look for future episodes of The Insiders Report each week on GoRacingTV.com and stay tuned for the Speed:Sport:Life feature episode from Thunderhill.
The Krider/Kramer Racing Speed:Sport:Life E3 Class entry finished second in the 6 hour race (first portion of the 25 hour race), clinching the Western Endurance Racing Championship series for 2010. The team went on for the full 25 hours in the longest road race in the world to finish 31st overall out of 78 teams and 12th in class (after being in two major crashes from overtaking faster cars). Check out what the team did to endure the 25. Photo by GotBlueMilk.com Photography. The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Mothers and the United States Air Force was the toughest event the team has ever endured. Before the race the team and the car look great. After the race the team still looks great, the car, not so much. But the little Nissan SE-R SR20DE motor with Jim Wolf Technology parts never quit. Steve Kuhtz built his “fall out shelter” race control on pit wall with heaters and wind blocks to try to stay warm in dry on a cold and wet December weekend. Drivers Keith Kramer, Rob Krider and Dave Schotz drove error free for 25 hours while Crew Chief Steve Kuhtz stayed awake for the entire event keeping things running like clock work. The real story of the event had nothing to do with the drivers (who disappeared into their motor homes to sleep during the event) but everything to do with the Krider Racing pit crew who worked hard before the race and all through the night repairing the car after it was hit twice in Thunderhill’s harrowing and fast turn 8. Craig Rohning stayed up most of Thursday night getting the car ready for qualifying on Friday (had Craig not arrived when he did the car absolutely would not have been ready to race 25 hours). Simeon Gracy drove all over the Bay Area picking up parts for the car. Bay Ex Delivery Service ran parts directly up to the track for us Friday night before the race started, one of them being a very important new exhaust built by Napa Valley Muffler because the Nissan was over on the track’s sound meter. Dan “Gadget” Bordeau scored the team some new lower controls arms at the last minute and stayed up most of Friday night getting those installed. AJ Gracy and Stephen Young from Performance In-Frame Tuning, arrived fresh on Saturday morning to help keep the Nissan running. Their mechanical knowledge was tested at hour 6 when a fast ES Class car drilled the 33 car in Turn 8. This impact spun the car around and then tore the front bumper off along with some very important lights needed for night racing. The incident was determined to be the other car’s fault by NASA. This was mostly in part to the team’s spotters at the event. Randy Krider, Tim Persico and Joel Schotz manned the tower near turn 10 for 25 hours straight keeping an eye in the sky and keeping the team out of trouble. The crew did an outstanding job of changing tires (drys to wets, wets to drys, over and over again as the weather changed) as well as getting on a new set of Carbotech RP2 compound brake pads and fresh rotors. The Prospeed RS683 brake fluid from I/O Port Racing Supplies was phenomenal during the event and never faltered. Art Cortez and the Kramer Family kept food warm and ready for the crew to eat at any time through the night. The graveyard crew was Rob Diehl, Tim Jackley and Swain Mason (along with the hard chargers Craig Rohning, Stephen Young, AJ Gracy and Randy Krider who only took small naps during the weekend, sometimes while still sitting in the pits). At 4 a.m. an ESR Class car, a very fast Radical (actually the fastest car in the event), hit the left rear corner of the 33 car hard in turn 8 (again with turn 8). The impact bent the rear control arms. The team brought the sister car (the red 38 Nissan SE-R) to the event just in case something like this happened. They scavenged the parts off of it to get the 33 car back on track fast. The fiberglass hood started coming apart (thanks to the first impact in the event). Tim Jackley (who could always find stuff the team needed by cruising around the pits and socializing) scored a Honda fender (the color even matched). Gadget cut it apart and made an enormous hood pin backing plate to get the team out on track quick. After the clock went around once, plus one more hour, the 33 car was still going around the track and