The outside of the shop doesn’t have a big flashy sign that says “Race Team Stuff In Here!” It is just a place for a couple of privateers to store and work on their toys. The less people know about what’s behind these thin aluminum walls the better.

The first full-blown road-racing car I ever built, I did with my brother in a dark apartment carport, in 40-degree weather. We built it with a half-dead flashlight, a set of Costco sockets, and a grease-covered Haynes manual. At the end of each night, we had to take all the tools back into the apartment and put a tarp over the car, hoping our shady neighbors wouldn’t figure out the car didn’t need a key to be driven away. I take pride in that we won some races with that car, but I never want to do that again. It wasn’t fun.

On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve had the opportunity to tour professional race shops, and I am always blown away by how clean and organized they are. I’m in awe at the design and ergonomics that go into building a proper race shop. I’ve often dreamed about what it would be like to design my own workspace. When my friend and racing partner, Keith Kramer, said he wanted to use some space on his property to build a racing shop for Double Nickel Nine Motorsports, I was ecstatic to help.

This space was a covered parking area before it was enclosed to become the Double Nickel Nine Motorsports headquarters. Because it was essentially a blank canvas, it allowed us to design anything we wanted to create a great space to build and maintain our toys.
This space was a covered parking area before it was enclosed to become the Double Nickel Nine Motorsports headquarters. Because it was essentially a blank canvas, it allowed us to design anything we wanted to create a great space to build and maintain our toys.

The first thing we looked at was what we wanted to accomplish. We have crap everywhere. Some stuff is in the trailer. Some stuff is in my garage. Some stuff is in Keith’s garage. We wanted a place where everything was in one location. We wanted to design a space where we could work on cars and store all our gear, tools, uniforms, radios, spare parts, etc., in one place. We also wanted a spot to store a motorhome indoors. Motorhomes get thrashed by the sun and we knew we could keep ours nice if we just kept it out of the elements while it was in storage. We included in the design of the shop a 130-amp plug for the RV and put in a faucet for water to clean the floor or add water to the motorhome.

We installed a 12-foot roll-up door so we could store the team motorhome inside. This large clean space also is available for bigger projects by moving the RV outside.
We installed a 12-foot roll-up door so we could store the team motorhome inside. This large clean space also is available for bigger projects by moving the RV outside.

Our first design priority was a two-post lift. For years we worked on our cars at Performance In-Frame Tuning in Napa, Calif., and learned there that there is nothing handier than a lift for working on racecars. These lifts cost $1,400 and are worth every penny. My days of jack stands and lying on my back are over — except at the racetrack every other weekend where I put the car on jack stands and lie on my back.

The pride and joy of Double Nickel Nine Motorsports’ shop is the two-post lift. You also can see we have tire racks galore. We painted the walls of the shop white and added lots of overhead lighting to ensure we could see what we were working on.
The pride and joy of Double Nickel Nine Motorsports’ shop is the two-post lift. You also can see we have tire racks galore. We painted the walls of the shop white and added lots of overhead lighting to ensure we could see what we were working on.

Once we had the position of the lift figured out, we plumbed in air lines on reels all around it to give us access for air tools. We also placed numerous outlets around the lift at 40 inches high so we don’t have to bend over to plug and unplug things. We used separate circuits from one outlet to the next, so if we were using two different high-amperage tools, we would not trip a breaker. We also added an outlet on the lift for powering a handheld light for looking under the car.

All outlets in the shop have USB connectivity for charging GoPro cameras and other gear. The shop also is wired for HDMI, Cat 5, auxiliary cords for audio, you name it.
All outlets in the shop have USB connectivity for charging GoPro cameras and other gear. The shop also is wired for HDMI, Cat 5, auxiliary cords for audio, you name it.
Instead of a hose reel, our shop has a hose wheel. The busted rim is a little memento from a Honda Challenge race earlier this season. Next to the hose wheel is a 130-amp receptacle for our RV.
Instead of a hose reel, our shop has a hose wheel. The busted rim is a little memento from a Honda Challenge race earlier this season. Next to the hose wheel is a 130-amp receptacle for our RV.

We painted the walls white and installed bright lights so we can see what we are working on. We added multiple racks to keep wheels and tires off of the floor and out of the way. We built three benches, each with a different job. One bench was for heavy fabrication. One was built for smaller projects, and one was built as a clean bench for cutting vinyl. We designed cabinets to hold all our gear. The cabinet under the fabrication bench goes all the way to the floor for storing engines and transmissions. The cabinets near the other benches have outlets inside them for charging radios, GoPro cameras, tools, transponders, etc.

