All posts tagged Pit Crew Guys

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shortcuts: exclusive kasey kahne photo

MADISON, IL - JULY 17: Trevor Bayne, driver of the  Out! Pet Care Toyota, signs autographs for fans during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway on July 17, 2010 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)Everyday, at least that’s what it feels like, I get press releases or newsy items about teams, sponsors, charities and drivers in the world of racing. I probably get around to posting like 10% of it. It’s not because it’s bad or uninteresting it’s just that I don’t have time to post ‘em all. So that’s why I created a new sub-section here for The Fast and the Fabulous called ‘Fabulous’ News. It’s where you, your friends and PR people can post any kind of newsy news and press releases for everyone to read.

This way you don’t have to wait for me to post ‘em. They still have to be approved before they’re shown on the site but they won’t go through my filter so it’s still a lot better than languishing in my email box.

Of course, if something piques my interest I’ll still highlight it here in the main area of The Fast and the Fabulous.

crew members need to feel the love too

The No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion gets pushed through inspection at Infineon Raceway (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous)On Sunday before the race I walked pit road taking the usual pictures and I found the pit boxes for the No. 28 and No. 38 Yates Racing teams.

I have to say that I’ve been thinking about the guys on pit crews a lot lately, mostly because you don’t hear much about them individually or even as a group. Drivers constantly talk about how it’s a team sport and they couldn’t do it without their guys but how much do we really know about the men on these teams? And how much do they know about their fans? Unless you’re on the crew for the most popular drivers it’s hard to know who’s rooting for you or if they are at all.

On television in pre-race shows they sometimes do profiles of this crew member or that one for some special or unique story, but it’s never a consistent study of who these guys are and how they feel about their teams chances each week. I suppose it would be really hard from a PR standpoint to control all of those voices but it would be refreshing to hear them.

So with that being said I took the chance to talk to the pit crew guys — that were there — from Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland’s teams. I asked them if they ever went online to their team website to see what their fans were saying. They all said that they don’t go online and some guessed that maybe the comments were negative.

I told them that they had a bunch of fans out there that supported them 100%. So the comments from these guys surprised me and got me thinking. Since these guys don’t have time to spend online searching for what people are saying, I think that if you’re a Gilliland, Kvapil or Yates Racing fan you should send a letter to the crew members. Don’t send it to Travis or David — send it to the guys on the team. Just to be clear I’m not saying you shouldn’t write to the drivers too, you totally should, but don’t forget about the other guys that make up the team.


Crew members from the No. 28 California Highway Patrol Ford Fusion team (from left to right): Tire Runner John Horn, Catchcan Bobby Grant, and Front Tire Changer Cory DeMarco.

Crew members from the No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion team

Crew members from the No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion team

a change of plans for the coca-cola 600

Ok, so here is the bad news. I’m not going to Charlotte this week for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday. There are a few things that contributed to me calling off the trip but the biggest thing is that I’m suddenly moving next week and I couldn’t justify using the money on the trip when I could really use it for the move.

So it sucks that I won’t get to meet people (Penni!) and visit the race shops but I know I’ll have another opportunity to visit the Charlotte area in the future.

But the good news is that I’m moving into my own place again (awesome!) and that I got word that I was approved for credentials to the races at Infineon in June. I’m super-duper relieved that I will be able to go the Toyota/Save Mart 350. It’s going to be fun. Oh and now this whole thing allows me to watch both the Coca-Cola 600 and the Indy 500.

In other news…

– I’m not writing for Examiner.com anymore. There’s no big story except that it just wasn’t the right thing for me. The thing that I love the most about my blog is that it’s mine and I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. If you check this site regularly you know that I don’t have a set schedule and I don’t write everyday. I would love to be able to have something relevant to say everyday but I don’t. Plus I love writing about my experiences at the races or watching the races on TV and not needing to be an expert. I don’t know everything there is to know about NASCAR and I’m not trying to act like I do. I just write about the things that occur to me and that’s what I’m going to keep on doing. So there. Just kidding. I have absolutely no ill will towards the folks at the Examiner. I appreciate being given the opportunity. I think the new design they have is great.

