Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ROOKIE STRIPE: 11 Things You Might Not Know About NASCAR Pit Crews

Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
Amid the acrid exhaust fumes and drone of activity at a NASCAR race, the busy pit crews of NASCAR seem to blend in with the crowd, and yet they’re impossible to miss. Many have the muscular statures of Greek gods, and work with an intensity so fierce it might remind you of a hungry bear on the prowl. But the jobs of the pit crew are about more than muscle and speed. Much goes into the job description of a pit crew member that you might not even realize.

Here are 11 things to know about pit crews:

1. Race days often start at 5 a.m. or earlier. For most races, with the exception of those on the West Coast, and some within driving distance, teams fly out the morning of the race, usually from a small airport in Concord, N.C. This usually means departure times at the crack of dawn.

2. Depending on the team, pit crews fly on either the team plane or a private airline concierge service that is essentially a shared plane for multiple teams. For races that are closer to the home base of most teams, such as Charlotte, Martinsville, Darlington and Bristol, pit crew members may drive together to the race very early in the morning, often in vans.

3. While setting up on pit road, crews are required to wear black pants and their track shirt, which usually has the team’s main sponsor for weekend.

4. On the team hauler, pit crew members have lockers, just like in a gym, but in a much more confined space. They sometimes have to share lockers. The hauler is their shop on wheels, changing room, locker room and control center all in one.

5. Pit crews will eat a meal with their teammates, often cooking out in the infield near the haulers prior to the race. Most pit crews have a meeting on the hauler an hour before the race.

6. On race day, there’s a NASCAR church service led by Motor Racing Outreach immediately following the drivers’ meeting that many pit crew members, drivers, safety personnel and other pit road visitors attend.

Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
7. Pit crews change clothes just before the race, putting on flame-resistant Nomex® socks, pants and long-sleeved shirts underneath their fire suits.

8. Any pit crew member who handles gas wears a fire suit made with a higher grade of fire retardant, making it less breathable. He must wear a Nomex® head sock during pit stops, too.

9. Crew members have to be available the entire race because they never know when an unscheduled pit stop might happen. Even bathroom breaks are risky.

10. A team’s driver, spotter and crew chief communicate constantly on the radio about issues, how to pit and more. All of the pit crew members are on the same frequency, and this is how they know what to do during a pit stop.

11. Even after a late Sunday race and a late flight home, most pit crews will be back at work Monday morning, ready to prepare for the next race.

They say the action in NASCAR never stops, and that's certainly true of pit crews – even when the race is finished.

Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
More pit crew-related reading:

NASCAR.com: The anatomy of a pit stop
Why a pit crew looks a lot like a football team
Athletic trainer’s skills land him on NASCAR pit crew
What 8 years in a NASCAR pit crew taught Banjo’s CEO about pivoting
 

1 comments :

  1. Quite interesting post to read! People often forget these "behind the scene" people but every race is impossible without them. Thank you for allowing us to understand more the pit crew's work.

    ReplyDelete