Crew dogs only

Ridelikeadiesel

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I was pondering this one on the way home from my last race, and enjoy hearing good stories. So..... we know what keeps drivers coming back. They get to go race. For crew though, it has to come from somewhere else. I know that I love the competition and the challenge. When some yahoo brings my car (well the owners car, but don't we all consider it our car in some way?) back broken, and I get to help put him back on the course, its a win for me. At the start of a race, I'm just as nervous and wound up as the driver. Time spent working with great people, in the shop. Amazing roadtrips. Good food. It just seems like lunacy, the amount of time we spend working on other peoples' stuff, but you couldn't pry me away from, it with a crowbar. What keeps the diehard crew dogs in it? Lets hear some stories from crew folks.
 

bajafox

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For, 10+ years ago helping out a team was to get a chance to get in the car. I was lucky enough to jump in a few cars going that route.

Now, I just do it for fun. I'm already at the races anyway so if my friends or family need help I'll help.
 

biggjim

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There's No "I" in team.....The driver is the one up on the podium....but with out his crew he wouldn't be there. For me... I go because I have that same drive of competition as everyone else on the team....I want that win as bad as the driver/car owner....and it isn't costing me anything but my time. I've been in the car, but I'd rather be in the chase truck/pit planning our next move.
 

Ridelikeadiesel

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You're totally right about "planning the next move". I love the logistics side of racing; pit plan, race plan, radio contact, being prepared for so many different contingencies. As far as being competitive, I absolutely agree. I'm not there for the party. I'm there to win races, with my team.
 

biggjim

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You're totally right about "planning the next move". I love the logistics side of racing; pit plan, race plan, radio contact, being prepared for so many different contingencies. As far as being competitive, I absolutely agree. I'm not there for the party. I'm there to win races, with my team.
The party is a bit of a byproduct of getting the team together.... If there is time...we party a little...if not we don't. Its pretty easy to put a plan together for a perfect day of racing.... its alot harder to make things happen when something blows up in your face. Our group seems to work real well together.
 

az_amsoil

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I really enjoy the challenge of pushing the vehicle through the course and to the finish. I have no interest getting behind the wheel. For me, the logistics and the shear will power the team makes in order to get the vehicle to the finish is a sense of accomplishment. I liken myself to a Sargent in the field, providing real time assistance and encouragement. Plus the off-road racing family is second to none! So many friendships have been made during my time as a chase member.
 

Zac Reish

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You guys are the backbone of offroad. there would not be off-road racing without crews to turn a piece of trash into a winning machine
 

BigBlue&Goldie

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I like watching the cars go by.........



Really though, we have a lot of fun. Nothing beats listening to the radio in anticipation of the next mile marker call out. Racing is a team deal, and it's fun to hang out with family and friends. You don't have to drive to have the same desire to win.
 

royrjs

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I can't explain it, but you surely understand; it's living the good times at the shop, whether I'm only part of the logistics or actually getting hands on the car, the thrill and the agony during the race, the urge of doing whatever it's necessary to do in order to get that damn car to the finish line, hopefully getting a podium, but first of all getting it to the finish line.

And the good times of the race recaps, having a carne asada, watching the in-car footage.

It doesn't matter if you're part of a high-dollar, fast c10 team at SCORE, or a garage built c11 warrior at RECORD (which I'm part of both), it's all the same camaraderie, fun and excitement that makes me wanna prep my truck to be ready to chase the next race.
 

randy68

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Good crew dawg....:

 

tapeworm

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It's the competition. It's not only the car racing for the win, it's the pit crews racing to be the fastest tire changers, best chase crews, and knowing you played a small part in the big picture of finishing or winning a race. I like winning in any capacity, behind the wheel or changing a wheel, the competition is what keeps me coming back. That competitive drive with good people around you is what is so bada$$ and makes sitting in the pits so much fun. I will admit, it is a lot more enjoyable being at a race where the cars drive by at race pace instead of 25 miles an hour.
 

Rick 1634

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Meet Buddy, the Pit Captain.
SAM_0740.JPG
He works for table scraps...
 

