Napa’s Rob Krider continued his winning streak in the Honda Challenge series with a victory at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows. However, it was a victory that almost didn’t happen. An electrical issue occurred during the weekend, causing major issues with his DNN Motorsports No. 38 car.
Fortunately for Krider, his crew came through in the last possible moments and cobbled the car back together to get him out on the track.
“I’ve seen Rob blow up numerous race engines,” said AJ Gracy, owner of Performance In-Frame Tuning. “But now he has somehow found a way to blow up an engine computer. That’s a new one.”
Krider’s car stopped on the track during Saturday’s race, leaving him stranded to watch the race continue on without him. The good news was his racing partner, Keith Kramer, driving the No. 33 DNN Motorsports car, won the race for the team.
When Krider was finally towed into the pits, the team realized he had burned a hole through the circuit board of the car’s engine computer.
“The entire interior of the car smelled like electrical fire,” said crew member Brian Sprague. “We are lucky the whole car didn’t burn to the ground.”
With the final race of the weekend still to go on Sunday, the crew sprang into action to attempt to find the parts they needed to get the No. 38 car back on the track and give Krider another shot for a win. That is where Simeon Gracy came to the rescue.
“I was sitting in my backyard just enjoying a nice, calm, Napa evening when my phone rang and it was Rob Krider,” said Gracy. “I knew he and my cousin, AJ were at Thunderhill racing, so I figured if they were calling me, something bad must have happened.”
Rob Krider and AJ Gracy came up with a plan. There was an HA Motorsports engine computer in AJ’s shop, Performance In-Frame Tuning, that would get the car going again. The only problem was most of the team was in Willows, two hours away. Simeon Gracy was the team’s only hope and he answered his phone.
“The next thing I know I’m opening the shop on a Saturday night, grabbing a bunch of parts and driving to Thunderhill,” said Simeon Gracy.
He saved the day for the team.
But it wasn’t just Simeon Gracy that made things come together for the team’s race at Thunderhill. Synchrotech Transmissions helped the team resolve some gearbox issues before the race, I/O Port Racing Supplies helped fix a broken tow strap on the car after Krider was towed in, and Chandler Autosport provided a new wiring harness to ensure the electrical issues would be resolved.
“We were celebrating Keith’s victory … but we still needed to fix my ride to make sure both of the DNN Motorsports cars started the race on Sunday,” said Rob Krider.
Simeon Gracy arrived at the track with the parts they needed and the team got to work, repairing the car. However, as one issue was repaired, another thing went wrong. The team broke a small 0-ring on a fuel injector. When they went to start the car to test the HA Motorsports engine computer, fuel started leaking all over the engine compartment.
“I couldn’t be mad at the crew because I was actually the one that was putting on the fuel rail when the O-ring broke” said Rob Krider. “There is a very good reason I’m the driver and not the lead mechanic. The team is way better at fixing the car than I am.”
The car was completely repaired three minutes before Rob Krider jumped into the car for Sunday morning practice, where he went out and improved his lap time by one and a half seconds. For the race, Rob Krider led flag to flag and gave Double Nickel Nine Motorsports their second victory of the weekend.
“This win has everything to do with our friends and the crew getting it done under pressure at the last moment,” said Rob Krider. “My job is the easiest. They give me a great car and all I have to do with it is smash down on the gas pedal.”
The weekend was a great success for the team as they prepare to defend their title as the Honda Challenge Western States champions in October at Thunderhill.
“Our team is called Double Nickel Nine Motorsports, so we have to get a double championship,” said Brian Sprague.
DNN Motorsports is sponsored by Performance In-Frame Tuning, Napa Valley Muffler, B&G Tires, HA Motorsports, Tactical Ops Brewing, Chandler Autosport, Olson Auto Body, Bay Ex, Economy Stock Feed, J&B Farms, TEM Machine Shop, I/O Port Racing Supplies, Smart Racing Products, Hasport motor mounts, ProSpeed RS 683 brake fluid, Carbotech performance brakes, Insane Shafts, Autopower, Cadet Blues the novel, Phase2Motortrend, Devsport, Sychrotech Transmissions, and Sampson Racing Communications.
To get updates on the team, follow KriderRacing on Instagram or Facebook.