Friday, February 27, 2015

Some Insight On What it Takes To Race

This week I have interviewed three experienced race car drivers/mechanics that I have been helping to build a classic Mustang Cobra 2 into a race car, in the past 6 weeks. Their names are Robbie Robinson/the welder, Timothy Abeyta/main mechanic, and Ryan Walters/the technician, they are all experienced racers and qualified mechanics. Robbie has been racing for over 30 years, Tim has been racing for 6 years, and Ryan has been racing for 8 years.Ryan is the owner of Fortuna Wheel and Brake, and is the head mechanic at his shop. I asked each of them five questions about how they build the best race car, I asked them: What websites do you use to track down local cars? How much do you usually spend on a car every year? How long does it normally take to build a race car? Do you ever race out of the county? How much does it usually cost to race a car for one season?

First I interviewed Robbie Robinson and this is what he said " I usually check Craigslist and Trader Joe's for used cars". I asked him the second question and he said " I usually spend between $1,000-$10,000  depending on the class ". His next response was " It usually depends on the type of car and how easy it is to find parts". " But I usually spend 6-8 weeks on a car". Next he said " I have never raced farther than four hours away because any farther than that gets really expensive". Finally I asked him how much it costs him each race season, and he said " It usually costs between $500 and $800 if I don't get wrecked".


Next I interviewed Ryan Walters and this is his response " I normally check Facebook, Craigslist and some other local websites, but mainly Facebook". " I try not to spend more than $1,100 on lower class cars and the most I spend on upper class cars is $15,000". In response to that I asked him " Why does it cost so much for upper class cars?" ,and he said " The higher the class the more modifications there are". His response to the next question was " It usually takes me a month depending on the class because I own a shop, and I only ever go to the Ukiah track when I race out of town". His last response was " Normally if I don't wreck it cost about $600-$800 depending on the class of course"

Finally I interviewed Timothy Abeyta( my god father) and this is response " I always check Facebook first then Trader joes  and finally Craigslist". " I have all ways spent less than $1,100 on my car, except for this year I'm spending over $10,000 on my mini stock ". " It usually takes me 6 weeks if I have help, but this year it will take me 12 weeks". Finally he said " I've never raced out of town because it costs too much, and it costs about $500 for gas and tires for the whole year".        

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How to Find And Build The Perfect Race Car

This is a step by step process of how to research and pick the right car. I will be sharing the best websites and companies to use, such as transport and mechanics. Here are some important things to think about before you start your research. One essential thing to check is local websites such as Facebook or Craigslist before searching out of the area. Another consideration is to ensure the car is located within four hours of where you live so that your not spending extra money. You also might want to bring a mechanic with you when you go to check out the car unless you are a mechanic yourself.

STEP ONE: The first thing you do is go to Google Chrome (in my opinion, the best search engine) and type in what kind of car you want to look for. If you don't know what kind of car to use this is an informative website that has important specifications for lower class racers. The best class to start in is the Roadrunner division, which is an all stock 4-cylinder car. This class includes any production passenger car, but no convertibles and no Mazda Rx-7's are allowed.

STEP TWO: The next step is to go to  Craigslist.com and search for a used 4-cylinder car for $500 or less. Once again, make sure it is with in four hours of where you live. In my opinion, a 1999-2001 Nissan Sentra is the best and cheapest car to start in. It takes about three consecutive weeks to transform a basic Nissan Sentra into a racing machine.

STEP THREE: When you have found the right car make sure you bring an experienced mechanic and a trailer with you. It is also really good to bargain some extra parts into the deal, or trade a vehicle that can be used for parts for the car you want. If you can't find a mechanic to go with you, make sure that you hear the car run before you buy it.

FINAL STEP: When you have found the right car, the first thing you want to do is strip everything out. This includes the interior, the windows/windshield, mirrors, radio, spare tire compartment and the gas tank. The best thing to start with is building the roll cage, NEVER cut the top off of the car to build the roll cage. It is really risky and dangerous to have a welded roof. Make sure you have a bar-bender and a welder to secure the bars in place. Next, bolt the fuel cell in were the spare tire was. Next put a race seat in place, and make sure you have all the specific safety equipment. Next, make all qualified adjustments to the motor. Finally, paint the car make sure not to spend more than $150 on paint, and put on your sponsors decals.

