Team

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Racing may not be the most easily recognized or appreciated "team sport", as far as sports and competition goes, but it's so true that each and every team member involved holds a key piece to the puzzle. Whether it's pushing a broom in the shop or serving as the crew chief, the intense work involved is one and the same, as it serves to unify and steer everyone towards the same goal of having fun and winning races...not to mention the unforgettable friendships that form along the way.

And it goes even deeper than this. We have a plaque hanging on the wall in the hall of our house, graciously given to us by the Kanke's a few years back. It says "We interrupt this marriage to bring you the racing season"...makes me smile every time I see it hanging there on the wall. Many people associated with this touring series we race in have wives and families at home, and more often than not the crew members who are also husbands and fathers are in the position of being away from their obligations at home for the weekend while attending a race. That's a huge sacrifice, especially seeing how most of us are not really doing this to put food on the table, not at this level of competition anyway.

Well so the point is, this is my chance to give a BIG THANKS from the bottom of my heart to everyone who makes some kind of sacrifice in order to make this team in particular click, including those wives who stay at home and may not realize that they are holding some of the biggest pieces to the puzzle.

Here is the RPM Motor Sports team:

leonCrew Chief-Leon Ruther  
One look at this man's resume speaks volumes with regards to his knowledge and 40+ years of experience in stock car racing. Voted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2005; won multiple track championships at the infamous Saugus Speedway; a Southwest Series championship with Roman Calczynski; worked with legendary drivers and fellow west coast hall of fame members Ron Hornaday Sr., Jimmy Insolo and Bill Sedgwick; was crew chief for an original Craftsman Truck team which featured drivers PJ Jones and Mike Chase. Other 'notable' drivers who have driven Leon Ruther prepped cars include Hershel McGriff, Richard Petty and Rusty Wallace. Now that is what I would definitely call an impressive list of drivers to have been associated with, and I'm sure to be missing a few as well. Rumor has it he knows his way around a '57 street Chevy pretty well also.

Leon has been with M.K. off and on since about 1994, and they've always worked extremely well together. I am truly honored to have a man of his stature be a part of this team.

Tires-Cale
cale
Cale is a relatively new member to the team, yet I've known him ever since the day he was born...so having him around at the racetrack is really not anything new. Cale is moving right along in his Legend car now also, which he literally had to put together himself since it was basically delivered to him in a basket, and with no help what-so-ever from his dad other than maybe having some questions answered along the way. So I expect that his skills as a pit crew member are not going to be limited to just working with the tires. Besides, we all know that working with the tires is the easiest job in the world...he'll need bigger challenges than that. You can learn more about Cale by checking out his blog section for updates on his Legend Car racing.

Chassis tuning & software analyst-Dennisdennis
M.K. has had the honor of working with Dennis since the days of driving for Mike Bonicelli, with the exception of the two seasons when he drove for Crown Motor Sports.  He was one of the crew chiefs for Bonicelli's teams and held that position when Burney Lamar came to fill in M.K.'s shoes for them in 2001.  Dennis is a qualified mechanical engineer by trade...his practical knowledge and experience with regards to mechanics and physics and how they apply to racing is priceless. He is also very fond of teaching what he knows to those who are interested in learning from him. Dennis is primarily involved these days with analyzing software from data acquisition, but he also makes calculated decisions on fine tuning the race car chassis when prepping for a race along with M.K. and Leon. He is also involved with performing the shock tuning for the cars.

As a side note, Dennis is a Veteran of the Vietnam War...anyone who had to experience being in Vietnam, or any conflict that the United States has been involved with for that matter, will forever have my respect. Sometimes I think it's just too easy to take our freedom for granted in this country.

 

Spotter-Ken
kenKen has done a wonderful job for us as a spotter since 2003, and so we're quite content with utilizing him for this specific job at the track even though he is always willing to do much more than just that. He has plenty of mechanical experience also, which is a carry over from his days of working at Crown Motor Sports. He is also knowledgeable in working with the tires and has done extensive electrical work on race cars in the past as well. He also ran a Spec Truck on a number of occasions out at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale and Mesa Marin Raceway, which is valuable experience for any great spotter to have. And if we had to lean on him to drive the hauler to the races, well we might just be able to get him to do that also on rare occasion.

Detailing-Jerry H.
jerryIf you ever want to hear a good story about anything, especially about the good old days and having fun at the races, stop in the pits sometime and say hi to Jerry. He is the one who walks around the car, keeping it waxed and shining and looking as good as it possibly can. He is also responsible for getting all the decals on the cars. Jerry has been with M.K. at least since the early days of the Southwest Tour, and I believe he is the one who was responsible for securing factory sponsorship from Pontiac at the time. I'm willing to bet that nobody else who ran the tour ever had factory sponsorship, which came from Jerry's connections when he was building and driving drag strip GTO's.

Mechanical-Jerry S.
jerry sJerry is another holdover from M.K.'s early days, back when he was busy driving street stocks at both Ascot Park and Saugus Speedway three nights a week. Jerry is familiar with every nut and bolt on the cars, and he specializes in keeping every aspect of the drive train in peak working order. This includes engine maintenance, periodic transmission overhauls, brake work, and overhauling the rear ends. His mechanical experience is not limited to the race cars either as Jerry is also in charge of handling maintenance on the race car hauler and tractors. One of these days when we have pit stop races again, Jerry is also geared up to be changing tires along with Joe, like he has done for us in the past.

Chief fabricator-Mick

mickMick has been around racing since I don't know when, really. His days with M.K. go back to the days of the "wedge rockets" as they are fondly called. While he wasn't with M.K. when he was driving for Bonicelli Racing and Crown Motor Sports, we did bring him back once RPM Motor Sports became established and ever since that time he has been involved with all aspects of our team, including setting up work shops for the race cars. His fabrication skills are unrivaled and most of his time in the shop is spent on helping Jerry S. prep the cars in between races, doing any cosmetic work on the fiberglass and bumpers which is frequently necessary, paint touch up, sheet metal work and welding. At the track he is primarily involved with helping Cale manage the tires. Mick is also the crew member who is at all of the Legend and Bandolero races, helping to support both Cale and Danny as they gain experience driving their own race cars.

 

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