Christmas is now over, you've had a good rest from the busy season this last year and it's about time to start thinking about your needs for the coming season. What we need to do is sit back and think of the times we needed certain tools that we didn't have or observed equipment that needed to be replaced. Now is the time to develop our parts wish list.

We know we need certain equipment in order to do our job repairing or maintaining our race cars. There are other areas too that need to be considered. The transportation needs as well as convenience items come to mind, as do the safety components for both driver and crew. Let your mind encompass every aspect of the team effort.

Many teams will have a "garage sale" of sorts and sometimes the track cooperates in allowing the teams to setup at the track for a used-parts sale day prior to the season opener. If your track does not have a day scheduled, ask it to schedule one. Get a few other teams together as a group and approach the track ownership about organizing a swap meet of sorts. Or you can advertise locally and even regionally on craigslist.com or eBay.

Being able to sell your unused and unwanted parts generates money for the ones you really need while allowing teams with lower budgets or in the lower classes to have the opportunity to pick up parts they need too. Items we accumulate too many of or that might age somewhat could include shocks, wheels, springs, tires, or other things you might need to replace.

Just try not to sell parts that are bad. This will give you and your team a bad name in the racing community. I knew of a local racer who sold my friend five bad harmonic balancers that had spun out of degree accuracy. This was a common problem back in the '70s with stock parts. If your parts are damaged or bad, throw them away, don't sell them.

OK, here goes, our wish list of parts you might need.

Tools Certain tools just make the job of building, maintaining, and repairing the race car quicker and easier.

Setup Tools and Aides I put this one first by design because it is close to my heart. All of what comes after this is a prelude to this section. But instead of putting it last, I wanted to put it upfront so you could be thinking about this all the while.

If you don't have a set of racing scales, shame, shame. If yours are worn or battered, good for you, you've been using them. There are new models out that don't have wires to step on, trip over, or constantly have to be moved over the jack. Wireless scales are wonderful and we have used them on our project vehicles and just loved the convenience.

You must align your race car correctly and the best and easiest way to do that is with proper alignment tools such as laser systems. The time saved and the accuracy achieved all make this investment well worth it. I have heard feedback from many teams who have bought and used these systems and they are very happy they made the choice.

You should have at a minimum, caster and camber gauges, bumpsteer gauges, wheel alignment and Ackermann-checking systems, as well as tire temperature and air pressure gauges.

For the dirt guys, tread depth gauges and tire siping and cutting tools are in order. You can do most of your setup parameters in the shop where the floor is relatively level and all of the above can help you prepare the car for the various conditions you might encounter.

Air System with Compressor Installing a complete compressed air system with all of the air tools saves electricity while providing relatively cheap tools to cut, rivet, drill, ratchet, impact, and sand on your car. One larger compressor, installed outside the working area, provides all of the air needed and isolates the sound.

Drill Press We are always drilling and needing to do it straight and accurately. A good drill press on a stand works well for those tasks.