Warrior Race Cars hosted its annual open house this past weekend in an effort to better serve their longtime customers and perhaps lure new ones. Overseeing the event, just as he oversees the business on a day-to-day basis, was veteran race car builder Sanford Goddard.
By keeping up with the latest trends and technology, Goddard believes his company is in good position to succeed in a highly competitive industry. And the Warrior chief believes the personal relationships developed by himself and his staff with their drivers will be key to remaining a force in the Dirt Late Model world.
“We’ve got a good crowd here today,” Goddard declared in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “Our new design for 2016 is in the works. If you look around, you can see some of the new frames and chassis we’ve started on. And all the updates, mainly in the suspension parts and safety of the race cars, are being taken care of. There’s not a lot of changing, but we’re just staying on top of our customers needs with updates and the new technology that’s developing.”
Goddard says experience and customer input drive his company to continually look for ways to improve their product. His Knoxville-based business makes a point of taking in information from various sources to help in placing their cars at the front of the pack.
“Our ideas come mainly from trial and error,” the chassis builder explained. “We get ideas from our customers with their input. Also, when we look around as things change in the industry with things like the shock packages, it makes you look at your chassis differently. Tire compounds and tire rules of the different series call from something a little different in all the packages as well. You have to take each area of the country and each series and see what your car needs and try to come up with something that will fit best for each situation.”
Numerous body panels from winning cars of racers driving Warriors adorn the walls of the shop in which Goddard’s cars are built. Another prized momento that greets visitors who come through the doors and attests to the company’s ability to win races is a trophy awarded to NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson when he captured the ‘Prelude to the Dream’ at Eldora Speedway while driving a Warrior.
To maintain that level of success, good people are a necessity according the man in charge.
“You’ve got to have good people working for you,” Goddard insisted. “I’ve got Kevin Lusby, Mike Nuchols and Justin Ogle, who have been with me for several years, and they’re the key people in this business. With us starting our new shock program here, 1G Shock Service, the last four or five years it’s really helped us a lot because we’ve started seeing the things that the drivers need. We can help them keep their shock program up to date for their car so they don’t have to get it from a company that may not be real personable.”
In today’s market, flexibility is also important. A number of factors may influence exactly what each racer wants and needs. Goddard believes that the personal relationships he has built with his customers helps Warrior provide for those varying needs.
“We can stop or start just about any place that anybody wants to,” he pointed out. “We have customers that come in and buy a frame and an interior kit then they’ll call back a few days later and add more and more then eventually they’ve got a complete roller. That may be due to a racer not having the money to do it all at one time or he picks up a sponsorship and it leads him right into doing more work to the car while it’s here.”