Having grown up drag racing, Rob Krider knew the standing-start in Honda Challenge 4 could work to his advantage in the Championship race. What he couldn’t anticipate was a pair of yellow flags that kept class competitors within striking distance.
None of that mattered as Krider won his first Championship as a rookie driver in the Honda Challenge 4 series.
“I got the standing-start advantage and then I put some (Honda Challenge 2) cars between myself and the rest of the field,” Krider said. “I just ran with H2 cars as much as I could so that they could fight it out behind me. There were a lot of ugly things happening that I had nothing to do with.”
Krider turned the best lap time in the nine-team field, posting a 2:07.83 that was nearly a full second faster than second-place finisher Manny Coats. Keith Kramer grabbed third in his 1993 Acura Integra.
Kramer was surprised at how hard the drivers mixed it up considering how the strong winds and dust that buffeted the track.
“That was the most physical race I’ve ever been in,” Kramer said. “A lot of dirty stuff was going on, my driving included. I was off the track twice at my own doing.
“This is unbelievable man,” he added. “I had the time of my life. We worked six months on these two cars and all the hard work paid off.”
Coats almost didn’t make the race because of electrical problems, but some well-placed zip ties fixed the problem long enough to get a spot on the podium.
“We literally got out to the track with only a few minutes to spare,” Coats said. “We still didn’t quite figure it out. We used some zip ties, hoped for the best and it fixed it.”
Krider savored the victory as he received kudos from various Honda Challege 4 competitors. Krider powered his Team Double Nickel Nine car to a first and third in the qualifying races.
“To start in Honda Challenge as a rookie for the series and then win it at the end was fantastic and really cool, it’s a great feeling,” Krider said. “To be the 2016 Western States National Champion is a huge honor for me.”