Baja Jim

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You're totally right about "planning the next move". I love the logistics side of racing; pit plan, race plan, radio contact, being prepared for so many different contingencies. As far as being competitive, I absolutely agree. I'm not there for the party. I'm there to win races, with my team.
While I am a car owner your statement is 100% spot on. I love pitting for friends when I'm not racing. Every situation in life happens during an off-road race. You have to prepare, you have to have a strategy, you have to overcome adversity (no race is perfect), you have work as a team to over come adversity, its fun, its fast, its dangerous. And your with like minded people that all love the sport and being in the dirt. (if you don't love this sport you will be gone fast)

I have driven 12 hours each way to a 250 mile race to pit for friends and turn around and drive home. This is a crazy sport, but I can't get it out of my blood
 

OFFRD-JNKIE

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For me its in my blood to be a part of offroad racing! My father pitted and chased when I was young stopped while I was in my sporting years growing up and now we chase and help a couple teams every year. That being said for us its the comeraderie (sp), the challenge, opportunities to go all over the south western part of the country and Baja. I have made friends for life bring involved with offroad teams many of them I met here on RDC and I look forward to raising my son with the same passions and desires.
 

WALSHMOTORSPORTS

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This is so true. I drove solo from Long Beach to Laughlin and back this past weekend. Actually enjoyed some alone time in my truck. (please do not tell my wife I said that!) I've been chasing for approx. 10 years now. I do have a few races of my own 1000's on a bike and cars.
But my wife just doesn't get why I will drive 300 miles each way out to the desert or mexico to crawl under a dirty race car, stay up for 24 hours, weld, grind, change tires, find a lost race car, get all greasy in the dirt repairing a CV boot, etc......Yet I won't lift a finger to get up on a ladder to paint the eves on my house. I tell her "Honey.....it's just to dangerous on that ladder."
 

JDDurfey

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I haven't raced in a few years, but 15 years ago I started going to Baja on my own dime as the "crew chief" for a bike team. I took time off work and paid my own gas, food, and hotel for up to a week. I would pre-run with my friends and help put the finishing touches on the race bike. I planned quite a bit of the race logistics. I made a lot of race day decisions that led us to some great finishes. We were 3rd overall and 3rd bike behind the Honda teams in the 01 Baja 500, partly due to a raceday decision I made. Then in 03 I help some of the same guys win the Class 30 championship. I made the decision not to quit after the lights broke on the bike, but fixed what I could and got the rider back on course to finish in the daylight. Because of that finish we won the championship.

That led me to start riding with Hooters in 05 as both the resident "fast guy" on the team and the logistics/crew chief/ mechanic/ bike prep guy. My best friend and I were able to help 4 guys that had never been to Baja finish 4th in Sportsman bike at the 1000 that year. They fell in love with Baja after having such a great experience. I loved every minute of it. I had a lot to do and think about but I loved it. When we added a 1600 car to the program, I continued in my race day logistics roll for both car and bike, as well as rode the bike and navigated in the car in the same races. For the 07 500 I organized our bike team, Class 1 car, and a 1600 car effort. I had guys going every which way with contingencies if any thing happened or broke. The bike and the 1600 car finished, but the Class 1 broke a steering rod and rolled.

We were not a fast team, we were never going to win, but I loved the coordinating aspect and planning of the race day. I loved prepping the bike, knowing that when I pushed it to the start line, that unless it was crashed really hard it would finish. I drove from Ensenada to south of San Felipe one day just so I could mark an access road to the course I knew about but couldn't exactly remember where it was so a "newby" could find it a few days later while pre-running. It brought such a great feeling of accomplishment when the chase crew told me later that they had no problem finding the two track and the rider that day because of my markings. Several times I decided to only give a rider 75 miles to ride because he was going to ride the SF whoops. At first they were not happy, but when they realized how big of an asset that is to have a guy that can rip a difficult section with out worry of needing energy for 200 miles after that, they were happy with the task. I made last minute pit changes, like we saw in Dust 2 Glory, when Neil Grider decided not to do a tire change so Andy could pass the Factory Honda team with no dust. (I was standing in that pit that after noon, in fact, I can be seen helping put the tire on the Factory bike) I made that same call in the 01 500. I would get a great rush of adrenaline after making good decisions, knowing I had just helped move the team forward.