TIME TO RACE: After you are done building you should have spent no more than $2000. The usual time for building a roadrunner is between 4-6 weeks (depending on the shipping of parts). Keep in mind, when you are choosing where to race that most tracks require a racing fee unless you are a member of that track. Some tracks have cash prizes for winning and special events like: boat races, demolishen derby, and monster trucks.        

Friday, February 6, 2015

Book Review of STOCK CARS!

The book STOCK CARS! was written by John Carollo and Bill Holder in 1999, and illustrates the whole world of racing. This book is both a guide on racing and the history behind it. The structure of this book is well organized, it starts with the World of Stock Car Racing and ends with a list of the biggest names in racing. The most informative and interesting part of the book is the chapter about the birth of racing. It seems like this book has the full picture of racing all in one book. This book also includes a biography of NASCAR driver Ken Schrader.

Author Bill Holder, is a retired aerospace engineer from the Foreign Tech Division at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He currently lives with his wife Ruthanne in Riverside, Ohio. Holder has also written almost four dozen aviation and automotive books, and some of the money compensated from his books goes to injured racers. Co-author John Carollo is an internationally published automotive writer and photographer. Whose work is displayed in over 75 auto related publications. Carollo has been a stock car racer, a flagman, announcer and now a writer.       
This book keenly illustrates  how stock car racing came around and the history behind it, this Includes the first Indy 500 which was raced on Daytona beach where there is a NASCAR circuit track today. Before NASCAR even began they had street races, or beach races that were more like a point A to point B race. These races would usually have 15-30 all stock cars with numbers painted on them. The first type of stock car was a coupe which didn't go faster than 10 mph, but they were still entertaining.  

The next part of the book talks about the evolution of stock car racing and the different types of cars used in the sport. Next, the author discusses the different tracks, both dirt and black top in circuit racing, and ends the book by showing all the top Hall of Fame racers in history. This includes Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt SR. and Richard Petty.

Over all I think this is a good factual book for beginners, or for those looking for more knowledge of stock car racing. What got me interested in this book was both my love for stock car racing and NASCAR. My two favorite racers are Dale Earnhardt SR. and Jeff Gordon, who is retiring after the 2015 racing season. If you are interested in learning more about stock car racing, or if just want to find out about the history this is a great book to read about it. Before I read this book I didn't know much of the history of stock car racing. This book was very factual and historically correct, so I hope you will read it.

  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Racing Legend Jeff Gordon Announces Retirement

Last Thursday, racing legend Jeff Gordon announced that after the 2015 season, he will be retiring from being a full time NASCAR driver. Gordon has won four NASCAR championships in his 23-year career in the #24 car, with Rick Hendrick as the team owner. Last year was one of Gordon's best seasons in years, coming out of it with four wins including the Brickyard 400. Gordon has become known as one of the biggest racing legends since Dale Earnhardt SR. He won 58 races before his 30th birthday, and collected four championships in seven years. Gordon also has 3 Daytona 500 wins, and 5 Brickyard 400 wins. Jeff Gordon made his debut in the last race of 1992, which was even more memorable because it was the last race for Petty. He is also third in career victories just behind Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty and David Pearson. He also earned the nickname "Rainbow Warrior" for the majestic colors used on his car. Race car driver Kyle Busch once said during a press conference that "it looked like a care bear threw up on his car".

My whole family and I have followed Gordon through his whole racing career, and besides Dale Earnhardt SR., Gordon has been my favorite driver. In fact I got to meet Jeff Gordon when I was 4 years old at the same race that Dale Earnhardt SR. died at ( according to my dad). I don't remember much because I was only 4 at the time, but I remember riding in Jeff Gordon's car before the race. The only way that was made possible was through the Shriners hospital, which I went to because I needed surgery on my feet. I will be very sad to not see Jeff Gordon in the #24 after this race season. Although he is stepping down from racing, he is going to stay involved with the his team and the company.