finished solid under green. The team celebrated at the trackside wall. The crew worked hard, endured some ugly weather and tough repairs but made it happen for the team. After Keith Kramer took the checker, the 33 car came in, missing some parts, but still going strong after 25 hours. The team relaxed and enjoyed some much deserved Dos Equis after the event. Nobody was in the mood to pack up. This feat could not have been accomplished without the help of the team’s sponsors and friends. The team won the 2010 NASA E3 Class Western Endurance Racing Championship and survived the longest closed course road race in the world. The pit crew never had a single penalty for spilling fuel or rules violations during the entire 2010 racing season (an unbelievable statistic in NASA endurance racing). Honda Performance Development/Realtime Acura ran in the E3 class against Speed:Sport:Life. Realtime spilled gas during their first pit stop of the 25 hour and were held to a five minute penalty (they also rolled their car over within the first four hours of the race). When you think about how many championships Realtime has won and what kind of series they run in, the fact that the Krider Racing crew bested them is very impressive. The Krider/Kramer Speed:Sport:Life number 33 Nissan Sentra was sponsored by Kuhtz Diehl Insurance and Financial Services, I/O Port Racing Supplies, Prospeed RS683, Hoosier Tires, America’s Tire in Clovis, Carbotech Brake Pads, Nissan Motorsports, Performance In-Frame Tuning, T.E.M. Machine Shop, Figstone Graphics, ST Suspensions, Circuit Sports, G Spec Performance, Bay Ex, Napa Valley Muffler, B&G Tires, Miracle Auto Body and Paint, C.J. Fix Co., Napa Valley Transmissions, Economy Stock Feed, J&B Farms, Bottler’s Unlimited, SGear Crenate electronic stepping motor gauges and Jim Wolf Technology. A huge thank you also needs to go out to NASA and the safety crew at Thunderhill. Great work!
The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Mothers is coming up quick with only a few more days for teams to prepare. The race kicks off at 11:00 a.m. on December 4th, goes 25 grueling hours around the clock, and the checker falls at 12:00 p.m. on December 5th. Speed:Sport:Life will be there covering the event (while also competing in the E3 class in the number 33 Krider/Kramer Racing Nissan Sentra). Check out a few things our team has done to try to get ready for the lengthy road race that is one solid hour longer than the world famous 24 Heures du Mans. Photo by Vanhap Motorsports Photography. NASA’s 25 Hours of Thunderhill presented by Mothers and the United States Air Force is hard on teams. It’s hard on cars, it’s hard on brakes, it’s hard on every single component. So to make sure our components survive 25 hours of racing we decided to fortify a few things. We upgraded our brake pads to Carbotech’s RP2 Compound (their newest endurance compound). We tested them in a three hour event at Buttonwillow and only burned through 1/5th of the pad thickness, which means we should be able to go over 12 hours with one set of pads. We will only need to change pads once during the 25 hour race. And since we will only be changing pads once, that means our brake fluid has to last 12 hours under heavy racing conditions without having the system bled. I/O Port Racing Supplies hooked us up with one of their new distributed products Prospeed RS683. This fluid has non-compressible properties to keep the pedal stiff during extreme braking temperatures. How extreme, how about 683 degrees Fahrenheit? At our last event we had some trouble with fuel pressure (but were slow to recognize the problem because we didn’t have a fuel pressure guage). The guys at Phase2Motortrend set us up with a fuel pressure gauge (and a few other extras for the Nissan) with some SGear Crenate electronic stepping motor gauges. Figstone Graphics not only did all of the graphics for our Nissan but they also created this cool sign that gets affixed to the pit wall so NASA officials know which pit stall belongs to which team. The back of this poster board sign has adhesive so we just have to peel and stick it to the wall. That is it, we are set, making our team look much more professional than we are in actuality. And speaking of looking professional, Nissan Motorsports hooked us up big time by supplying sweatshirts and beanies for the entire crew. This was enormously helpful due to the