Napa’s Rob Krider recently brought home another trophy for the Krider Racing collection, all the way from Indiana.
Driving a Ford Fiesta ST purchased from Napa Ford-Lincoln, Krider and Double Nickel Nine Motorsports teammates Stephen Young and Keith Kramer won the Economy Car class at Tire Rack’s One Lap of America race. The eight-day race consisted of 20 different racing challenges across 10 different tracks, spanning more than 3,600 miles in 17 states.
“This was one of the hardest races I have ever completed in my life,” Krider said.
The race began in Indiana on May 1 and continued at tracks in Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, West Virginia and Michigan before returning to Indiana on May 8.
Teams are required to drive their street legal car from track to track with no support vehicles, and they must do the entire event on one set of tires. Teams race at each track for the best time covering three laps, and all the track times are added together for a final score at the end of the week-long race.
After 3,678 miles, a lot of hard driving at multiple race tracks, and the death of a possum on a highway in Texas, Double Nickel Nine was a winner in the 36th annual event.
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“One Lap of America has been a bucket list race for me since I was 16 years old,” said Krider. “I remember reading about it in Car and Driver magazine when I was in auto shop class at Vintage High School.”
That the team won the event during its rookie year was no surprise to the team’s biggest supporter, Jim Krider, Rob's dad.
“One Lap is a bunch of different kinds of races packed into one, with road courses, drag races, and circle track races. It was the perfect venue for Rob to highlight his abilities because he has spent his whole life racing in all sorts of different types of motorsports," Jim said.
"I knew when they left town there was a pretty good chance the team would come home with a victory.”
The biggest challenge for team members during the event was they had never raced at any of its tracks.
“We’re a California team. I can hand-draw you a picture of every track on the West Coast because I’ve driven all of them, sometimes in the dark. But we’ve never been to Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia, and when we showed up there, the rules for One Lap were no practice laps," Krider said.
"You get on the track, standing start, you get three laps. All of your laps are timed and you are done. Then it’s time to drive eight hours to the next track on the schedule. There is zero time to learn a track."
Krider, Young and Kramer took turns driving different tracks on the schedule. They did their best to try to learn the specific tracks they would be driving before they arrived by using driving simulators, watching YouTube videos, and studying track maps.
“I drove GingerMan Raceway in Michigan," Krider recalled, "and when I was going into the steep downhill braking zone in Turn 10B for the first time ever in my life, I was doing it as fast and as hard as I could. There was a moment there were I thought, this car isn’t going to slow enough for the corner. I’m coming in way too hot. I’m probably going to end up upside down, or on fire, or both.
"Luckily for me, the Carbotech brake pads saved my butt, and I was able to slow enough to use the absolute outside edge of that corner, every millimeter of pavement, and somehow salvage the lap — thus avoiding the tow truck and the ambulance.”
Krider helped move the team up in the standings as it headed into the final challenge on the last day, the skid pad at Tire Rack’s headquarters in South Bend, Indiana. Krider went around the skid pad in the team’s Fiesta ST on three wheels during the entire run around the 200-foot skid pad circle where g-forces are measured. The Fiesta earned a 0.993 G rating.
“With our Yokohama ADVAN A052 tires, I really wanted to get a 1 G rating at the Tire Rack skid pad,” he said. “But, it’s hard to do that when you are only using three of the four tires to hold you in the circle.”
Even though Krider didn’t hit is personal goal of 1 G at the skid pad, he and his teammates did win their ultimate goal — a victory at One Lap of America.
They scored in every event, didn’t earn any penalties, and didn’t have a single mechanical failure the whole week — a feat the team attributes to a lot of prep work on the Fiesta before the race.
The victory was the latest of several wins for Krider in 2021. He earned a trophy from the Sports Car Club of America for an undefeated season autocrossing the Fiesta; he also won a trophy for Best Race Car while showing his national champion Honda Challenge Acura Integra at the Weenie Fest Car Show in Central California; and he was featured driving the Fiesta on the cover of the February 2021 issue of The Wheel magazine.
“I walked with my dogs to my mailbox one day," Krider recalled, "pulled out a magazine and was like, 'Whoa, that’s me!' I thought it was cool. The dogs just weren’t that impressed.”
He said his success in 2021 would have not be possible without the partnerships he has enjoyed with many Napa businesses and other backers in the motorsports industry.
Double Nickel Nine Motorsports/Krider Racing is sponsored by Smart Racing Products, Carbotech Brakes, I/O Port Racing Supplies, Mishimoto, FSWerks, Yokohama Tires, MeisterR coil-overs, Sampson Racing Communications, T.E.M. Performance, Tactical Ops Brewing, Synchrotech Transmissions, Skunk2 Racing, Performance In-Frame Tuning, B & G Tires, Bay Ex, Napa Valley Muffler, Insane Shafts, Kingpin Machine, Autopower, ESS Fire Systems, Hardrace, Unorthodox Racing, Hasport Motor Mounts, AEM Electronics, RS 683 Brake Fluid, Phase 2 Motortrend, HA Motorsports, Economy Stock Feed, J & B Farms, Sanger Tire, Olson Auto Body, C.J. Fix Bookkeeping and Cadet Blues-the novel.
Krider began drag racing at age 16 at Sonoma Raceway in an El Camino he built with this father, Jim. Rob moved on to road rallies in an MGB, winning Rookie of the Year when he was going to Napa Valley College. He began autocrossing a Mustang with the SCCA and won numerous regional championships while finishing his bachelor’s degree at Fresno State.
He and Jim ran the Silver State Classic in Nevada, where Rob earned Rookie of the Year. He then jumped into endurance road racing and won the 24 Hours of LeMons, ChumpCar 14 Hours of Buttonwillow, and earned the Western Endurance Racing Championship in 2010 by competing in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
From there he moved on to NASA Honda Challenge, where he earned five total titles — including national championships at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas and at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. He did all of this racing while also earning a master’s degree in organizational leadership.
Krider continued to compete in an eclectic style of different races and won time trials, dirt track/circle track races, hill climbs, rallycross events, and a demolition derby. He even went 180.8 miles an hour at the Mojave Mile in a Chevrolet Z06 Corvette.
He holds two lap records for different track configurations at Buttonwillow Raceway, though one of his favorite victories was in the Napa Valley Coffin Races on Halloween.
So when it was time to enter the 2021 One Lap of America Rob said, “I know I’m ready for this.”
With another bucket list item checked off for the Krider family, one question remains: What’s next?
“I dunno,” Krider said. “I keep talking about doing some lawnmower racing. Is there a national championship for that somewhere?”
Follow KriderRacing on Instagram or visit team559.com to keep up with the team.