Making lemonade out of Lemons

Napa’s Krider Racing battled 168 other teams for over 15 and-a-half hours around Infineon Raceway’s technical 12-turn course last weekend in the 24 Hours of Lemons endurance race in Sonoma.

The number of entries in the event was so enormous that race promoters are submitting a proposal to Guinness World Records for the largest field in an automobile race.

And during the “big” event, Krider Racing managed to end up on the podium with a third-place finish.

“NASCAR teams only have 43 cars in a race, and you always hear those guys on TV talking about a top ten finish,” said team driver Rob Krider.
“We ran against 168 other cars in this event. Saturday night we were sitting in ninth. I told the team, ninth isn’t good enough. We want to win this thing! I don’t want to be those guys talking about ‘top ten finishes.’ Well, we didn’t win, but we got on the podium, so I guess now I’m that guy talking about a ‘podium finish.’

“But to me there is a big difference. Motorsports around the world recognizes the top three finishers, and luckily for us we just squeaked on that platform.”

Luck had little to do with the team’s finishing position. Krider Racing ran a flawless race without incident. They never had a wheel off of the track, and didn’t run into any other cars — which wasn’t easily avoidable in a field that size.

To grasp how crowded this race was, here is a little math to understand the concept of the traffic in this event.

Infineon Raceway is 2.53 miles in length, which equals 13,558 feet. With a field of 169 cars, each car only had 79 feet of track to themselves. Cars going 100 miles per hour were traveling at 147 feet per second. Meaning, about every half of a second — for 15 and-a-half hours — there was conflict on the course.

Drivers had to be on their toes the entire race to make sure they didn’t crash.
And to add to the insanity and on-track carnage, it rained on Saturday, making the racing surface slippery.

Napa City Councilman and team manager Jim Krider talked about what his team did to stay out of the carnage.

“We used radios from Sampson Racing Communications to make sure that our team knew when and where there were problems on the track. That seamless communication with our drivers and spotters is how we were able to best 168 other very determined teams. Besides that, our crew, as usual, did an outstanding job.”

The Krider Racing pit crew of Stephen Young, Tim Jackley, Swayne Mason, John Linbarger, Sun Massera, Rachel Kuhtz, Anna Kaufman, Amanda Hargis, Tim Bringman, Dan Bordeau, John Persico, Karen Long, Ryan Hackett, Dan Olguin, Adam Haas, Lori Carter, and brothers Nick, Jeff and Andrew Bulleri were the lifeline to keeping the car prepared, fast and on track as long as possible.

Their efforts working on the car is what allowed endurance drivers AJ Gracy, Rob Diehl, Randy Krider, Steve Kuhtz, Keith Kramer and Rob Krider to take turns running the No. 138 Acura Integra hard around the twisty race track.

The team was supported by I/O Port Racing Supplies, Carbotech Brakes, Pit Posse Motorsports, S Gear Gauges, Circuit Sports, Figstone Graphics, B&G Tires, Bottlers Unlimited, C.J. Fix Co. Bookkeeping and Tax Preparation, Bay Ex Delivery Service, Performance In-Frame Tuning, T.E.M. Machine Shop, Napa Valley Muffler, Miracle Auto Body and Paint, Napa Valley Transmissions, and

The race was won by team POS racing in their white, No. 760, E30 BMW. Second place went to team Metro Gnome in their red, No. 187 Geo Metro powered by a high horsepower motorcycle engine.

During the event, a film crew from covered the race and followed the Krider Racing team around specifically to chronicle their racing adventures. The footage will be up on the Web site soon.

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