fact that NASA is requiring all teams to have uniforms in the pits. The gear will also keep our team warm in the extreme cold weather we will surely be facing at Thunderhill Raceway Park. Another addition we have for the crew for this race is a new rollaway Rubbermaid tool box. We were encouraged to use this lightweight, tough box from the Leadfoot Rally guys (who have Encyclopedias worth of motorsports knowledge so I listen when they suggest stuff). This box is easy to move around in the pits and isn’t too heavy for our car trailer. We were even smart enough to label where all the tools are so when the “fit hits the shan” nobody wearing a Nissan Motorsports sweatshirt will be running around the pits screaming, “Where is the 19 millimeter socket!?” We’re still fine tuning a few things and doing some pit stop practice. Our crew has done a great job for us all year and is ready show everyone they’re the fastest on pit road for 25 hours straight. Besides blogging about the race here at Speed:Sport:Life we will be filming an episode for GoRacingTV.com. See you folks the first weekend of December and thanks also to our sponsors for their help all year Jim Wolf Technology, Hoosier Tires, America’s Tire in Clovis, Carbotech Brake Pads, I/O Port Racing Supplies, Prospeed RS683, Nissan Motorsports, Performance In-Frame Tuning, T.E.M. Machine Shop, Figstone Graphics, ST Suspensions, Atomic Speedware, Circuit Sports, SGear, G Spec Performance, Bay Ex, Napa Valley Muffler, B&G Tires, Miracle Auto Body and Paint, Napa Valley Transmissions, Economy Stock Feed, J&B Farms, Bottlers Unlimited, and Kuhtz Diehl Insurance and Financial Services.
The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Western Endurance Racing Championship (WERC) is a grueling endurance racing series encompassing six rounds of competition at different tracks for multiple classes (everything from prototypes to Miatas). With five rounds in the history books for 2010 Speed:Sport:Life/Krider Racing is leading the E3 class championship points. Photo by Vanhap Motorsports Photography. Photo by Travis Kramer The real credit for the team’s championship point lead goes to the pit crew. NASA has officials walking the pit lane that watch each pit stop and they are very serious about safety (for good reason). If a single drop of gasoline hits the ground during a pit stop it is a mandatory five minute penalty, that kind of idle time could destroy a teams championship hopes. The Krider Racing pit crew has done an absolute phenomenal job all year with zero penalties, quick driver changes, great spotting and outstanding car preparation. The crew’s fantastic effort has been what really separated the 33 car from the twenty-one other teams that have been also racing in the E3 class this year. Photo by Travis Kramer These guys (and gals) really deserve the credit for the team’s success: AJ Gracy, Nick Brown, Simeon Gracy, Andy Bai, Art Cortez, Rod Kramer, Jim Krider, Darrel Price, Randy Krider, Anna Kaufmann, Steve Kuhtz, Gus Krider, Travis Kramer, Dave Nees, Derek Hawkinson, Sara Krider, Judy Kramer, Pat Rodriguez, Raf Calvan, Danielle Calvan and Stan Lowrey. Photo by Head-On Photos. The championship fight has not been without its intense on-tack battles. Both drivers (Keith Kramer/Rob Krider) have had to duel in the darkness, fender to fender, for hours at a time to keep the car in the lead. Here is some of the ongoing coverage of the 2010 series as the racing season unfolded: Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Photo by Head-On Photos. Besides the crew, the teams sponsors have also helped the 33 car gain such a large championship points lead: Hoosier Tires, Jim Wolf Technology, America’s Tire in Clovis, Carbotech Brake Pads, I/O Port Racing Supplies, Nissan Motorsports, Performance In-Frame Tuning, T.E.M. Machine Shop, Figstone Graphics, ST Suspensions, Atomic Speedware, Circuit Sports, G Spec Performance, Bay Ex, Napa Valley Muffler, B&G Tires, Miracle Auto Body and Paint, Napa Valley Transmissions, Bottlers Unlimited, Economy Stock Feed, J&B Farms, and Kuhtz Diehl Insurance and Financial Services. Photo by Vanhap Motorsports Photography. The final round (a six hour double points race) of NASA’s 2010 Western Endurance Racing Championship series will be at Thunderhill in December in conjunction with the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Speed:Sport:Life will be there.