Napa’s Rob Krider and the crew from Double Nickel Nine Motorsports towed three cars halfway across the country to race at the Circuit of the Americas for a national title in Austin, Texas.
The last time Krider was behind the wheel of his No. 38 Acura Integra, the car caught fire and he barely escaped from getting burned. The car was deemed a total loss, only six weeks before the National Auto Sport Association Honda Challenge National Championships, but the team rallied and worked long days and pulled multiple all-nighters to get the car back up to racing speed.
“The biggest savior in all of this was Rich Olivier at TEM Machine Shop,” said Krider. “Once he knew we needed a new engine after the fire, he got right on it and built us what I hope is the next Honda Challenge championship engine.”
The team put the engine in the rebuilt car and then tested it just two weeks ago. Crew chief Stephen Young said the motor is strong.
“I think what TEM put together will give Rob a solid chance at a good weekend in Texas,” he said.
To get a glimpse at the 20-turn race course that is the Circuit of the Americas, Krider flew to Austin three weeks ago and drove a 605-horsepower Audi R8 around the track as part of the Audi Driving Experience at COTA.
“That was a blast,” he said. “The track is first class, really fast. I was over 155 miles per hour in the Audi R8, which is a lot faster than the DNN Motorsports Integra will go. But I think that is good. When I run the Honda Challenge car the track will be coming at me in slow motion, giving me time to make good decisions.”
Good decisions are exactly what his father, Napa City Councilman Jim Krider, wants to see out of his son during the championship race.
“If Rob can keep the car underneath him, he will be tough to beat. He has the car, the engine, the experience,” he said. “He just needs all of it to come together with a little racing luck, and I think we are going to be spraying some champagne on Sunday.”
“That’s the goal,” said Rob. “Stand on the podium, spray some champagne. It’s a long tow home from Texas to California to think about the race. I want to spend the drive home thinking about how awesome the race was, not how things should have gone differently. My job is to be out front. We are bringing three cars and 32 crew members with us to Austin. I don’t want to let these folks down.”
The team thanks sponsors Tactical Ops Brewing, Let’s Go Racing, Chandler Autosport, TEM Machine Shop, Eibach, MCS, I/O Port Racing Supplies, Autopower, Performance In-Frame Tuning, Speed Factory, Racepak, ESS Fire Systems, J & B Farms, Economy Stock Feed, Cadet Blues The Novel, Bay Ex, Insane Shafts, Kenclaire Electrical, Sanger Tire, Hardrace, Hasport, Unorthodox Racing, Smart Strings, Synchrotech Transmissions, Olson Auto Body, AEM, RS 683 Brake Fluid, Sampson Racing Communications, and Phase 2 Motortrend.
Because it is a national championship event, the crew decided to add a California flag decal to the car.
“We are representing the town of Napa and the state of California while we are in Texas,” said Jim Krider, “and I think we will represent them both quite well.”