Building Winners From Scratch

For our racing issue, we visited the fabrication shop at Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in the town of Welcome, N.C. RCR is one of the largest competitors in NASCAR, and this year they are fielding four teams in the Sprint Cup Series, two in the Camping...

Younger guys are more likely to have started with tech school and moved quickly (if not immediately) into racing. For many of them, that school was NASCAR Tech, one of the advanced programs offered at Universal Technical Institute’s Mooresville, N.C. campus. However, Hart noted that there’s still a place for a new guy with the appropriate experience but no formal education, typically in the engine tear-down room.

The one thing everyone has in common, said Hart, is that “they share a passion for racing.” During the racing season, up to 140 of RCR’s employees are at the track every weekend. Many of the remaining 350 are at a local track, either racing their own car or working with a friend’s team. Hart said that, for people working at RCR, “It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle.”

Building a Cup car is a blend of science and art that utilizes an extreme range of technologies and talents. At the high-tech end is digitizing equipment that can measure the dimensions of anything down to 2 microns (0.002mm, or 0.0000787 in.), or the Global Positioning System mentioned earlier. At the other end of the technology spectrum, each body panel starts as a flat piece of sheet metal and is formed by hand on an English wheel, a tool developed over 700 years ago for making armor. And like that suit of armor, a racecar is also a work of art made with a man’s hands, eyes, brain and passion: still and always the ultimate tools.

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