Back to blogging, coping with the pandemic and waiting for racing to resume.

Back to blogging, coping with the pandemic and waiting for racing to resume.

Posted by Bob and Patricia Bartley on Apr 21st 2020

After an excessively long break from blog articles, I've decided it's time for an update. So much has changed and now we find ourselves in a bit of a surreal world dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

It's a little hard to believe, but since our last Raceblog post, we have:

  • moved our home and business to Godley, Texas.
  • bought and/or sold at least five racecars.
  • had a personal health crisis (with a positive outcome).
  • completely revamped our website
  • moved up in open road race speed divisions, winning in Super Sport and Unlimited!!

So much has happened and while not all was 'good', it was still valuable as part of our growth, continual improvement and learning process. Now, here we are in the midst of a global pandemic that is taking a massive toll on human life, the economy and the business landscape as we knew it.

What we are doing-
Along with following the general guidelines related to the pandemic response, as a business we are keeping a careful eye on the supply chain and the distribution channels to understand or respond appropriately when our business and customers may be impacted. We're doing our best to keep up with news and share it, when relevant, so our customers have useful information to work with. We've also decided to reduce the product lines we carry. As of this month (April) we announced that we have dropped all mobile electronics for entertainment (audio/video systems) from our catalog. We've also dropped many of the street tires in an effort to minimize the maintenance burden that our website requires. Our focus continues to be on what our customers most need, which is good quality and fair priced racing products. Safety equipment for driver and car are still our strength. Strong international suppliers and reliable, high-quality U.S. manufacturers have our attention as we evaluate our product offerings on a regular basis.

What the future holds-
While none of us personally knows what the future may bring, we're optimistic. We've positioned our company in such a way that we stand a very good chance of weathering the tough economic conditions of the global pandemic. As the U.S. economy grew in strength over the last few years, we saw our international business fall off rapidly, due to the weaker exchange rate against the U.S. Dollar. This has resulted in more dramatic peaks and valleys in our patterns of business activity since more of our business revenue relies on the U.S. market and the seasonal nature of auto racing. With the postponement of professional and grassroots racing, business has slowed to a crawl. One might think that business would be brisk with "extra prep time" for racing, but the frank truth is that everyone seems to be collectively holding their breath to see what jobs, the economy and the return to normal activities even looks like when we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. Again, we are doing all we can to hold on through this crisis and emerge on the other side as one of the fortunate businesses to survive and continue on.

What's going on in the shop?
Honestly, from a customer perspective...not a lot. We've amicably parted ways with the two shops that were our partners in build/install work. Both locations are still operating, still getting our recommendation for the nature of work they do, but all three of our business strategies evolved in different directions. So that leaves our little shop in Godley where we don't (well, rarely) do work on customer cars, but reserve this for our in-house madness. As mentioned in the beginning of this article, we've gone through quite a lot of changes. We've bought and sold a 4th Gen Z28 that carried us to a BBORR Super Sport victory, a 1970 Corvette drag car, a 5th Gen Corvette Z06 twin-turbo car that we eventually won the BBORR Unlimited class with. We picked up a beautiful and well cared for 4th Gen Corvette that brings with it a long and rich history of open road racing (10 different organized events and more than 60 actual races, with numerous podiums) and a NASCAR road course car. We also, briefly, had our hands on a 60s-era front engine dragster and first generation 392 Hemi just like "Bid Daddy" Don Garlits used to wow the fans with. While that would have been a fascinating restoration and show car, open road racing has our heart and the Unlimited Class is where we're keeping our focus. The front-engine dragster now has a new home.

When is the next race?
Well, I just asked the Magic 8-Ball and it said "Your guess is as good as mine!". As things stand today, our next race is going to be the 2020 Big Bend Open Road Race which was postponed until the last week of September, with race day falling on October 3rd. For a multitude of reasons, we hope that holds true. The next race for us might be the 2020 Silver State Classic Challenge, but we just have to wait and see.

We do plan to attend the next Texas Mile event to watch, support customers and cheer for our friends as they chase speed down the one-mile airstrip. With a little luck, we might even see our ex-twin turbo C5 post up some big numbers!

Our advice for now-
Stay calm, take care of family, friends and neighbors, take inventory of all the things we're all so fortunate to have and wash your hands! :-)

It is with our most humble thanks that we have all of the customers we do and we hope everyone gets through these tough times helping each other and healing the economy. We often say "we are racers helping racers" and it's for real. We know this is an expensive hobby and we are going through a very tough time, too. Together we'll make it, not without some disruptions, some disappointment and a lot of change, but we will make it.

With kind regards and well wishes,
Bob and Patricia Bartley