Sunday, June 16, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on November 14th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 37 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 37

Great balls of fire: Krider suffers some technical difficulties on the racetrack

By Rob Krider

Even though I am a grown-ass man I still like to play with cars. As a little boy all I wanted to be when I grew up was a race car driver. It was a dream I never let go of. So, whenever the schedule will allow me to (for the record, my wife, whom I love, runs the schedule) I head out on the weekends to go racing.

A few months ago I was bombing down the back straight of a track while leading a race. Life was good. The car was running great, it was a beautiful day, and I was chasing my childhood dreams.

Suddenly, my engine decided to take all of the inside parts and put them on the outside. This is a bad thing. Regardless, I didn't let the oil and smoke deter me. I've blown engines plenty of times before. I was going to keep my foot on the gas until one of two things happened: I saw the checkered flag fall or the car just stopped running. I kept driving like a madman to see which would come first. My mantra is: Champions never quit! Those words are actually emblazoned on my helmet.

Then I heard my spotter on my radio yell into my ear, "You're on FIRE!" 

I guessed it was possible, that I could be on fire, but it hadn't occurred to me yet. I looked at the smoke coming into the interior. It was pretty dark. If my spotter said I was on fire, there was no real reason for him to lie to me. So, I decided I believed him. It was official, I was on fire.

The smoke was getting considerably worse but I was traveling at more than 100 miles per hour, so I couldn't exactly just jump out of the car to avoid the flames. I needed a plan. The plan was simple: get the car stopped and get out quickly! As simple and solid as that plan was, there were some complications. I was leading the race, there were race car drivers right behind me that would run into me if I just slammed on my brakes. I was also strapped into the car with a five-point racing seat belt and would have to exit the car through a side window. Getting out fast wouldn't be easy.

As the fire breached the interior and I saw my dashboard begin to melt, I thought, "If I don't die in this fire, my wife is going to kill me." She is not a big fan of racing. It is a selfish, expensive, dangerous hobby that takes her husband away from her on a lot of weekends. But in the moment, flames were licking at my toes and I didn't have time to debate the marital pressures that racing causes. I just needed to get out of the burning car.

It turns out adrenaline is an amazing thing. I was able to quickly disconnect myself from the car, bring it to a stop on the side of the racetrack, and jump my middle-aged fat-ass out of the window completely unscathed. As I stood outside watching the car burn I was just glad my wife wasn't there to see it. Nobody needs that kind of trouble in a relationship. In fact, I decided right then and there, maybe I wouldn't mention it to her. When I got back to the motorhome, I sent her a quick text, "Out of the car for the day, didn't win, small problem with engine." Simple and technically accurate.

Cue the Internet. The fire didn't burn me, but the damn internet did. Somebody posted something on Facebook. Something like a photo of my car burned to a crisp. I got a text back from my wife in all caps, "SMALL PROBLEM WITH ENGINE??? I SAW ON FACEBOOK YOU WERE ON FIRE!!! WTF?" 

Bummer. Looks like that racing schedule for next year is going to be pretty light. 

Rob fixed the car and six weeks later won the 2018 Honda Challenge National Championship. Now he just needs to fix his marriage. To read more from Rob Krider or contact him, visit 

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

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