It's almost that time of year again. The racing season is over, kids are making Christmas lists, and Moms and Dads around the country are wondering what to get each other for the holidays. Well, we decided to give all of you a little help in deciding what to spend your hard earned money on this holiday season to make next year's racing season that much more enjoyable. Ignoring the obvious items that would make your car go faster, we decided to focus on some tools that would make your life a little easier. Here's the idea. If you can save time and hassles in the shop then your work on the car will go smoother and faster. That in turn will make everybody happier.

Readers of this magazine will recall that Project DLM was housed in a good sized race shop. That shop, while spacious, wasn't convenient for the team or the CT staff. So we downsized our shop, although that '90s buzz word "right-sized" might be more appropriate. As you'll see in the following pictures, the new shop is smaller and divided into two separate rooms. One houses the car and all of the components for it while the other is a tool room specifically for keeping all of our tools under lock and key. In the unlikely event of a break-in we should be able to minimize our losses by having the tools and car in two separate rooms.

In addition to the layout of the shop we also found an unlikely place to find some really cool tools and storage options-Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse. That's right the big blue sponsor of NASCAR's Jimme Johnson actually turned out to be a great place to find some exceptional deals on high-quality tools. Check out the sidebar for a cost breakdown and more details on racer-specific tools from Lowes.

Poor Man's War Wagon
Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse might not be the first place you'd think of to buy tools for your race car but when given the chance to scour its Tool World for tools for the racer, we jumped at the opportunity. The very first item that caught our eye was the new blue powdercoated 12-drawer toolchest. The chest is actually two six-drawer chests, sold separately and stacked one on top of the other. For $1,000, this chest looks, feels, and performs like one of those professional sets from a mobile tool company. We thought long and hard about using that headline, Poor Man's War Wagon, because we didn't want to give the impression that this box was anything other than totally awesome. However, when Sprint Cup teams are spending upwards of the cost of a top-of-the-line Cadillac for a war wagon tool chest, $1,000 is a bargain. The top and bottom are sold separately at $499 each, so you can buy the bottom and add the top later if your budget doesn't permit doing both at once. Plus, Lowe's also offers no payment/no interest purchase options for people who hold a Lowe's Credit Card.

We also found a host of tools in the Tool World that would fit perfectly inside the chest. These are basic tools that every racer should have. In some cases we chose tools that perform multiple functions or tool sets in order to show that you can buy tools on a budget:

• 12-piece screwdriver set (6 slotted, 6 phillips): $29.98
• 9-piece 3/8-inch impact sockets SAE: $34.96
• 9-piece 3/8-inch impact sockets metric: $34.96
• 8-piece 1/2-inch impact sockets SAE: $39.96
• 10-piece 1/2-inch impact sockets metric: $47.96
• 7-piece locking flex heavy-duty ratcheting wrenches metric and SAE: $69.97
• 154-piece mechanics tool set including 1/4-, 3/8-, and 1/2-inch drives with three quick-change ratchets, 22 deep sockets, and 23 Torx and hex bit sockets: $149
• 10 pliers and wrench set, chrome nickel steel pliers, plus chrome vanadium steel locking pliers and adjustable wrench: $39.98

Totaling the individual costs of the items above we come to a total retail price for everything you see (including the Tool Chest) of $1,444.77.

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