Getting off to a good start in racing means keeping within a grassroots budget. After all, the less it cost, the more time you can spend on the track, and the more seat time you get, the faster you are going to be. It’s that simple.
Building a reliable and fast car can be complicated, especially to those who are new to the sport. Because of my involvement in racing and my many years of professional involvement in the automotive industry, I have been able to see a common phenomenon among beginners: They tend to cut corners. They attempt to cut costs by doing things on their cars that would be better left to the pros.
Any racer worth a darn will agree that in their early years they were not cost efficient. Many times attempting to reduce expenses ultimately ends up costing more, or at the very least netting poor results. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to save. I simply suggest looking at the whole picture.
For beginners of grassroots racing, it can be a difficult concept to comprehend, but much of the initial setup and build is best left to professionals who truly know what they are doing. For example, I had been a professional mechanic for years and I had the tools, and resources to build anything. So why would I even consider paying someone else to help me build a car? I won’t bore you with the details, but even with my tools and knowledge, not to mention my friends telling me even the village idiot could build a race car, what I learned was how little it cost to have a quality race shop perform tasks like installing suspension packages, fabricating custom projects and roll cages.
Not only was it affordable, but because of their years of experience and tools, they know all the tricks, and have a complete understanding of what works best — and they don’t cut corners. The end result is a better, faster and safer car that requires less attention and ultimately less expense in the long run, which offers NASA beginners a better experience. When I first started allowing the pros to help with the build process of my cars, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I watched in awe and was impressed by what seemed like even the simplest task.
The end result means fewer breakdowns and a car that handles and performs better than it would have if had I listened to friends or tried to do it myself.
Now here’s a tip that just may blow your mind, and one many old timers like myself use all the time. You will be surprised how easy it is to go straight to the top when asking questions. Too many times rookies believe those big racing guys don’t have time for grassroots racers, and even if they did, they would probably want an arm and a leg just to talk to you. Wrong! They want to do anything they can to promote the sport and their products.
I have spoken in person with famous racers, car and engine builders, and even big name guys like Junior Johnson, Carroll Shelby, Bob Bondurant, Ed Iskenderian and Vic Edelbrock by simply by picking up the phone and calling. You will be surprised just how willing they are to help, and if they don’t have the answer, they usually are more than willing to help you get in touch with someone who does.
Go ahead, try it. You just may be surprised. Keep in mind, it’s called grassroots racing, not cash-roots.