With the longer races of the season right around the corner, we wanted to take a closer look at pit books. We asked our staff to bring in some of their pit books they had around the house from various teams they have pitted with or raced with over the years. To win championships, it takes a lot of dedication and preparation. You can have the fastest best handling car out there with the most experienced driver, but if you pull into a unprepared or uninformed pit, it could be a recipe for disaster. How many times have you heard the story about the race car running out of fuel because there was not enough gas poured at the previous pit? Everyone has heard of that story a few times, right? Here is an even better one, you had some downtime in the beginning of the race and now things are starting to click, but your pits support is not in the proper location or has left due to lack of communication. Sounds stupid but we all know it occurs. The greatest way to avoid these common mistakes is proper pit/chase preparation. There are many teams out there that take their pit/chase strategy very serious. Those teams are the ones that tend to win championships year after year.
One of the best and most prepared race teams I have ever seen is the team of Smith Racing. Kevin Smith is the team owner and the man behind the race strategy. Over the years he has won many championships and races.
- Multiple wins District 37 250 expert races
- Multiple wins in Class 1-2 1600 SCORE, and current points leader
- Won every race in BITD except for the Mint 400 (multiple classes)
- 2010 BITD Class 2000 Champion (1-2 1600)
- 3 Time Vegas to Reno winner in 3 different classes. (2000, Trophylite, and over 30 Pro Motorcycle)
- 7 time Main-Event winner Mickey Thompson Super 1600
- 2013 2nd place in points for Trophylite
There are 3 main objectives to creating your race strategy, driver(s), Race Vehicle(s), and pit/chase strategy. To be competitive and win championships all 3 areas must not be overlooked. Your drivers need to be informed about the race course and the vehicle they are driving as well as the competition. Your race vehicle needs the proper race prep and informed drivers and pit crew with specific knowledge about the vehicle. Most teams accomplish the first two objectives very well. The Pit/chase strategies is where the ball is dropped. Whether you are the first vehicle on the road, or suffered early issues in the race, all pit stops are crucial to your teams success.
Kevin Smith’s FSM (Frank Smith Masonry) SS1600 car is a true piece of fabrication mastery. The car is meticulously prepped by one of the best in the industry Jimmy Hook and Hooked Up Motorsports. The prep and attention to detail is second to none. The Pit/chase book we are going to look at is from the 2012 Baja. The registered drivers were Kevin Smith, Sammy Ehrenberg, Jason Coleman, and Rob Archibald. The drivers were extremely well prepared. The Pit/chase book is so well thought out and well organized.
Outline for Pit/Chase Book:
1. Crew & Pit Info- Crew phone list, emergency contact, health/blood types, email, breakdown of crews and locations, chase vehicle assignments
2. Schedule of Events- Race promoters and race teams schedule of events
3. Race course Info- Race map, List of Virtual Check Points (VCP), and speed zones. Zoomed in maps of all race course and pit locations. any update for course or pit changes by the race promoter. Estimated times that the race vehicle should arrive at every pit or visual.
4. Race Entry Info- Copy of race entry form and payment method. IRC order form and payment method, Fuel order form and payment info,
5. Pit Info- Cell phones rates and roaming charges, and coverage for all service providers, Info from additional pit support (BFG and Checkers), Satilite phones information and user guide. Mileage between pits to manage time.
6. Starting Position- complete list of all starting positions and scheduled start times.
7. GPS Info- PCI GPS users “Cheat Sheet” guide, Secondary race vehicle GPS user guide, List of Latitudes and Longitudes of pit locations.
8. General Info- Boarder crossing info(San Ysidro, Mexicali, and Tecate), Common race words English to, Key phone numbers for both emergency and general info.
9. Chase Truck Info- All vehicles and trailers registration and insurance information. Complete itemized inventory list and location for tools, fluids and parts. Numerical list of chase boxes and itemized list of their contents. Inventory list of parts and tools located in the race car.
10. Travel Info- Hotel reservations and conformation numbers. All flight itineraries and conformation numbers.
11. Google Maps- For all key locations for both race vehicle and pit locations. Also includes road maps from pit to pit or hotel locations.
The only additions that I could suggest would be a chapter that includes basic first aid instructions as well as a chapter on English to Spanish translation for common race/navigation words. If there are any additional thoughts or ideas you have, please add them to the thread in the forum called “Whats in your pit book”.
Probably the greatest tool that accompanies the pit/chase book is the “Field Service Manual” that points out all the key aspects and components of the Mirage SS 1600 car. In off road racing you have to prepare for the unexpected. Many times, especially in Mexico plans change and you have to work with what you have. Drivers get sick and someone you barley know ends up racing your car, the guys you thought were going to pit for you have changed because you gained extra pit support from another team that was out of the race early. There are 100s of scenarios but we all know that plans change. The team that is prepared for those challenges will come out on the top spot of the box when the dust settles.
Another great addition that Kevin has added to the Smith Racing Pitbook and the field service manual is the 11″x17″ full color map. Not only is it a detailed map but it includes a full snapshot of the teams pit strategy per chase truck and race vehicle ETAs. Often while you are navigating traffic on race day, its nice to have a single page race/pit strategy summary. Check it out!
Desertrides.com would like to thank Kevin Smith for sharing some detailed information about his team and race vehicle. Kevin and his team are top notch and you can see why!!