Questions for … Tommy Rider of Rider Racing Engines
It’s always been popular out here. There are so many tracks – probably five or six in the area where we live (Harrisburg, Pa.). There are a lot of people who enjoy going to watch it, who remember when they went with their dad or mom. We get a diverse crowd, people of all ages, it’s really cool. William’s Grove has the Beer Hill gang, a bunch of kids that sit up on Beer Hill and watch the races. And then, it’s always a big party in the parking lot.
What makes a winning engine? How do you choose which parts to use?
Your customers want something that’s really capable of winning. It’s a fine line of juggling the most performance that you can out of an engine but still keeping it reliable. The stuff we put in there are the best parts we can possibly find.
Why use Del West valves and valvetrain components?
Del West’s reputation speaks for itself. You guys have been the top of the valve industry for years. The parts are absolutely trouble-free. We’ve been using them for years and never had a problem with them.
Anything else you do that you think gives your shop an edge?
There are definitely some builders out there that are like production shops. Here, there are five employees that rebuild two motors a week. We spend a lot of time making sure everything’s right.
What’s your routine at the race track? Do you stay in the stands or go down to the track?
I’m always in the pits. I spend the night walking around, seeing to the teams and trying to help them out. If you want your business to do well, you need to spend some time keeping your customers happy.
How about in the shop? What’s the atmosphere like there?
Most of the time it’s relaxed. 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 not hard, manual labor. It’s very precise work – working within tenths of thousands of an inch sometimes. 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.