There's No Off Season for WSR's Richard Smith
It’s called the off-season. It is defined as that time of year that race teams are off the track. Racecars, however, are a year-round sport; half the year on the track and the other half in the race shop. With our busy schedule this coming season, and four cars to maintain, some of the winter projects are put off until spring… It’s the earliest we are able to get to them!
Since the last race in Las Vegas, NV, all of the cars have had exhaustive work performed on them: engine improvements/replacements, after-burner design changes, wiring checked, welds checked, wheel-bearings packed, and brakes checked… to name a few! In mid-February, Gary Eikmann came to our race shop to perform the task of pouring the form-fitting seats in all four cars. This is a new rule implemented by NHRA and the Jet Advisory Board, of which both Darin and Richard are members. The seats now have zero voids and no room for movement in the event of a crash; thus reducing the risk of injury. The process could have been a huge mess; like a small volcanic eruption of goo! Because of Gary’s expertise, it went as smooth as silk! It’s not a simple task to begin with, and then multiplying it by four… Thanks Gary for doing a great job!
In January, Richard had his “arm twisted” and spent 10 days in New Zealand, where it was a balmy 85 degrees. He called it a “working vacation”… right! A friend of his, Steve Zahorodny in Auckland, bought a (less-than-perfect) jet funny-car. When Richard arrived, Steve and his family & crew attacked that car with one goal…get it running to do a fire show in just 5 days! New Zealand is a beautiful country and the people love their motor-sports, but it’s like living on Gilligan’s Island; trying to make parts out of banana peels and coconut shells! Most of the parts on the car did not work or were hooked up incorrectly. After many scenarios of “1 step forward 2 steps back”, the team was able to perform at the Fire Show; making two shake-down runs on Sunday. Richard was honored with the Kiwi flag recognizing his degree in “Kiwi Ingenuity”. As soon as he returned home to the states, he sent a “care package” of parts that had to be replaced. The moral of this story…buyer beware!
Darin is planning on a lot of testing in March, both on the tie-down and on the track. His tune-up wizardry will assure respectable performances from all the cars! The end of the “off-season” is almost here, so it’s time to …Git’er done!
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