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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on January 19th, 2010, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 10, Issue 45 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 10, Issue 45

Krider is a chump

He's no Danica Patrick either

By ROB KRIDER

I had two New Year’s resolutions. The first was to stop spending all of the family’s vacation money by going out and racing cars. The second was to keep my wife, whom I love, happy. Simply enough, her happiness would automatically improve if I would stop racing. But just like 99.9 percent of all New Year’s resolutions made by people, I broke mine, too. What did I do the first weekend of 2010? I headed up to Infineon Raceway towing a Nissan Sentra SE-R to race in the ChumpCar World Series.

ChumpCar is a racing series for folks, like me, who don’t have a ton of cash to go racing (other than the family’s vacation fund). If you bring a $500 car and a few friends, you can race for glory on the same racetrack that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. races on, as well as the fast and saucy Danica Patrick. Speaking of ole Danica, it turns out my wife is not a big fan. When I asked my wife why she wouldn’t root for a girl who is making history and breaking ground for all women in motorsports, my wife’s response was, “She’s short and she whines too much.” My wife has always had a small problem with really short women. She compares them to little yapper dogs, “cute but annoying”—her words not mine.

Myself, being a caveman, I love Danica. Not as much for her driving skills, but for all of her photo shoots in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated (this could be the real reason my wife doesn’t like her). Since I like to do everything in my marriage the hard way, for the ChumpCar race I painted my car just like Danica’s and put stickers on the car mimicking her car’s sponsors. Instead of “Go Daddy,” the hood of my racecar said, “Who’s Your Daddy?” To give the Danica theme some real legitimacy, I bought a cardboard cutout of Danica in her racing uniform. It turns out my wife hated the cardboard version of Danica more than she hated the flesh version. I didn’t help matters when I walked around the racetrack with Danica under my arm telling people, “I had Danica in my bed last night” or “Danica was in my shower this morning.”

Even though my wife despised the mock up of Danica and the fact that the Disneyland trip this year was substituted by a trip to the races, she was still super supportive at the track. My wife fed all of the crew and drivers and put up with me as I ran around all weekend screaming, “The car is broken again, where is the 19 millimeter socket!?” As we quickly found out during the ChumpCar weekend, cars that are only worth $500 generally don’t run very good for very long (especially when they are driven into the ground by a complete lead-foot madman).

The race on the first day was seven hours long, and early into the race, we were leading. Sometime during the event another team snuck into our garage and kidnapped our cardboard Danica. I could only imagine what they did with her. We looked all over, but she was nowhere to be found. I kept waiting to get a photograph of the cardboard Danica, blindfolded with someone holding a gun to her head and maybe a ransom note created with newspaper and magazine clippings: “If you ever want to see Danica alive again, you need to slow down your pace on the track. Throw the race, or it’s the paper shredder for Danica!”

At Krider Racing, we never leave a man behind. Or a woman. Or a cardboard cutout of a woman. Just for Danica, we slowed down our pace and finished second place (no, that’s a lie, we just got beat by somebody faster). A few hours after the race was over, we found Danica in a peculiar position. She was lying on her back underneath someone else’s car. She was cheating on us (actually a team was using her as an oil drip pan to show us what they thought of her—I think my wife put them up to it).

The next day was a whole new race. With a second-place finish the day before, and with sorrow in our hearts for what they did to poor cardboard Danica, we headed out onto the track with vengeance. As the race unfolded, we were looking pretty strong. We had some issues with fuel mileage, but our crew chief was working the calculator and decided with one tank of gas, the car could go for two hours exactly. That turned out to be not exactly the exact amount of fuel we would exactly need.

I headed out for the last driving stint with us in second place, a lap and a half away from a quick Mazda Miata. I drove the tires off the car and caught up and passed the leading Miata to put us in first place: “This one’s for Danica!” While punishing the track’s pavement and dropping my lap times, I was getting terrible fuel mileage. I kept telling the crew chief over the radio, “We have a half an hour left of racing, but the gas gauge is already saying empty. Is this a bad thing?” There was a lot of debate on the radio about what the word “empty” really meant, and questions about if the needle was on the line next to the letter “E” or if it was actually in the letter “E.”  My response was a panicked, “E is E, Dude, no matter how you spell it. We’re running on fumes here!”

Four minutes before the race was about to end, the little car finally proved its point, “I’m empty, you idiots!” The motor shut off and I coasted into the pits. The crew gave me a quick “splash and go” and I headed out onto the track to try to get the lead back. But there wasn’t enough time (just like there wasn’t enough gas in the tank). The race ended and we finished third.

After the race, I did what any professional racecar driver would do, Danica especially: I started whining. m

Rob would like to thank Carbotech Brake Pads, Jim Wolf Technology, I/O Port Racing Supplies, and the entire Krider Racing pit crew for a great weekend at ChumpCar. Oh, and his wife, whom he loves, too!




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