The calendar says one more month of winter. We say otherwise.
The NHRA has already launched its 2012 season, and we can practically smell the nitro fumes and tire smoke from here. To us, that means spring is in the air, and it’s time to start preparing for the sportsman racing season. That prep should include stocking up on the pit tools you need to survive a summer full of races.
You can start by browsing our 10 must-have race tools for any pit area. We left the data acquisition software, weather stations, and other big ticket items to the pros and included just the essentials you’ll need to compete—and win—on a budget.
Wrenches and Sockets
We’ll start with the basics (and this is as basic as it comes): wrenches and sockets. Your arsenal of wrenches and sockets should include standard and metric wrenches and sockets, AN wrenches for any plumbing-related issues, a good torque wrench, and a lug wrench. Just let your natural gearhead instincts kick in, and you’ll create the right mix.
It’s hard to adjust or replace valvetrain components (especially under tight time constraints) when pieces are missing. Keep track of vital components with a valvetrain organizer. You can get one for your valves, springs and locks and one for rockers, pushrods, lifters, locks, and spark plugs.
Portable Air Tank
Keep compressed air right in your pit area so you can make necessary tire pressure adjustments on the fly. You can get a good-quality air tank starting in the $35 range for a five-gallon size—well worth the money for the convenience and peace of mind.
An accurate tire pressure gauge is a not-so secret weapon, but when used properly, it can give you an added edge at the track. By adjusting your tire pressure to track and weather conditions, you can ensure firm launches and maximum traction down the track. Use your gauge to record tire pressure and weather/track conditions in a log book for future reference.
Jack and Jack Stands
A hydraulic jack and jack stands give you the versatility to make undercar repairs and mechanical adjustments quickly and safely. You can also opt for a set of Race Ramps, which safely lift your vehicle on all kinds of surfaces.
Chances are you’re going to end up on the ground next to or under your vehicle. Do yourself a favor and bring a comfy pit mat along for the race. Your back and knees will thank you!
Fuel Jugs and Funnel
Keep fuel and water at the ready and dispense it quickly with fuel jugs (one for fuel and one for water) and a funnel. A set of five-gallon jugs, like Summit Tuff Jugs, will allow you to fuel up quickly, safely, and without a mess. In fact, Tuff Jugs allow you to empty five gallons of fuel in just 45 seconds!
Who has time to search for lost tools between rounds? Keep your wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, and other hand tools organized and accessible in a portable toolbox—even when you’re away from the shop.
Cordless Impact Wrench
Why struggle with a standard lug wrench (although we recommend you keep one for backup)? Having a cordless impact wrench at your disposal will allow you to preserve your strength for other activities such as hoisting a winner’s trophy.
Electrical Repair Kit
Electrical gremlins happen—and usually at the worst possible time. Make sure electrical problems don’t short circuit your run to glory by keeping an electrical repair kit on hand. Summit Racing has kits that include wire crimping tools, a 6-12-volt tester, test leads, fuses, shrink tubes, cable ties, grommets, terminals, and more.
Bonus Item: Pit Shelter
From searing heat to unexpected cloud bursts, the weather can wreak havoc with your overall race experience. Although a pit shelter isn’t technically a pit tool, it should be a key part of your pit area. Choose from a variety of sizes and styles to meet your needs and budget.
What are your must-have pit tools? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.