DW Profile: Rider Racing Engines of Mechanicsburg, Penn.
For Thomas Rider, there is no such thing as a standard race car engine – because there's no such thing as a standard driver.
"Every driver is a little bit different," said Rider, who works with his father at Rider Racing Engines in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
That's why Rider Racing makes sure each engine fits its driver, rather than the other way around. It's the way they've done business since the company began, thirty years ago, in the senior Tom Rider's garage. And today, it’s the only way they know how to build successful Sprint car engines.
Recent winning Rider drivers include Stevie Smith who won the Tuscarora 50 on September 10 and Tyler Walker who won $50,000 at Kings Royal on July 16. "Our job," the younger Rider said, "is about working with the driver to create the right motor combination for them."
That means using Del West valvetrain components. "Del West's reputation speaks for itself," Rider said. "They've been the top of the valve industry for years. They are absolutely trouble-free."
Rider would know. His job begins weekdays, at the shop, where he, his father and five employees work on engines from nine to five – and sometimes beyond. "It's a pretty relaxed place most of the time," he said. “People stop in to hang out and see us a bit. We've got music playing. But if you've got ten hours of work to do, well, you just do it.
"It's very precise stuff --- working within tenths of thousands of an inch sometimes," he continued. "It's not about trying to get as much done as you can in an hour. It's about trying to make sure the work you get done is done right."
Weekends and evenings finds him at the track. "I'm always in the pits," he said. "I spend the night walking around, seeing to the teams and trying to help them out. You need to make sure your customers are happy."
This time of year, the pace is slowing down, from the early summer peak of up to six race days in a row. "By October, it gets down to where it's really one night a week," Rider said. "Then in November, we're back at it really hard, because it's the end of the season, and all of the motors come in at once for rebuilding" to get ready for the season to start again at the end of January.
Rider reports shop business continues to run strong, recession or no recession. "For us, the economy really hasn’t affected our business," he said. "I wouldn't say we've lost any work."
How does Rider Racing do it? A focus on quality, quality, quality.
"The parts we use are the best parts we can possibly put in an engine," Rider says. "Your customers want something that's really capable of winning."
About Del West
Since 1973, Del West Engineering, Inc. has been delivering the best in materials research, mechanical design and precision manufacturing to customers around the globe. Today, the company is renowned for high-tech, high-quality components that power industries as diverse as race cars, watches and aerospace. With facilities in California and Switzerland, Del West has more than 150 employees worldwide. To learn more, please visit us online at www.delwestengineering.com.
Del West. Precisely.
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