Roehrig still raring to go in 1999 By Dave Rodman HIGH POINT, N.C. (Jan. 20, 1999) Make no mistake about it -- no moss is growing on Roehrig Motorsports or Roehrig Engineering. The separate -- but obviously related -- companies have an...
Roehrig still raring to go in 1999 By Dave Rodman
HIGH POINT, N.C. (Jan. 20, 1999) Make no mistake about it -- no moss is growing on Roehrig Motorsports or Roehrig Engineering. The separate -- but obviously related -- companies have an all-out program in place for the 1999 season. If the right pieces fall into place, the program could rev up considerably. Owner Kurt Roehrig, who won three races in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1998 and finished fifth in the standings with a sophomore driver -- after switching manufacturers in the off-season -- has a full complement of Ford F-150s and a proven veteran wheelman in Joe Ruttman waiting in the wings. Like many others, he's simply waiting for a possible sponsorship deal to fall in place. Roehrig has a four-race NASCAR Winston Cup Series program ready to go backed by water heater manufacturer Bradford White Corp. of Ambler, Pa. Tom Hubert, who was employed by Roehrig as a shop foreman before the California native set out to establish a driving career, is set to drive no less than two of the four races, at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Contrary to rumors, moves by Roehrig divesting himself of truck equipment were simply a case of ridding himself of some of the trappings of his two-truck operation that he maintained in 1997. He has a capable race team prepared to start the season with the Florida Dodge Dealers 400 at the Miami-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex on March 20. "Basically it's still dependent on sponsorship," Roehrig said Wednesday from his race shop. "If we can secure a sponsor, Joe has committed himself to drive our trucks -- if we have a program in place he'll drive for us. If I don't have a sponsor we won't be out there racing, but he, and I, really want to do it." It's only one of the two racing programs he could step up in the right scenario. "Yes, we're geared up to do more Winston Cup races," Roehrig said, "but we're totally geared up to do the whole Craftsman Truck Series, too. We've got all the equipment and our core group of people, including our crew chief. All we did was sell off the excess stuff we had -- like cutting down the 32 radios we had for two teams to the 20 we needed. "It has not diminished our capability of running for the truck championship in the least. I don't think the competitiveness of our program is degraded at all with Joe and I'm excited about the potential to go out with Joe Ruttman. Not as a putdown to Tony Raines -- we won four races with him in two seasons -- but we're a young, aggressive team. "Sometimes, with a young, aggressive driver you end up scratching your heads a lot. I think maybe pairing a young team with an experienced driver is a potentially better combination. That's why I think Tony going to BACE in the Busch Series -- a young driver with an experienced team -- is going to be a good combination for them." Roehrig is all over the telephone at his facility, but what's probably keeping him busiest at this point is his bread-and-butter industry. Roehrig Engineering is the primary supplier of shock dynamometers to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, among other divisions. Talk to any team in the garage area at Daytona International Speedway this month as the beehive that's labeled pre-season testing buzzes and the buzz is, shock technology is one of the big keys to going fast in 1999 at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway. It ain't too far down the list elsewhere, either. "We have two major deals with the engineering side of the business," Roehrig said. "We produce all the shock dynos you see in everybody's trailers. And, we're involved in a lot of consulting work for manufacturers and race teams." Along with trying to keep his race programs viable, Roehrig is heavily involved in the upcoming introduction of his latest product. The "electromagnetic actuator," tagged EMA and pronounced like the girl's name, "will be the next step in damper dynos," Roehrig claimed. "What the new device is going to be able to do is record shock movement on your data acquisition system," he explained. "Then, when you come back to the shop you can hook it up to your dyno and, like a tape recording play it back into the dyno and replay the activity of the shook, so you can replicate its action and computer simulate different settings. "It's kind of a player piano concept for shock absorbers. "Certainly, shock technology is now critical at Daytona -- it's vital information to getting a good-working package. It's hard to say where the seed was actually planted. We started with it for our own use in Trans-Am and IMSA GTP somewhere near the end of 1989 or the beginning of 1990. From there Roehrig did consulting work for General Motors and, in 1991, started coming down to Daytona to work with NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams on behalf of GM. "We started introducing the technology to the teams and showing what it could do for them," Roehrig said. "We sold the first couple in 1991 -- now, there's not a Winston Cup trailer that doesn't have one of them in it." The technological boom led Roehrig to move his operation from Detroit to High Point -- to better service his core clientele. It hasn't hurt to be racing out of the stock car hotbed, either. For whatever reason, Roehrig is at (800) 735-7265, but he's certainly not sitting still.
Source: NASCAR Online