Napa’s Rob Krider recently accomplished a significant motorsports milestone, his 100th victory.
Krider has been racing since he was a student at Vintage High School. He earned his first victory in 1991 by taking the Top Eliminator spot at the drag strip at Sears Point, now referred to as Sonoma Raceway. After more than 30 years of racing in a multitude of cars and motorsport disciplines, Krider earned his 100th first-place finish while competing in the Sports Car Club of America S4 class at Crows Landing on June 20.
This particular venue held a special significance to Rob.
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“The first place I ever competed in the sport of autocross was at Crows Landing, a mothballed naval air station off of Interstate 5 near Newman, back in 1991,” he recalled. “I ran with my dad in his 1986 Camaro IROC-Z on a fast time-trial course. That was 30 years ago. To come back to this same place on Father’s Day exactly 30 years later and earn my 100th win, that is just storybook stuff right there.”
The win did not come easy, though. The competition was tough and Krider won by a scant 19 thousandths of a second.
“Yes, it’s true, I barely pulled it off, but a win is a win,” he said. “If I won by only 19 thousandths of a second, well, that was 18 thousandths more than I needed.”
Three decades before, Jim Krider knew his son’s first win would not be his last.
“I vividly remember the first time I took him out to a race in my Camaro at Crows Landing, Rob scared the hell out of me,” he recalled. “He drove the car so hard, he destroyed four gatorback Goodyear tires. He was fearless, a trait he’s continued to use to win many, many races since then.”
That driving style led to the livery Krider has donned on multiple racing helmets during his motorsports career, red stripes that look like flames blowing toward the rear of his helmet.
“That design is supposed to represent his hair on fire,” Jim said. “Rob drives like his hair is on fire, and his helmet has always displayed that.”
Krider has won races of a multitude of sanctioning bodies and types. He has won drag races with the National Hot Rod Association, road races with the National Auto Sport Association and autocrosses with the SCCA, along with road rallies, time trials, endurance races, circle track races, and even a destruction derby.
Regardless of the type of racing, Krider has found a way to win — 100 times. In comparison, Dale Earnhardt Sr. had 76 NASCAR Winston Cup wins and Lewis Hamilton, the winningest driver ever in Formula 1, has 98 wins.
“To me, the 100 milestone means so much,” Rob Krider said, “because in my world there are two kings — Elvis Presley, the ‘King of Rock and Roll,’ and Richard ‘The King’ Petty, who had 200 NASCAR wins. I’m only halfway there.”
Some of Krider’s victories could be considered moderately easy, while some were extremely difficult. “Sure, sometimes Rob showed up to an event with an extremely prepared car and didn’t face much competition,” said his dad. “And other races, he had to compete for 14 hours, racing into the night against 90 teams to earn a victory. Those were incredibly difficult wins, which took a lot of support, crew members and co-drivers.”
Rob agreed with the assertion that many of the wins were long, difficult ventures, adding they would not have been possible without great teammates.
“Every win, all of the 100, were due to a team effort,” he said. “I absolutely wouldn’t have won a single race without my friends, family, crew and, especially in the endurance races, outstanding co-drivers. First, my partner at Double Nickel Nine Motorsports, Keith Kramer, then, of course, all the other guys who shared a seat with me — my brother, Randy Krider, my dad, Jim Krider, Dave Schotz, Bryan Heitkotter, Ken Myers, Stephen Young, John Linbarger, Steve Kuhtz, Rob Diehl, Mark Fowers and AJ Gracy. There would not be 100 wins without their outstanding talents behind the wheel.”
Krider has won all across the country, from Honda Challenge National Championships in Austin, Texas and Lexington, Ohio to the recent One Lap of America, which involved driving more than 3,600 miles and on 10 tracks in 17 states. He didn’t just compete in local amateur events. He competed at the highest level of competition and ticked off win after win, finally getting to the magical No. 100.
