One Fast Family
Rob Krider runs the #38 Nissan Sentra SE-R hard through turn two at Infineon Raceway on his way to a National Auto Sport Association Performance Touring win.
Without question, one of the most successful automotive racing teams to ever operate out of the City of Napa is Krider Racing. In 2010, the team won the National Auto Sport Association Western Endurance Racing Championship, was victorious at a ChumpCar race at California Speedway, set the fastest time at a Targa Trophy Rally, won the first season of The Forum Wars racing television show, earned numerous road rally victories and, the kids of Krider Racing, won a soap box derby race. That is a lot of races to compete in during one year and, somehow, Krider Racing was successful in all of them.
What makes Krider Racing different from other teams is their eclectic choice of competitive events. Once a team has won a national race in a series or earned a championship, it usually moves on to something different. Instead of capitalizing on a recent success in one series and then going back to conquer it again, they choose to find a new challenge. They are more interested in competing in a different type of event than winning the same one over and over again.
Napa City Councilman, Jim Krider, is the patriarch of the Krider Racing family. Jim raced go-karts in the early 80s until a tragic racing accident took away his ability to walk. Confined to a wheelchair, Jim never let his disability slow him down and he still races to this day. That sort of “never quit” attitude is deeply engrained in the Krider Racing structure and it is apparent in the attitude of the team members. The team has come from behind on numerous occasions to win races. “Our team has been three laps down with a car with a broken head gasket and we still won the race,” says Jim Krider. “This team is a conglomerate of family and friends that is well organized, hardworking and has the knowhow to win races.”
Being well organized and hardworking is one aspect of the team; the other aspect is raw speed. Rob Krider, Jim’s oldest son, is the endurance racing team’s anchor driver. The team doesn’t put Rob in the car until the end of the event when it is “all or nothing.” Rob, a graduate of the Skip Barber Racing School at Laguna Seca, set the fastest lap time at the Altamont Speedway road course during a 24 Hours of LeMons event. He went up against over 300 drivers, some of whom where full time professionals, and he posted the quickest time and won the race. Rob has had multiple successes behind the wheel; winning NASA championships and SCCA National Tour events. He recently he set the fastest lap time on the SPEED television show The Forum Wars while driving a 322 horsepower 2008 Shelby GT Mustang against faster 400-plus horsepower Porsche 911 Turbos, Nissan GT-Rs and Dodge Vipers. His successful road racing at Infineon Raceway was recognized by Nissan North America last year. Rob, driving the number 38 red, white and blue Nissan Sentra SE-R, painted by Miracle Auto Body, was featured as the month of November in the Nissan Motorsports calendar.
Jim’s youngest son, Randy Krider, brings outstanding driving skill to the table (he drives all day long as the owner/operator of Bay Area Express Delivery Service) and has a great mechanical background. Randy is the team’s chief mechanic and ensures each of the vehicles Krider Racing competes with is safe, fast and reliable. Since the team competes in so many different types of events, that keeps Randy pretty busy making sure cars are ready and aligned with different sanctioning body’s rules. “When my older brother calls me and says, ‘Let’s do a destruction derby,’ that means I’ve got to find the right car, figure out what the rules are for a crash-up derby, and then get to work quickly because, chances are, he gave me about two weeks head’s up before the event.” Randy has modified a Volkswagen Beetle, which he drove to the Baja Bug class win at the Beetleball in 2009, a Chrysler Cordoba, demo-derby car, which his brother, Rob, destroyed winning a heat at the California State Destruction Derby
Championships. And, Randy scratch-built the now, infamous Krider Racing Nissan Sentra SE-R. “I’m most proud of the Nissan because it’s been featured in so many different magazines. I think it could be the world’s most famous 1991 Nissan SE-R.”
Krider Racing currently has racers three generations deep. Rob’s son, Gus, and Rob’s daughter, Addy, as well as Randy’s son, James, each race in the All-American Soap Box Derby. The children and parents work together to build gravity powered downhill race cars. And to keep things in the family, it is Grandma Cindy who sponsors the grandkid’s cars with her bookkeeping and accounting business, C.J. Fix Co.
Sponsorship is a big part of Krider Racing’s success. Napa isn’t an enormous city, but local businesses have been a huge help in making Krider Racing what it is today. Performance In-Frame Tuning, B&G Tires, Napa Valley Muffler, T.E.M. Machine Shop, Napa Valley Transmission, Third Street Auto Repair, Silver Auto Service, Bug & Buggy, and Bottlers Unlimited are just a few of the businesses that help the team. But, outside of Napa, Krider Racing has also had worldwide assistance; Nissan Motorsports, Carbotech Brakes, Jim Wolf Technology, I/O Port Racing Supplies, Figstone Graphics, Circuit Sports, S Gear, Pit Posse Motorsports, Sampson Racing Electronics, Photodon.com and Hoosier Tires.
But the help from local businesses only gets the car so far. While the car is at the track it is looked after by the top notch pit crew of Nick Brown, Simeon Gracy, Stephen Young, Dan “Gadget” Bordeau, Dan Olguin, Chris Krider, Craig Rohning, Ryan Hackett, Derek Hawkinson and Andy Bai. Rob Krider says the team’s recent NASA Western Endurance Racing Championship was solely due to the pit crew, “If a crew member spills a dime size worth of gas on the ground during a refueling, that means a five minute stop and go penalty for a team, which results in that team not winning the race. Our crew filled our car
with gas for over forty hours of racing last year and never earned a single penalty.” Krider Racing and its pit crew went up against Honda in the World’s longest
closed course road race, the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. The crew had to stay up for more than a day and never missed a beat. Honda had numerous penalties impose because pit crew actions. The race was featured on the Versus channel. During the race a documentary film crew from GoRacingTV.com followed Krider Racing around.
After winning all of those races and being featured
on television, what is next for Krider Racing? “I heard they race cars on the ice in Michigan,” says Rob Krider. “I don’t know. I’m not a big fan of the cold. Maybe the weather in Mexico would be nicer. I’ll have to call my brother, Randy, and see if he can start building us an off-road race truck. I knew I should have paid more attention in high school Spanish.”
Krider Racing can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube or the team’s Web site: