QUINTIN CRYE'S JOURNEY TO MADERA SPEEDWAY (GRIDLEY, Calif., June 2): Quintin Crye, the 17-year-old USAC Ford Focus Midget Series driver from Gridley, Calif., will be heading to Madera (Calif.) Raceway this Saturday, solidly fourth in the ...
QUINTIN CRYE'S JOURNEY TO MADERA SPEEDWAY
(GRIDLEY, Calif., June 2): Quintin Crye, the 17-year-old USAC Ford Focus Midget Series driver from Gridley, Calif., will be heading to Madera (Calif.) Raceway this Saturday, solidly fourth in the California Dirt Focus Series standings.
This year has been an adventure for Crye and crew, as he is traveling to races all over California in pursuit of furthering his career. For any driver, life on the road is part of the daily grind of going racing in any professional series. For a young man on the verge of big success, it's all just a part of the learning process. Crye's week is long, made more complicated by the responsibilities of a senior graduating from Gridley High School in June. The grind of traveling almost seems relaxing at times in comparison to the car prep and school work required when he is not on the road.
A typical week in the life of Quintin Crye might look like this, as told by Quintin:
SUNDAY AFTER A SATURDAY RACE
Depending on whether it's a short drive or a long drive from the race track, my team might stay over or we might drive back home immediately after the race. For instance, when we go to Madera Speedway, it's a three-hour drive, so we go home immediately after the race. I try to do as much driving after the race as possible, as my dad usually drives to the race for me so I can get some rest. But for a race at Ventura Raceway, which we visit often throughout the year, it's more than an eight-hour drive, so we usually stay over. On Sunday after a Saturday night race, our team is back on the road by about 8:30 am; We usually stop for both car and human fuel a few times, and we often visit one of our sponsors, Gotparts.com, on the way home from Ventura.
While my dad visits with the sponsor, I also visit with them for a while, but then usually try to clean t he fuel lines out or get a headstart on other car cleaning jobs while we are stopped as there is little time before the next race.
We usually arrive at home at 7:30 pm on Sunday night from a Ventura show; If we drive straight home from a closer show right after the race, then Sunday is usually spent resting a bit in the morning before tearing the car apart to clean it.
7:30 am wake-up call for school. Arrive at school at 8:15 am; school goes until 2:15 pm. After school, I run errands for my father and the team.
At 3:00 (after a race where we did not get home until Sunday night) I unload the race car, wash it, roll it into the shop, and do an overall check of the car to assess what needs to be done for the week. This takes about two hours.
Break for dinner. Starting at around 7:00 pm. I do homework for the rest of the day; I also do a physical fitness workout during the evening.
7:30 am wake-up call for school. Arrive at school at 8:15 am; Home from school at 2:15 pm. Right after school until about 4:30, I visit four local sponsors to give them race weekend updates.
From about 4:30-6:00 pm, I start tearing the car apart; taking the front end out of the car to convert it to pavement or dirt, depending on where we raced the weekend before.
From 6:30--10:00 pm I do more homework.
7:30 am wake-up call for school. Arrive at school at 8:15 am. Home from school at 2:15 pm. Errands for father after school. I do homework from about 3:00-6:00 pm;
Break for dinner. From about 6:30 until 9:00 pm I check the shocks, block the car and do general maintenance on the race car; I also do a physical fitness workout during the evening before I go to bed.
7:30 am wake-up call for school. 8:15 am arrive at school; 3rd class of the day used some tools to work on race car stuff; 2:15 pm head for home after school. After school I mow the grass and do other housework.
From about 4:30-9:30 pm I take the car to get scaled, and we get some help with setups from pavement experts that we know (if headed to a pavement track).
I also do a physical fitness workout during the evening before I go to bed.
7:30 am wake-up call for school. Arrive at school at 8:15 am. Home from school at 2:15 pm. Errands for father after school.
From about 4:00 until 9:00 pm, I work on the car, check the gearing and other things, load the car in the trailer and get ready for the trip to the track the next day.
SATURDAY -- RACE DAY
My dad and I leave home at 6:30 am (for a Madera Speedway race, which is about 200 miles away. We'll leave earlier for a Ventura show). My dad usually drives to the races so I can get some rest -- I try to drive as much as I can on the way home. We have to be at the track at around 9:30-10:00 am when the pit gate opens.
Once the pit gates open, we roll into our pit area and unload the car right away -- usually we can keep the hauler right there in our pit area, which allows for an area to work out of, for me to change into my driver's suit, for the team to rest if needed, and for all of us to stay out of the weather should it come into play.
We do some last-minute adjustments to the car, check everything out to make sure nothing got loose in the truck, and make sure the pressures in our tires are set appropriately. We add fuel and other fluids we did not want to have in the car during the trip. Most of the big setup work should have been done from home, so the time before hot laps is just for re-checking things. I change into my driver's suit and get my helmet ready for the day ahead, and always try to eat something and drink plenty of fluids before a race to keep my energy up.
If there's time and the car is ready, it's nice to be able to go around the pit area and visit a bit -- that may be the only time I get to do that because the rest of the day is pretty packed with racing and other obligations.
Hot laps start at noon (at Madera), qualifying is at 3:00 pm and we have an autograph session at 5:30 pm this week -- not a lot of time to fix something that goes wrong, so we hope for a smooth and uneventful day.
We have a driver's meeting sometime during the day, but the time changes based on the track and other activities. Heat races should start at around 7:00 pm, and the races usually end around 10:00 pm.
If all goes well, no matter where we finish, we hope to roll the car back onto the trailer at the end of the day with no damage to me, my crew or the car.
I try to stay in touch with people close with our team and let them know how we did that night -- hopefully reporting good news.
Sometimes, after a particularly good day, we like to stick around for a little bit and socialize with the fans or other competitors, but because of the long ride home, we usually try to leave pretty quickly.
We are back on the road headed home by around 10:30 pm on most race nights.
Hopefully this has given you a better idea of the kind of schedule race car drivers -- even at this level -- keep during a race week. As we progress up the ladder, of course, there are more obligations and more responsibilities, so the schedule just gets more complicated. But it's all a great adventure and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
A 25-lap feature is scheduled for this Saturday at Madera (Calif.) Speedway for the USAC California Ford Focus Dirt Midget Car Series.