Local endurance road race drivers Rob Krider and Keith Kramer have plenty of experience behind the wheel. But the Fresno buddies didn’t think they would ever get selected to be on the new BBC America series “Mud, Sweat and Gears.”
“We are just two white dudes from Fresno. We didn’t think we would get picked because we don’t fight with each other like people do on reality shows,” Krider says.
Lucky for them, the only fighting done on the show is between two teams trying to build the best vehicle. Hosts Tom “Wookie” Ford and Jonny Smith guide two teams as they take an average car and turn it into something special. The Fresno competitors were tasked with turning a Trans Am into a police car as part of Ford’s team.
Once both teams have modified their cars, they are put through a series of driving tests to determine the winner. The losing car goes out in a blaze of glory.
The task couldn’t have been any better for Krider, an automotive journalist who wrote the novel, “Cadet Blues.” It’s about surviving the California Highway Patrol Academy, something Krider did to become a member of the California Highway Patrol.
Krider didn’t reveal his connection to law enforcement until after the episode has shot in April. He didn’t want the producers to make a big deal about it.
It took the hosts by surprise.
“The tricky little bastards they were, he told me he was an entrepreneur,” Smith says. “I kept pushing him and pushing him but he wouldn’t tell me. I just thought he didn’t want to tell me.
“As they were driving out of the car lot at the end of that show, he leaned out through the window and handed me a card that said he was a highway patrolman.”
When he’s not in Los Angeles working on a car for a British TV show, Kramer is the owner of the local cattle feed business, Economy Stockfeed.
Krider and Kramer obviously weren’t selected because of their jobs. They were selected because of their success as endurance racing drivers. The pair have been road racing under the Krider Racing banner since 2008. In their first year, they won the 24 Hours of LeMons race at Altamont and two years later came in first at the National Auto Sport Association Western Endurance Racing Championship driving for Nissan Motorsports.
They have continued to win and are currently competing in a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 where last year they won the Lone Pine Time Trials and the Corvette Challenge at Buttonwillow Raceway Park.
All of those year’s racing gave them the tools they needed to build their police car for the show. The only small bump was that because the pair brought so much knowledge to the competition, they would find themselves at odds with the producers as to how the car should be modified.
Neither team knows what kind of car they will get for the challenge. The only thing Krider feared would be that they would have to work with a mini-van.
Because they avoided a bad vehicle, the three days they spent on the show was a positive experience.
“Wookie and Jonny were hilarious. After the filming was done each day we would just sit around and talk about cars,” Krider says. “It was sad when it was over. They have a great job but they do have to deal with new contestants all the time.”
Both teams knew that all their work could end up in the junk pile as the losing car gets destroyed. Although both local drivers liked the look of the Trans Am, they went into the competition with no personal connection. They have learned through competing in demolition derbies or rollingc ars in a race that vehicles often get the worst of it.