I probably won't ever get behind the wheel of a race car for any length of time. Nor will I every receive the glory of an accomplished racer, but I loved my "job" for the teams I helped and rode with. I know I was appreciated for what I did that is all that mattered to me.
 

martein

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I have been on both sides of the coin and hands down I would rather be in the car on race day. That being said if I am not in the car I find pleasure in solving problems and fixing things. Desert racing has so many variables that it is impossible to have enough contingency plans to solve them all. This makes desert racing the ultimate in high speed problems solving. On race day often you have seconds to formulate a complex plan and minutes or less to execute that plan.

I also enjoy helping guys that have spent everything they have to take their shot at creating a moment in their life that will become an old man story for their grandchildren. I find that many times people flock to the big dogs and rich guys hoping to ride on the coat tails of their success only to be cast aside at a whim with no appreciation. I enjoy helping the guy push the boulder up the hill rather than riding coat tails. When the guys that struggle to pay for the parts or burn all their vacation to get to the races get a finish or even a podium there is a satisfaction in being part of helping them achieve their goals.

You have to find the right team to make it worth while. For me personally I feel it is a waste of time, effort and money to help someone who gives up as soon as their is a slight problem. I also have no use for people that treat their crew members as employees or servants. Either of those scinarios and I will just find something else to do with my family. I want to race with people who are there to make it happen between the green and the checkered but can relax and laugh with each other over some good food afterwards.
 

Weatherman

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I started into Off Road Racing, pitting for Bill Stroppe at a HDRA Race out of some place down south, (my memory isn't in to this). I was pitting with Carl Hartsmeth and his wife Nancy when I suggested a Nascar type pit stop! They didn't feel it was important as it was a 300 mile race. I asked if there was ever a condition, that after 300 miles, that the race was won by seconds? Anyway we practiced over and over and over again and the result was, Fricker radioed back, "great 18 second pit stop"! At Barstow where Rod Hall and Jim Fricker won in reverse!! We practiced again, over and over and over again! That was a timed 21 second pit stop! What was done you might ask? With Carl and Nancy, 3 dump cans, kick the tires and clean the windshield. At a full Stroppe Pit we did the 3 dump cans and cleaned the windshield plus changed a flat left front tire and a new spare and Fricker didn't have enough time to eat his banana!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was hooked and 40 years later I'm still here.

This is a great thread keep it active.
 

OldStroppeTeam

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I started into Off Road Racing, pitting for Bill Stroppe at a HDRA Race out of some place down south, (my memory isn't in to this). I was pitting with Carl Hartsmeth and his wife Nancy when I suggested a Nascar type pit stop! They didn't feel it was important as it was a 300 mile race. I asked if there was ever a condition, that after 300 miles, that the race was won by seconds? Anyway we practiced over and over and over again and the result was, Fricker radioed back, "great 18 second pit stop"! At Barstow where Rod Hall and Jim Fricker won in reverse!! We practiced again, over and over and over again! That was a timed 21 second pit stop! What was done you might ask? With Carl and Nancy, 3 dump cans, kick the tires and clean the windshield. At a full Stroppe Pit we did the 3 dump cans and cleaned the windshield plus changed a flat left front tire and a new spare and Fricker didn't have enough time to eat his banana!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was hooked and 40 years later I'm still here.

This is a great thread keep it active.?
We are in it for the friends we have made over the years !

but that was just yesterday, wasn't it Bob ?
 

airbag1

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This is a great thread!

I am often asked by those who have never experienced desert racing, why I spend so much time and effort in it if I'm not in the truck.

First, I was born a Geiser, you kinda default into this kind of thing :)

But the truth is that, as stated above a lot of it really has to do with the people you meet along the way and the friendships that are born in the heat of competition. I also love all of the pre work that goes into the races, to set up a plan of attack for a race then have to adjust that plan on the fly according to what a race hands you along the way. We may not be in the drivers seat, but we are just as driven to win and constantly evaluating what we can do better the next pit. As someone said above, the pit crews may not cross the finish line, but neither would the drivers if we don't do our jobs well and I could not agree more. I am fortunate that I get to participate at the highest level of a sport I love with such a great group of guys. To all my RPM Off Road and Geiser Bros amigo's, it was truly a pleasure to complete and succeed this year, let go bigger and better in 2016!
 
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