In 2018, Double Nickel Nine Motorsports, based right here in little Del Rey, Calif. won the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) Honda Challenge 4 road racing National Championship at the Circuit of the Americas race track in Austin, Texas.
Yes, that is quite a long title to spit out, so we just refer to ourselves as National Champions to keep things brief. After that feat, our team went on to win the SoCal Regional Honda Challenge 4 Championship after team driver Keith Kramer, in the No. 33 Acura Integra, took first place during the final race weekend of the season.
So, what is the team up to in 2019? Winning more races, of course.
We polished up our three team cars and headed to the first race of the season at our home track, Buttonwillow Raceway Park, down on Interstate 5 and Lerdo Highway. On April 20 during the Honda Challenge race, the story is brief: I took first place, while driving our No. 38 car, and broke a track record that had stood for seven years.
There is just not much story to tell here. We came, and we won. After the victory, to challenge ourselves, we signed up for the 3-hour enduro race on that Saturday night, running in the ST6 class. That required us to install headlights on our back-up Honda Challenge race car and get the pit crew ready for fuel stops, driver swaps and any repairs that may be needed.
Keith and I shared driving duties in the long race. And when the checkered flag waved, we picked up a second-place finish. Not too bad of a day at the race track, two races, a first and a second place. We can thank our pit crew: Stephen Young, Brandon Lindlahr, Dave Nees, Bryce Lindlahr, Randy Krider, Robert Shadowens, Travis Kramer and Roy Lindlahr for that second place trophy because they were awesome (and fast) over the pit wall.
On that Sunday, Kieth brought home the final trophy for our team and earned a third place in the Honda Challenge race, giving the team an entire podium of awards for our trophy case back at the shop in Del Rey. Keith’s solid consistent driving is what brought the team the Regional Championship last year and is filling up our shop with trophies.
In the weeks prior to the racing weekend, we were busy prepping the cars and getting everything ready for the competition. Winning our two separate championships last year provided us with a season’s worth of Toyo racing tires for free from Toyo Tires. This is a great benefit to our local team, but it makes for a lot of work for the staff at Sanger Tire, who tirelessly mounts and perfectly balances all of our racing tires. We couldn’t do it without their support.
At the track, the staff from J&B Farms comes out and barbecues and feeds the entire pit crew during the weekend. This is no easy task, the boys from DNN Motorsports bring quite an appetite. When the races are over, the team enjoys craft brew IPAs from Tactical Ops Brewing in Fresno, which has a beer named after our team, Double Nickel Nine IPA. The brewery is kind enough to supply the team with plenty of libations for celebrating after a solid weekend like the one we just had.
The part of the story I have failed to mention (because it’s embarrassing) is the part where I bent some sheet metal on the 38 car during that Sunday’s qualifying race. I “touched” another driver (that is racer talk for “I hit a car”) and was disqualified for my on track contact. The front of the 38 car has been redecorated with some new dents.
Luckily for me, but not lucky for the staff at Olson Auto Body, I know some awesome and talented people right here in Sanger who can fix the “bent” front end. Eventually, the folks at Olson Auto Body are going to tire of my shenanigans.
None of these racing adventures or championship trophies being brought back to the Central Valley would be possible without the help of many companies and people: the DNN Motorsports pit crew, J&B Farms, Olson Auto Body, Sanger Tire, Tactical Ops Brewing, Kenclaire Electrical, Economy Stock Feed, Carbotech Brakes, Speed Factory Racing, Hasport Motor Mounts, TEM Machine Shop, Performance In-Frame Tuning, Bay Ex, Chandler Autosport, Eibach Springs, Motion Control Suspension, I/O Port Racing Supplies, Autopower, Racepak, ESS Fire Systems, "Cadet Blues" the novel, Insane Shafts, Hardrace, Unorthodox Racing, Smart Racing Products, Synchrotech Transmissions, Devsport, AEM Electronics, RS 683 Brake Fluid, Sampson Racing Communications, Phase 2 Motortrend and HA Motorsports.
DNN recently picked up a new sponsor, Kingpin Machine.
The team’s next event will be back at Buttonwillow Raceway on June 15-16 for more racing mayhem. The goal will be to win again, but not crash the car in the process. Note to self: Don’t crash the car!
To see more from the team, go to www.team559.com or follow KriderRacing on Instagram.
Rob Krider is the author of the novel, "Cadet Blues," and can be reached through www.robkrider.com.