Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 41
Bad ideasKrider plays the odds in racing
BY ROB KRIDER
I’m sure you’ve heard of this thing they call a conscience: that little voice inside your head telling you something is a bad idea. It drops little warnings or hints to keep you out of trouble. I don’t have that. There’s no little voice trying to keep me from doing something stupid. I’m married; I have a very large voice doing that job—the voice of my wife, whom I love. My wife thinks it is her job to inform me, and anyone within a six mile radius of me, if I am (a) doing something wrong, (b) doing something stupid, or (c) picking my nose (which could be considered an all of the above answer).
The worst part about my wife constantly telling me I’m wrong is that she’s usually right. If I’m about to wear flip flops and shorts to go outside, she will say, “You shouldn’t be wearing those shoes. It’s cold outside.” Lo and behold, I will go outside anyway and freeze my toes off. It’s tough sleeping next to Nostradamus, who can see the future and is always available to point out my flaws. But recently I did something right, even if it took three left wrong turns to get there.
The 25 Hours of Thunderhill is the longest road race in North America. The event attracts professional teams and drivers from all over the globe. Manufacturers like Honda and Mazda come out to test new cars in the hard and gritty endurance race. This event is the real deal, and I decided I wanted to be there. My wife said it was a bad idea. She had all sorts of logical arguments for why it was a bad idea: too expensive, too dangerous, too long of a race, too easy for a car to get destroyed and not even finish the race. I actually agreed with her last point. So I decided to take two racecars to the event instead of one to double my odds for a solid finish. She said two cars was “a really bad idea, like twice the amount of bad ideas.”
Ignoring my wife, my friend, Keith Kramer, and I began our 25 Hours of Thunderhill adventure one year before the race began. We decided we needed to test our cars and make sure everything would work as it should. Our first test would be during a race at Sonoma Raceway. My wife said racing the car before the real race began was a bad idea. Of course, we ignored her. During the test race our car was hit and we lost an axle. My wife was right again.
We decided we should probably do a test in the dark, so we entered both of our cars in a night race to test some new Lightforce lights. My wife warned it was a bad idea. During the race, the transmission failed in one of the cars. My wife was right … again. Not to be discouraged, we took the cars to another track to test some new Toyo Tires. My wife warned that we were putting too many miles on the cars. We ignored her as usual and destroyed a set of Carbotech brakes on one car and killed another transmission on the other. My wife was again absolutely right; the 25-hour race was looking to be a seriously bad idea.
I couldn’t figure out if the universe was telling us not to go to the event, or if we were just working through a lot of development problems on the cars, and when the 25 Hours of Thunderhill started in December all of our issues would be solved. As I worked the phones and talked to some of my sponsors, like Royal Purple synthetic lubricants, about issues I was having, my wife would walk by and say, “Two cars is a bad idea.” I continued to ignore her. I wasn’t going to let the universe or my wife tell me what to do.
I was working hard to pick up sponsorship for the event since my wife said the race was too expensive to do, and I was doing everything I could to prove her wrong. I scored a cool new sponsor, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, to come out to the track and support the team. It seemed like an awesome idea until the marketing folks said they were going to send the Sailor Jerry Girl to the track. When my wife heard that I had orchestrated some “girl” to come and walk around the pits with her husband at the race track, even I realized it was probably a bad idea. Since Ms. Sailor Jerry would be at the track, that meant that Mrs. Krider would definitely also be at the track.
Let’s fast forward to the running of 25 Hours of Thunderhill. I did get our team there. Well, I shouldn’t say I did it. Keith did it; he solved all our mechanical problems by throwing hundred-dollar bills at anything that broke. Eventually we had enough hundred-dollar bills holding the two cars together that we figured they were ready for the event. Team Red, in the No. 38 car, and Team Blue, No. 33, were both in the race and doing well.
At about hour 10 of the 25-hour race, I was driving the Team Blue car at Mach 5 as fast and as hard as I could around the twisty 3-mile track. Everything was going great. The crew was working hard, the cars were running awesome, and I stayed 50 feet away from the Sailor Jerry Girl all day. Things were looking good; I was proving my wife wrong. This race wasn’t a bad idea after all.
Ten seconds later, the engine exploded under my right foot. The interior of the racecar filled with smoke and I was sure I was on fire. I radioed to the crew, “I’m bringing it in, NOW! Get the fire extinguishers ready!” As I pulled into the pit lane and climbed out of the car like Will Ferrell in the film Talladega Nights screaming for Oprah and Tom Cruise, the crew grabbed me and calmed me down. I stood there, looking at the blue car smoking and thought, “Damn, she was right again. This was a bad idea."
In actuality, the race turned out to not be a bad idea; 15 hours after the blue car lost an engine, the red car finished the 25-hour race in third place, earning Krider Racing a podium finish in one of the hardest races in the world.