Each of the blue cabinets holds certain gear: driving suits, radios, with outlets in the cabinets for charging, parts, fluids, etc. The large drawers are for storing rolls of vinyl for cutting decals. One bench is covered in stainless steel for dirty projects and the other is covered in a cutting-board material for cleaner projects and cutting vinyl.
Each of the blue cabinets holds certain gear: driving suits, radios, with outlets in the cabinets for charging, parts, fluids, etc. The large drawers are for storing rolls of vinyl for cutting decals. One bench is covered in stainless steel for dirty projects and the other is covered in a cutting-board material for cleaner projects and cutting vinyl.
The “dirty bench” is a place to do grimy jobs. It has a vice, an air line for blowing off metal shavings, a sink nearby, and a cabinet underneath it that goes to the floor to store spare transmissions and engines. Next to it we have more dry-erase boards and speakers to keep the heavy metal blasting during late-night thrash fests to get the racecar ready.
The “dirty bench” is a place to do grimy jobs. It has a vice, an air line for blowing off metal shavings, a sink nearby, and a cabinet underneath it that goes to the floor to store spare transmissions and engines. Next to it we have more dry-erase boards and speakers to keep the heavy metal blasting during late-night thrash fests to get the racecar ready.

We included office space in the shop for ordering parts, doing research, and taking care of the day-to-day business of race-team management. The office space included multimedia wiring/outlets for computers and video replay. The office also included cabinets for storing paperwork and binders filled with track and racecar setup data. We also installed a trophy case to show off all of our victories and a refrigerator to keep Double Nickel Nine IPA made by Tactical Ops Brewing cold at all times.

The office has cabinets above the desk to store rulebooks, binders filled with setup information and shop manuals. The most important part of the shop is the refrigerator, which is always stocked with Tactical Ops Brewing craft beer.
The office has cabinets above the desk to store rulebooks, binders filled with setup information and shop manuals. The most important part of the shop is the refrigerator, which is always stocked with Tactical Ops Brewing craft beer.

We added a large rolling toolbox, with magnetic labels on the drawers to keep things easy to find. The shop walls are covered in dry-erase boards for to-do lists and reminders. We added a sink for hand washing and included a first-aid station. The entire shop is wired with speakers, which run off a phone app to wirelessly rock out the tunes during all-nighter engine swaps.

We placed the toolbox near the lift for easy access. We added magnetic labels to the drawers to keep things organized. Repairs go a lot quicker when tools are easy to find.
We placed the toolbox near the lift for easy access. We added magnetic labels to the drawers to keep things organized. Repairs go a lot quicker when tools are easy to find.
We love dry-erase boards. They are an easy way to track all the stuff we need to remember to do. We also love keeping air lines off the floor and out of the way. We placed the air compressor outside to keep the noise down and plumbed air reels all around the lift for easy access.
We love dry-erase boards. They are an easy way to track all the stuff we need to remember to do. We also love keeping air lines off the floor and out of the way. We placed the air compressor outside to keep the noise down and plumbed air reels all around the lift for easy access.
Having a place to wash your hands is crucial in a race shop. We also have a rubber-glove dispenser to keep hands clean for really dirty jobs, and a first aid kit.
Having a place to wash your hands is crucial in a race shop. We also have a rubber-glove dispenser to keep hands clean for really dirty jobs, and a first aid kit.
What shop would be complete without a trophy case? A shop for losers. You can see on the top shelf our prized possession: a NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill clock. Those are hard to get. The importance of the trophy case is to ensure our wives don’t throw away our “dusty, phallic, useless, plastic, 10-year-old, egotistical, symbols of how much money we wasted on racing.”
What shop would be complete without a trophy case? A shop for losers. You can see on the top shelf our prized possession: a NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill clock. Those are hard to get. The importance of the trophy case is to ensure our wives don’t throw away our “dusty, phallic, useless, plastic, 10-year-old, egotistical, symbols of how much money we wasted on racing.”

Once the shop was built for function, we added some fun to the mix by hanging racecar body panels on the walls as well as inspirational quotes to keep us motivated for the goal at hand: winning races. We are happy with the final product and enjoy the space. The only problem is we like to sit in it, watch racing videos, drink beer and stare at our trophies. Nobody seems to want to work on the car.

Hanging over the door at the shop is a little reminder for everyone as we tinker on our cars before a race weekend.
Hanging over the door at the shop is a little reminder for everyone as we tinker on our cars before a race weekend.
On the roll-up door we added our little mantra “Where Do We Go From Here?” to remind us to stay positive no matter how bad things get while working on racecars.
On the roll-up door we added our little mantra “Where Do We Go From Here?” to remind us to stay positive no matter how bad things get while working on racecars.
This space was created to maintain racecars, but it also was built as a man’s clubhouse to hang out, enjoy some beers and do some bench racing. We hung hoods from previous racecars and added track lighting.
This space was created to maintain racecars, but it also was built as a man’s clubhouse to hang out, enjoy some beers and do some bench racing. We hung hoods from previous racecars and added track lighting.
Once the shop was complete, we put it into action by building a Honda Challenge car. It was amazing how much quicker the build went with adequate lighting, a lift, easy access to air lines, organized tools, and a dedicated work space for the car.
Once the shop was complete, we put it into action by building a Honda Challenge car. It was amazing how much quicker the build went with adequate lighting, a lift, easy access to air lines, organized tools, and a dedicated work space for the car.

To read more from Rob Krider, or to contact him, go to www.robkrider.com.

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Image courtesy of Rob Krider