The over the wall crews that make a split second difference for drivers are often the unsung heroes when the checkered flag drops. The party begins with a burnout followed with celebrations and congratulations. No one said it better than Jeff Gordon following his Kansas win. During the post race interview Gordon had this to say, “This pit crew and Alan Gustafson, all these engineers, and everybody at Hendrick Motor Sports, that’s who won this race.”
Who makes up the crew? Front-Tire Changer, Rear-Tire Changer, Gas Man, Pit Crew Coach, Front-Tire Carrier, Rear-Tire Carrier and the Jack Man. Many teams have back-up crew members as well. Each role is an integral part of the dance that services the car at every race. Using tools consisting of impacts, compressors, jacks, piano bars, fuel cans, hammers, saws, bats, and duct tape. The dance begins the moment the car enters the pit stall. Though the dance last only seconds, the crew makes all the adjustments, changes and fueling quickly and efficiently as possible. Any mishaps can cost a driver positions exiting pit row.
Now, I’m not calling the crew a bunch of ballerinas, but the precision required to make the changes happen quickly on pit row is much like dancers on a stage. Most people watching the race at home don’t know how precise and skilled the crews need to be. We watch the crew make changes and adjustments without running into one another or being caught up in an accident on pit row.
As for me, I tip my hat not only to the drivers but to the unsung heroes on pit row performing “the dance, the ballet over the wall”.
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