But that number almost didn’t come to fruition at the track where it all began.
“Earlier this year, my dad and I started talking about the 100. I put together a spreadsheet and I told him that I was getting pretty close. I needed to confirm every win, either by a trophy in the Krider Racing trophy case or printed results of past victories. Once I hit a confirmed 99 wins, which was One Lap of America, I was searching for the next shot at earning No. 100,” he recalled. “When an autocross with the SCCA popped up on Father’s Day at Crows Landing, I was thinking ‘This might be it.’ I started to focus on the idea that ‘this is where it has to happen.’ But then I ran into John Subosits, a young, hungry driver in a Honda Civic, who had his own plans for winning that day.”
Randy Krider, who has been by his brother’s side and helped with almost all of the 100 wins over the years, said Rob gets superstitious.
“Some things get in his head — the family number, for one thing, No. 38,” he said. “If Rob doesn’t get his number assigned to him, he won’t even go to a race.”
On Father’s Day, Rob did get his lucky number, but he was running against somebody who reminded him of himself.
“Success did not come early or easy to me. I competed for a long time, in many, many races, before I finally won a race. The first autocross race I won was in a Honda Civic. The car was old, it had oxidized paint, but I could make it work and I picked up my first SCCA win when I was a student at Cal Poly.
“When I showed up to Crows Landing to try to earn my 100th win, I was racing against a college student from Stanford with an oxidized Honda Civic. He was young, his car was older, and he seemed to be capable behind the wheel. I felt like I was racing against myself 30 years ago. It started to mess with my head.”
Krider had put so much pressure on himself, to get his 100th win where he had run his first autocross 30 Father’s Days before, that he started to worry it might not all come together.
“Nothing would have made me happier 30 years ago than to beat somebody like myself in an old Honda Civic. I recognized the hunger in my competitor, John,” he said of Subosits, “and it started to shake me up a bit. I was driving around the course like an idiot, way too aggressive and making mistakes.”
The racing was extremely tight. After the first of five runs around the course, Krider had only a two-tenths-of-a-second lead. By the end of the day, that lead had shrunk to 19 thousandths of a second. Krider barely prevailed.
“It’s a race I’ll never forget,” he said. “The crazy part is, of the 100 wins, I don’t remember a lot of them, but what is extremely vibrant for me is all of the times I came in second place. I painfully remember every one of those races, those losses, and I lay in bed and night and obsess about what we could have done differently with the car, what we could have done better with pit stop strategy, and what I could have done better as a driver. I always want to improve. I never want to finish second again.”
One hundred victories is something Jim Krider never thought was possible.
“It’s a massive undertaking,” he said. “The great Mario Andretti himself, one of the most accomplished racing drivers ever, has just 109 wins. Racing is a demanding, expensive sport where a thousand things can go wrong in an instant. To show up and win 100 times, that takes a lot of luck. But when it comes to Rob, he makes his own luck.”
Jim was referring to the Krider Racing formula the family has perfected over the years. According to the Kriders, creating your own luck in racing comes from car preparation, strategy and infrastructure. Rob explained that special sauce for success on episode 155 of the podcast “Speed Secrets,” hosted by retired IndyCar driver Ross Bentley.
“We use something I call the Motorsports Triangle,” Rob said. “A triangle is one of strongest geometric shapes. Ours has three points. The car is at the top; you have to have good car. The infrastructure is on a bottom corner; you need a good team, good tools and lots of spares. Strategy is at the other corner; you need a good plan. All of this structure, the Motorsports Triangle, surrounds the driver. For all of my 100 wins, we have surrounded me with that triangle. If any of the three points is missing, the whole thing crumbles.”
Part of that triangle, the infrastructure, comes from a lot of sponsorship. Krider is helped out 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.
“Without all of our partnerships and support we wouldn’t have won three of our 100 victories,” he said.
The team isn’t done racing. Visit KriderRacing on Instagram or team559.com for the latest news.
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