Performance & Hotrod Business - July '15

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PRECISION ENGINE H aving flexibility in your business is a key to success. The economy can wreak havoc with the performance mar- ket, so having a well-rounded menu of service offerings at your engine shop can help you endure the highs and the lows. I recently sat down with Bruce Yackey of G.A.M. Racing Engines, a builder who knows firsthand how to run a successful busi- ness, achieve goals and still do what he loves. His location in Greeley, C o l o r a d o , c l o s e t o Denver and the oilfields of eastern Colorado, brings a lot of oppor- tunities his way. So he's learned to diversify. In fact, his motto is, "We will work on whatever it takes to make a living." Yackey has a long history of piloting his own race cars. A true love for engines of any type fuels his passion for the race track and every day at the shop. He's widened his business to take on more than just strictly performance jobs to not only stay busy during slower times, but to bring a balance to his company. Touring G.A.M. Racing Engines, I could see that Yackey thrives on the capabilities he has built into his busi- ness, and instilled in his employees. They work on everything from natu- ral gas compressors to 1,800-hp racing engines, and do it all well. Current jobs include a 5.9-liter Cummins, a Hercules 4-cylinder, a 1927 Oldsmobile, and mild to wild racing engines, including some Zakspeed 4-cyl- inder hill climb power plants. Yackey sponsors a few racers and runs ads at the race tracks, and when results are good, he says, the phone rings more often. He also has a web pres- ence (www.gamracin- to help spread the word. Ready for Anything Of course, taking on a more diverse range of jobs means having the shop equipment to handle it all. Many of today's machines are capable of accom- modating different sizes of parts and materials. When Yackey chose his new engine dynamometer, for instance, he went with a versatile machine that could handle low and high horsepower and rpm. The machine is also capable of many different bellhousing configurations, meaning he is able to dyno most anything, ranging from restoration projects to ultra-high- horsepower racing engines. But there are limits. Yackey has a pas- sion for engines, but does not want to turn his engine shop into an auto repair center. Versatility is also important when it comes to employees. Yackey seeks out individuals with the right attitude for his business environment. Hiring for aptitude and attitude and then training for skills is becoming a more common practice. Then, allowing them some flexibility in their job description helps to avoid monotony and encourages the development of new abilities. Finally, diversification can be attrac- tive to one other element of your busi- ness—suppliers. Often, suppliers have two different lines: stock/production and performance. They are willing to talk and help along the way, providing you with industry insight and better pricing as you expand your reach. Having a steady workflow through- out the year can be a major stress relief. Performance work tends to be very sea- sonal. A diverse shop can endure the highs and lows of the economy and seasonal fluc- tuations, keeping things interesting and profitable all year long. Ty Housholder has been building race engines and offer- ing performance consulting for the last 20 years. He's built race and championship-winning engines for NHRA, NASCAR, World of Outlaws, ASCS sprints, NCRA and MLRA Late Models. He's also enjoyed a brief stint piloting a Dirt Modified, and served as crew chief of a Dirt Late Model team. A 1927 Oldsmobile restoration project getting ready for the dynamometer at G.A.M. Racing Engines. Building Flexibility There are many benefits to expanding your shop's reach. By Ty HousHolder In This 358-ci Chevrolet is for a NASCAR Super Late Model. G.A.M. has diversified its service offerings, as shown by its work on this natural gas compressor. 14 n PRECISION ENGINE n July 2015

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