Napa’s Rob Krider has been the reigning road racing champion in Honda Challenge for three years straight, and he wants to add a fourth year to his resume.
The team is preparing for the long tow to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, where the National Auto Sport Association will hold its 2019 National Championships presented by Toyo Tires.
Krider just flew back into town after attending The School at Mid-Ohio to learn the race track before the big event.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “I picked up a lot. It doesn’t matter if you have been through 10 racing schools: If you’re a professional racing driver, or a national champion, you can always improve your skills.”
Krider, who drives the No. 38 Acura Integra for Double Nickel Nine Motorsports, wants to maintain his foothold on the Honda Challenge class and bring home another national championship trophy to Napa.
“For me, I just always want to win,” he said. “I think about winning the nationals every single day and I fixate on what I need to do to make that dream happen.”
Krider balances his time between the gym, driving racing simulators, testing, preparing the car, and combing through the rule book to see if there is an opportunity to improve the car.
“I would say Rob is more focused on this fourth season than he has been any other season,” said his father, Jim Krider. “In 2016, we were developing the car all year, struggling, and Rob won the big race at the championships. In 2017, NASA changed the rules for the class, making our car illegal. So we had to go back to the drawing board, rebuild, and in the end Rob earned another championship win.
In 2018, the car burned to the ground right before the big race in Austin, Texas and had to be completely rebuilt before the national championships, which Rob won. For this year, there has been less overall development or thrashing to rebuild cars and more of a focus on the little things. I think Rob is in the zone.”
Rob Krider showed he is in “the zone” by winning the first race of the season and setting a new track record at Buttonwillow. Team Double Nickel Nine also won last year’s NASA SoCal Region season points championship, with Krider earning numerous victories and podiums.
But he said all of that success doesn’t mean anything on the final day of the championships in Ohio.
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“It doesn’t matter if you are the best in the country and have won 15 races in a season. That doesn’t mean you will be the champ,” he said. “If the nose of your car doesn’t cross the line first on Sunday, you are not the national champion. Period. You can simply get a nail in your tire on grid and you’re not the national champion. The car has to be at its best and you have to be your best on that day for the crown.”
DNN Motorsports is working diligently on car preparation and logistics for the big race in September to try and make sure small things – like a nail in a tire – don’t happen. To ensure it has a good chance of finishing well, the team is taking three cars to Mid-Ohio and two drivers, Krider in the No. 38 car and Keith Kramer in the No. 33 car. The third car is a backup in case something catastrophic happens during testing or qualifying.
The team’s crew chief, Stephen Young, said he thinks the team has a good chance of picking up another national title.
“When you look at the data, we have a really good shot,” Young said. “I know this much: I wouldn’t want to be racing against us.”
Teams from all across the country will descend on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sept. 19-22 for four days of racing at the NASA National Championships. There is a rivalry brewing in the Honda Challenge paddock between the West Coast and East Coast teams. Some of the teams have been boasting and talking trash to one another on Instagram about who will win the national championships.
When Krider was asked what he thought about the rivalry, he just shrugged his shoulders.
“It’s easy to press buttons on a phone and talk trash. It’s a whole different animal when you have to press that gas pedal and head into Turn 1 at full speed with us,” he said. “We don’t need to be involved in all that Instagram stuff. Our trophy case speaks for us and what we as a team have accomplished.”
Krider said those numerous championship trophies wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the businesses that sponsor the car: TEM Machine Shop, Smart Racing Products, Skunk2 Racing, Carbotech Brakes, B & G Tires, Performance In-Frame Tuning, Bay Ex, Tactical Ops Brewing, Insane Shafts, Chandler Autosport, Eibach Springs, Motion Control Suspension, I/O Port Racing Supplies, Autopower, Racepak, ESS Fire Systems, J & B Farms, Economy Stock Feed, Cadet Blues the novel, Sanger Tire, Hardrace, Hasport Motor Mounts, Unorthodox Racing, Synchrotech Transmissions, Devsport, Olson Auto Body, AEM Electronics, RS 683 Brake Fluid, Sampson Racing Communications, Phase 2 Motortrend, HA Motorsports, and C.J. Fix Bookkeeping.
“If I was in Vegas, I’d put my money on No. 38,” said Jim Krider.
To get updates on the team, visit team559.com or follow KriderRacing on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.