by Richie Grodski
of Simsbury, CT. has been a major sponsor, major
supporter, major friend and just about everything else you could imagine to
The Chrome Horn for just over 2 years. On my planned trips to racing events
this year, I figured a good time to finally meet Linda and Norm Case would
be Stafford's Spring Sizzler weekend. I set my trip to the Precision
Automotive shop on the Friday just before the Sizzler's weekend.
Now over the past 2 years, I have had many emails and chats with
Linda but had never seemed to get the chance to actually meet her or Norm.
Although through our many talks I feel I have known her my whole life, it
was time I met her and Norm and finally visited the Precision shop that has
helped us keep The Chrome Horn up and going in so many ways, including our
Top 5 contest, which Precision Automotive also sponsors.
Friday was a beautiful day, beginning what was to be an outrageous
weekend weather wise. I had gotten up about 5am Friday morning, headed over
to get Gail and her dog Horatio, who made the weekend trip with me, we hit
the road from Riverhead, LI about 6am. On the way up to Simsbury, I had to
hit Cracker Barrel on 95, which is a must in my book as I totally love the
place. After breakfast, I headed up to Simsbury and arrived about 11am.
After getting sort of stuck and not knowing where to go because a bridge
being worked on rerouted traffic and the GPS kept sending me around to the
same bridge, a call to Howie was in order as he was meeting me up at the
shop. He happened to be about 10 minutes behind me it all worked out fine.
As soon as I parked and got out, a smiling Linda popped out the
door and greeted me with open arms. It was a great feeling finally meeting
Linda after the 2 years of never meeting in person. After some chat outside,
we walked into the shop where I got to meet Norm. We all sat in the front of
the shop talking a bit then I presented Norm and Linda with a
Chrome Horn Appreciation Plaque that JA
had made especially for me and Fran for The Chrome Horn. I also gave them a
few TCH hats and a TCH shirt that I have had made for when we do racing
coverage at tracks. Also, after talking with Fran, I wanted to give our
Speedy Award which we had received this year from SpeedwayEXPO for best
Racing News Coverage to Linda and Norm for their support of the website.
They were quite surprised and I truly felt they deserved to have this award
then myself or Fran did.
After the presentations, Norm gave Howie and myself a tour of the
Precision Automotive shop, while Linda and Gail chatted. First off I got to
meet Precision's 2 main employees Michael Fields and Christopher Leaver.
These 2 guys have a total of 33 years combined working for Precision
Automotive. Talk about consistency and dedication! Also involved with
Precision are Chuck Balboni, computer expert and Norm's 30 year partner, now
retired, Dale Hall. More info on Dale and the Precision Automotive business
can be found by clicking the Precision banner anywhere on the website or
forum areas. While Mike and Chris went about their work, we continued
through the shop. WOW! Amazing the motors in this place. The shop handles
99% of work in-house and out-sources very, very little. I did forget to
mention here, they also sell parts besides machining and engine building.
Back to touring the shop, Norm showed me every area of the shop and every
machine and what it does. The shop has every machining tool imaginable and
everything is done "old school". There are no lasers and computer controlled
BS here. The whole shop and operations are all done "hands on" with care and
precision. Kinda goes along with the business name. I was very impressed
with everything, including Norm's knowledge and explanations of anything I
had asked. For a quick tour of the shop, please click the picture to be
taken to the Precision Automotive tour gallery of Howie and my pictures.
At the end of the shop tour, we came to Precision's dyno room. Norm
just happened to have hooked up a PASS type motor to the dyno and was going
to do a "pull" for Howie and I. As the motor was warming up for the pull,
Norm, Howie and I chatted about the shop, motors and the dyno and what to
expect and look for on the computer screen. Even though I had been a
mechanic for awhile and familiar with terms and meanings of things, Norm has
a wonderful way of explaining things that even if you had no knowledge of
anything mechanical, you could easily understand everything. I also felt a
connection to Norm as we had similar childhoods having and working on
vehicles at very young ages although Norm pursued his mechanical talents and
even though I always did my own mechanical stuff I went into my father's
business of carpentry.
Well, the motor was now warmed up enough to do the "pull". Norm
pushed the buttons and threw the throttle up as the computer read all the
details of what was happening. This took a matter of about 5 seconds and the
motor returned to idle. Norm then enter some info like temperature, humidity
and the motor specs and then the 'pull' results showed up. Norm sat and
started to explain to Howie and I what all the results meant. The motor was
finally shut down and Howie walked back to talk with Linda and Gail at the
front desk as Norm and myself entered the dyno room. He started to remove
the carburetor at which time I asked what he was doing. He explained he put
together another carburetor and we were going to do another "pull" and see
if it gave us some more horsepower with a bigger carb. AWESOME!!! Norm is
such a personable guy and all we did was chat as he changed the carb.
With the change done, we hit the computer/control room once again and get
the motor set for another run. Again Norm pushed a few buttons, made sure
the computer was ready, then threw up the throttle. The info was added as
above and read out came out and the motor did gain about 17 horsepower more
with the bigger carburetor. I had a few questions about horsepower versus
torque and what they meant to each other and of course Norm just whipped out
very understandable answers to anything I asked. He printed me out the last
"pulls" readout and we shut down the motor and closed up the dyno room,
heading back to the front parts area where Linda, Howie and Gail were.
We sat and chat for quite awhile there and 2 customers had come in
during that time and the conversations with the customers were quite
impressive. It didn't seem at all like they were business costumers but like
they were family. Linda and Norm make you feel comfortable when talking with
anyone and to me, it meant a lot. It is very rare nowadays that you can have
business relations and feel comfortable with the people you deal with. Well,
it seems to happen daily here.
Due to some previous appointments Linda and Norm had for the day,
our visit was finally drawing to an end. We had said our good byes but still
continued to talk outside. I really couldn't draw myself to leave them! And
as I was driving away, even Gail mentioned how wonderful Linda and Norm
were. Now, Gail has no knowledge at all about TCH or what Precision has done
for us except that it's Fran and my website and that Precision Automotive is
our sponsor, but the visit was wonderful for her too!
I would just like to note, I had no intentions of writing a
story for this visit. I only wanted to finally meet our sponsors, present
them the items I mentioned above and get some pictures and information to
add to their page I made here but after meeting Linda & Norm and touring the
Precision shop, I felt compelled to write about the visit. Norm and Linda
are down to earth people. Very honest and personable folks. And after
touring the shop and how work is done, I truly recommend Precision
Automotive to anyone needing parts, a new motor, a motor rebuild or even
info for your own motor build. I honestly feel that once you talk with
either Norm or Linda, you will be back to the shop with your business and be
quite satisfied with anything involving them and the shop. I also need to
point out that Precision does not only do race engines. They sell parts,
build and rebuild drag motors, stock rebuilds, custom builds and also do
restoration motor work. They can do anything machining wise that you may
need and all done in-house.
Thank you Linda and Norm, for everything you have done with The
Chrome Horn. Your support in sponsorship and the website itself, your
friendship, your extra input like the Top 5 contest and every other little
thing between us. It is so much appreciated and even more heartfelt now that
I have actually had the chance to meet both of you. You are both very
Peace, love and thanks to both of you,
Richie Grodski, TCH
Source: Richie Grodski