Problem: Needed a quick and convenient storage-and-retrieval system for tools and parts
Solution: Modular drawer cabinets with positive drawer locks and customized drawer partitions
Benefits: Easy restocking, lightweight, durable
Products Used: Modular cabinets
In the high-speed televised duel that is the NASCAR™ NEXTEL™ Cup Series, celebrity drivers and precision pit crews are on the front lines. But to turn their skills into a win, they need a car that arrives on the starting grid as highly tuned as a fighter jet. In fact, the competitive pressure for the team’s mechanics is as intense as the pressure for the drivers on the track. And the mechanics are also subject to the ticking clock.
A team's car hauler serves as its “rolling race shop” from Friday through Sunday during race weekend, so it needs a storage-and-retrieval system that puts tools and parts where mechanics can reach them conveniently and quickly. And because the teams have only one or two days after a race to restock any items and get the cars ready to go again, the same system should make it easy to see which parts need to be restocked. That's why Evernham Motorsports decided to replace the stock cabinets in all of its race car haulers with Stanley Vidmar products.
Evernham Motorsports operates five NASCAR teams, including the No. 10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline™ Dodge™ Charger™. Their home base is a 150,000-sq.-ft. facility in Statesville, N.C., but during race season, cars travel from race to race in a custom-built, 53-ft.-long Featherlite™ car hauler. The hauler has two levels. The top level carries the two cars, while the bottom level is packed with all the parts, tools, and equipment that will be needed at the track. “We carry enough parts in the hauler to replace everything on the car except the body and chassis,” says Buddy Cram, director of operations. “That’s a lot of parts!”
When Evernham Motorsports ordered new haulers in 2004, they asked Featherlite to replace its standard-issue cabinets with seven Stanley® Vidmar® modular drawer cabinets, ranging in height from 13 to 59 inches. The original reason for the order, according to Cram, was Evernham’s partnership with Stanley. But they were so impressed that they have since decided to specify Vidmar cabinets in all future orders. “The quality and appearance of the cabinets is so good that we want to eventually include them in all of our trailers,” says Cram.
One reason Evernham Motorsports likes the Vidmar cabinets is that they are lighter than the stock offerings. Every reduced pound of cabinet weight means a pound more of parts that the team can stock.
But these cabinets are no lightweights when it comes to what they can carry. “The drawer slides are very heavy-duty, and we like them a lot better than the standard offerings,” says Cram. “Even when the team loads the drawers up with nuts, bolts, and other heavy parts, they still work smoothly. You never have to fight with a drawer or worry about the slide binding from the weight.”
When the hauler is moving down the road, a drawer staying closed is as important as it opening easily, and Cram praises the positive drawer locks on the Vidmar cabinets. “If a drawer opens up as the hauler turns a corner, you can have an awful mess,” he says. “With some manufacturers’ drawers, it's hard to tell if they’re really locked, but we never have to worry about that with the Vidmar cabinets.”
Cram also praises the drawer organization system. Vidmar worked with Evernham Motorsports to customize drawer partitions and dividers to the exact needs of the teams’ mechanics. And as engines evolve and the menu of parts and tools changes, the crew can easily reconfigure the drawers.
The Vidmar cabinets in Evernham’s haulers worked so well that the company decided to put them in the race shop as well. When Evernham opened its latest building in 2006, they outfitted the entire shop with Stanley® Vidmar® cabinets. “Before, we had mix-matched pieces of equipment, some of which was better than others,” recalls Cram. “Now we know that all of our cabinets will hold up to the wear and tear of what happens at the track and in the race shop.”
NASCAR is a registered trademark of National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.
NEXTEL is a registered trademark of Nextel Communications, Inc.
VALVOLINE is a registered trademark of Ashland Licensing and Intellectual Property LLC
DODGE and CHARGER are registered trademarks of Daimler Chrysler Corporation
FEATHERLITE is a registered trademark of Featherlite, Inc.