Rob Krider hosts the ?Club Racer? show on GoRacingTV.com which shows racers the ?how-to? for car prep.
Every racer has an ?off-season? to do list. It is usually those few items that didn?t get taken care of during the year because other matters were more pressing (like an engine throwing the piston out of the side of the block). In the winter, you can finally get around to maybe throwing in some S Gear gauges or updating your old racing harnesses with new ones from I/O Port Racing Supplies. Or, if you?re not in the mood to hang around the garage and stress out about how hard your unused Hoosier tires are getting in the off-season, you can always numb your mind with some Mexican beers and think about summer. Of course, in California, winter is summer, so we skip all of our off-season to do lists, go to the beach and procrastinate. It is a good time to kick back, turn on the iPad and flip through the National Auto Sport Association?s (NASA?s) new e-magazine called SpeedNews. Yes, I?m glad you asked, you will see coverage from Speed:Sport:Life in future issues.
This is why there is a lot of ?overnight? shipping to California. With this as a wintertime backyard, who can find time (until the last minute) to wrench on the car?
After the Super Bowl is over, and as the racing season quickly approaches, teams start their last minute thrashes to get things done. Suddenly, instead of having all sorts of time to start a project you?re on the phone with Jim Wolf Technology screaming, ?I don?t care how much it costs to ship! Send me the new cams air freight, overnight, with an A.M. delivery ASAP!? This is called Panic Planet and eventually all racers get there.
No amount of JB Weld is going to fix the hole in this engine block.
Panic Planet, that is where I am currently living right now. With a Nissan SR20DE engine block with a gaping whole in it (after a season-ending-rod-throwing-failure at a 7-hour enduro with ChumpCar at Laguna Seca) I am merely 120 hours from taking the first green flag of the season. The problem is the engine in my car is currently out of my car which is the wrong place to make it go fast. So I threw up some cameras borrowed from the guys at GoRacingTV.com and filmed a time lapse of me pulling the engine out of my Nissan Motorsports Sentra SE-R. No, you won?t learn anything from watching it, other than to learn that I?m not much of a mechanic. Check out the video here.
A little help from Addy Krider got the engine out of the car.
After a quick trip to All-Engine Distributing I scored a JDM Nissan block (without a big ass hole in it) and took it to Rich at T.E.M. Machine Shop in Napa, CA, to have the engine checked over. With some parts and advice from Nick Arias at Atomic Speedware I got the motor back together just in time to ?panic? about how much time I didn?t have to get the engine back into the car and chassis dynotune it at Performance In-Frame Tuning and align the car at B & G Tires.
If everything comes in on time, hopefully the SE-R will run again. ?corner segment shots put together by Gabe Carvey.
The UPS man and I are getting to know each other quite well since packages began to arrive on a daily basis from G Spec Performance (genuine Nissan parts), Sampson Racing Communications (yay, I can hear the crew tell me to slow down before I blow the engine), Carbotech Brakes (I can stop!), decals from Figstone Graphics (everybody knows stickers add 100 plus horsepower) and Circuit Sports. With those silly brown shorts my UPS guy wears and the frequency he was coming over to my house I think my neighbors may have been getting the wrong idea about me.
The good news in all of this is that I have confidence in the engine which was built by Rich at T.E.M. Machine Shop. At least in this event I can keep my foot on the happy pedal and be assured that I won?t have a repeat of the last race where we were parked in the paddock with the hood up, before hour three of a seven hour race.
When everybody is standing around with the hood up, and nobody is holding a tool in their hand, your day is over.
Long story short (too late and way too many shameless sponsor plugs ?I sure do love these Fig Newtons!?) I only have 120 short hours to finish the car, load up the trailer, beg the Krider Racing crew to come out and play (and they should since I didn?t burn them out on the dirty labor of the motor swap ?hence the ?one man, one motor? part of the story) and then get my sorry tired ass to the track this weekend. I have to do all of that in the short amount of time and answer texts from my co-driver, Keith Kramer, every hour asking me, ?Is the car ready yet?? Short answer, ?No.? Long answer, ?STOP TEXTING ME SO I CAN FINISH DAMMIT!? Just kidding around Keith, but seriously, stop texting me. Eventually all of this hard work and overnight shipping should pay off and when the green flag drops, we can have some real fun!
That BRE paint job from Miracle Auto Body and Paint sure stands out on the track. Photo by Gabe Carvey from Parabellum Motorsports.
Enjoy your day and evening, and know that when your tucked in bed, I’m lying on the garage epoxy coated trying to get that last engine mount bolt through that hard to reach rear mount. Good times! See you at the track!