Want to Start Your Own Race Team? 6 Things to Consider First

6 Things You Need to Know First

So you go to your local race track. You sit up in the stands on a hot Saturday night thinking, “This looks so easy. I can do this! I know how to drive! That guy sucks; I know I can do better than him!”

You have dreams of standing in victory lane kissing the trophy girl while one of your crew members standing next to you holds a Happy Gilmore sized big check with your name on it posing for photos. Fans screaming your name, kids lining up to get your autograph, and your other crew members are having a hard time seeing because they’re spraying each other with ice cold beer.

So before you start thinking about which room in your house is going to be your trophy room, consider these 6 essential topics about starting your own race team first.

1. WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO WORK ON YOUR SPRINTER, MOD OR HORNET?

Yep, gotta have a shop. Gotta store the car inside someplace to build your car, build spare parts, store spare parts, and your tools. All of your prep work is done here before even thinking about leaving for the track.

2. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO WORK ON THE CAR?

Dzus Button Fastener Tool

You’ve got to have tools and a tool box. And I mean more than just what a normal person would have in their garage. Wrenches, screwdrivers, and the 113 piece socket set you got from your mother-in-law for Christmas just isn’t going to cut it.

I’m talking about a 60 gallon air compressor, welder, torque wrench, jack, air/electric impact wrenches, tap/die set, grinder, and a torch just to name a few.

And we haven’t even gotten to the specialty tools yet: a bead breaker, tire groover, glow in the dark psi gauge, dzus button tool, oil filter cutter, radius rod gauge, valve lash torque wrench, stagger tape measure, and a weather station, just to name a few….. Not all of this will fit in your tool box either, so see #1 above.

3. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET TO THE TRACK?

Got to get that car from the shop with all your tools, spare parts, fuel, extra tires, and beer cooler to the track. Open trailer, enclosed trailer, or the ultimate 53 footer. Just remember you need something to pull it too…

4. WHO IS GOING TO HELP YOU OUT?

You need crew members at the track. Somebody has to pull your seat belts tight before you roll out of the pits. Have a flat tire and you gotta pit? Somebody has to change it.

Need help to load/unload the car and all your tools onto the trailer? Maybe you can con your friends into doing it, your relatives, or even your neighbor. But if they aren’t mechanically inclined or haven’t helped you out at the shop working on the car, can you really trust them when you ask, “You tightened all the wheels, right?”

Not everyone likes the view from the pits, or would rather sit in the stands and drink beer and watch rather than get greasy and dirty with you, no matter your relationship with them.

5. YOUR LEVEL OF MECHANICAL EXPERIENCE. 

What do you know about cars? Can you build a roll cage? Can you run the valves? Mount tires? Weld? Camber/caster? Offset rims? Square the rear end to within a 16th of an inch? And I’m just talking about building the car, not racing it.

At the track on race night, you’ve got to fine tune your ride to changing track conditions (heavy/dry slick).

Changing torsion bars on sprint car. Image credit: onedirt.com

You’ve got to be able to adjust the car with shocks, stagger, air pressure, torsion bar stops, aerodynamics (wing angle), gears, fueling, just to name a few.

How does the car feel on corner entry, mid corner, exiting the corner? Are you tight or loose entering? Are you tight or loose in mid corner? On exit? Do I have the right stagger to run the bottom grove? Or should I run the cushion? How do I make these adjustments? Do I change everything? One thing at a time? Things to consider that will drive you nuts.

6. MONEY!!!

You already knew this one right? Somebody in racing with much wisdom was once asked, “How do you make a million dollars in racing?” He replied, “Start with 2 million.”

Racing is expensive, even for the local weekend warrior. Whether you’re racing a hornet, enduro car, sprinter, street stock, it all adds up.  See #’s 1, 2, and 3. And we haven’t even talked about buying the car, chassis, engine, tires, etc.

IN CONCLUSION

Well, hopefully I didn’t change your mind about starting your own race team. We need all the race teams we can get at our local race tracks. And every race team brings about 5-10 people in the stands with them. Those 5-10 people have to pay their entrance fee, maybe buy a hotdog, nachos, popcorn, pop, or beer, so it adds up.

Those same fans pay the purse money whether you finish first or last. So the next time you think, “I can do better than that guy!” Remember the sacrifices he or she is going through just to get that car ONTO the racetrack for your viewing pleasure.

Maybe after the races, you can bring him one of your ice cold beers……

About Russell 27 Articles
Entrepreneur. Former sprint car driver. Marketer. Teacher.

4 Comments

  1. Nice article on starting your own race team as I was thinking of starting one with my mate. So its good to read a post on it to get a different view on things and their was a few points you made that I didn’t think about so thanks as its opened my eyes on things

    • Thanks for reading Andy! Yeah, starting a race team can be difficult and it’s a lot of the little things that you need to consider before buying a race car. What type of race team were you thinking about starting? 

  2. Ok, so I was lucky enough to be on the pit crew for a America lemons race in laguna seca raceway! Peterson motor sports. What a trip. I’m not really a pit crew member I was just feeling in for the race. Great experience though. So looking through your site I noticed the dzus button tool, exactly what is that? What does it do? I hope I didn’t miss any explanation of it. Also my brother was a member of Collen’s motor sports out of Las Vegas a desert racing outfit. Didn’t mean to talk about my experiences but your site took me back to some good old days. I guess that’s a good thing. I’m also an avid angler, I have never herd of river bum, how do you like their products?

    • Thanks for reading Peter! Great questions! Dzus clips are used on body panels that need to be opened/closed/removed. The clips are used instead of rivets, which would not allow opening/closing. A sprint car hood is secured to the frame with dzus clips, and the clips can be removed to install/remove the hood. A dzus tool is basically a large flat screwdriver, but doesn’t ruin the head of the dzus clip when turned. 

      River Bum is based out of Arizona. They mostly supply products for fly fishing. I love their flies!

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