Competing On A Team - Group Effort - Shop Talk

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As a kid I remember spending a good portion of my allowance on magazines—whatever I could find, as long as it featured heads-up drag racing. At the time, I didn’t know any better; all I cared about were the rides that were pulling the front wheels off the ground and shooting for the sky. I couldn’t tell you what a fast car was or even relate to quarter-mile times, but the wheelies, they were awesome!

1112chp 01 O  Competing On A Team Drag Strip 2/2

Over the past 20 years, I’d like to think I’ve matured a little. Maybe not a lot—the wheelies are still really cool—but I’ve come to appreciate the e.t.’s and miles per hour quite a bit more. Something else I never realized back then is unless you’re independently wealthy and can checkbook the build and maintenance, it take the efforts of many dedicated people to help get you out to the races.

Think about it; you see the same cars getting at it over and over again. Do you know what it takes to bring that car back out for those events? If you’ve been around the track enough, you’ll eventually see it all: kissing the wall, smashed oil pans, fires, nitrous backfires, and blown rearends, transmissions, and engines. Yet somehow, most of those racers manage to make it back the next event and keep doing their thing.

I’m dedicating this editorial to every one of you who compete and crew on a team. I’m not talking about paid professionals; I’m talking about the typical grassroots guy who puts in his 40-plus hours a week and then thrashes late into the night to prepare for a weekend outing.

I’ve seen firsthand what it takes, and I can tell you that it really does take a committed, cohesive team to run in a competitive class. If you are that rare breed who can do it all, then I certainly commend you, and that’s serious talent. Others need to rely on an engine builder, someone to help tune, another to help sort out the chassis—the list goes on. You need someone willing to run parts between places or pick up fuel, food, or whatever else is necessary to get the team up and running.

It’s easy for the driver and rider to receive the bulk of the attention, so be sure to take a closer look at the winner’s photos—you’ll see the whole crew smiling. You’ll see the people it took to get there.