THE HOOL BROTHERS TALK NHRA, RACING WITH SK AND EARNING THEIR STRIPES
TAKING THE GARAGE ON THE ROAD
The SK Race team doesn’t just have to worry about bringing their top alcohol funny car from race to race. They have to bring an entire garage from race to race.
“It’s actually a two-story trailer,” explains Crew Chief Kevin Hool. “The cars are stored up top and below is a complete garage. We have everything except maybe some of the fancier machine shop tools.”
Kevin and his brother Kris, the driver of the SK top alcohol funny car, had just arrived for a race in Charlotte, North Carolina after making it to the semi-finals in Topeka, Kansas the weekend before.
“Tomorrow we unload and then start completely rebuilding the car.” The clutch, the transmission, the (heads), everything is taken apart, analyzed, adjusted and rebuilt.
“We might notice a part that cracked or didn’t run as well, so we’ll adjust that.” It’s a lot of work – 15- to 20-hour-days are the norm. “We probably get four hours of sleep before the day of the race.”
Race day brings its own pressures. “Depending on the weather and other factors, you never quite know when they’re going to call you. They might tell you you’re going in an hour. They might give you twenty minutes. And then you have a whole process you have to go through to get that car ready. You have to be prepared.”
Organization is key. Kevin explains. “You cannot spend five minutes looking for a tool. There is simply not enough time. You have to know exactly where everything is.”
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
The brothers carry two complete master sets of SK Professional Tools, plus specialized sets stored by job-type for the clutch, the transmission and more. “We have some tools that do just one thing,” Kevin notes.
Kevin also analyzes the mountain of data onboard computers provided after every race. “There’s never enough time to look at all the data,” he laughs.But of all the tools at his disposal, one is the most essential. “Kris in the driver’s seat. He can feel the car. I listen to him.”
BECOMING A RACE MECHANIC
Despite the stress, pressure and hard work, Kevin wouldn’t have things any other way. “When I was an auto mechanic at a dealership, the days seemed long. Here at the track, the days go so fast. Teams help each other out. I love it. I really do.”He has advice for guys who’d like to become a race mechanic. “None of this stuff is written down. You have to get somebody to open up to you.”“Pick a class of racing you can win in and rack up win after win after win. People notice winning. Too many times guys shoot too high and then they can’t afford to race that much.”
“You have to be at the track. You have to go to the track and make yourself valuable. That’s how people will notice you.”
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