– I’ll be doing another DVD giveaway soon and by soon I mean hopefully this week. I watched the DVD last week and I need sit down and remember all the great things I liked about it. This time I’ll have three copies to give away (unless they tell me I have to give two of ‘em back).

– I finally got to watch the full episode of Cribs that featured Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the western town he built on his property, Whisky River. They’ve been playing it on CMT along with the old segments Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray filmed a long time ago (Casey was still with Gnassi Racing). I loved seeing inside Dale’s house and of course Whisky River. If I was a kid and I was related to him I’d want to hang out at his place like all the time. When I was a kid I loved to make believe and I don’t think it would get any better than having a place like that with an actual working jail you could lock your friends in and then go faux marry someone at the chapel. That’d be so freaking fun.

– The All-Star Race happened and I missed it. Marc from Full Throttle was awesome to give me a great tip on how to watch the race online but I had to miss out on that too ’cause I went out to meet a guy. Plus for some reason I had it in my head that the race was on Sunday and not Saturday. At any rate it’s awesome that Kasey Kahne got the win. Hopefully it’ll light a fire under his team to win a points race.

– I’m stoked that the Red Bull guys had a good weekend. First by winning the Pit Crew Challenge and then by getting A.J. Allmendinger into the All-Star race. It’s all awesome stuff.


The No. 83 Red Bull Toyota pit crew of Brian Vickers pushes their car towards the finish line during the Craftsman 40-Yard Push. The crew won the championship, setting a new speed record along the way. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The No. 83 Red Bull Toyota pit crew of Brian Vickers pushes their car towards the finish line during the Craftsman 40-Yard Push. The crew won the championship, setting a new speed record along the way. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(L-R): Individual winners Caleb Hurd, gas man for the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, Jamie Frady, catch can man for the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, Dave Smith, rear tire changer for the No. 17 DeWalt Ford, Jason Binger, rear tire carrier for the No. 17 DeWalt Ford, Nick O'Dell, front tire changer for the No. 18 M&M's Toyota, Brad Donaghy, front tire carrier for the No. 18 M&M's Toyota and Eric Wilson, jackman for the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge pose in Victory Lane. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

(L-R): Individual winners Caleb Hurd, gas man for the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, Jamie Frady, catch can man for the No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet, Dave Smith, rear tire changer for the No. 17 DeWalt Ford, Jason Binger, rear tire carrier for the No. 17 DeWalt Ford, Nick O’Dell, front tire changer for the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, Brad Donaghy, front tire carrier for the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota and Eric Wilson, jackman for the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge pose in Victory Lane. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

AJ Allmendinger celebrates winning the Sprint Showdown. Allmendinger's win transferred him into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

AJ Allmendinger celebrates winning the Sprint Showdown. Allmendinger’s win transferred him into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Kahne was voted into the race by a Fan Vote and raced his way to victory from the back of the field. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

I love this photo, the expression on Kasey’s face is priceless.

Kasey Kahne celebrates winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Kahne was voted into the race by a Fan Vote and raced his way to victory from the back of the field. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

making serious eye contact with biffle

The No. 99 team run to Victory Lane at the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas (Photo Credit: The Fast and the Fabulous/Valli Hilaire)So as the race wound down I made sure I was in the lobby of the Media Center to catch Carl Edwards’ flip into the grass as it happened. As soon as he sped his car into the garage the entire No. 99 Office Depot team came running through the lobby on their way to celebrate their win in Victory Lane. My blurry photo of some of the guys is to the left.

I must confess that yet again I was hoping and wishing that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would make it into the top 3 because at the end of every race they always have the top finishers come into the Media Center to answer questions. As soon as I saw Carl jump off of his car in Victory Lane I hightailed into the deadline media room and waited for Dale and Greg Biffle to arrive. Biffle came in first and looked dead at me like I was an alien. I don’t think he meant anything weird by it; I was standing right next to the door he came through and he was already answering questions from a couple writers so he was in mid-sentence and they just stopped right there by the door. Yea it was awkward. So I moved away and stood next to an empty workspace, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible from that point onward.

Eventually Biffle took a seat on the stage and Dale Jr. zipped in and took his designated spot next to him (after the questions were over he zipped right out, he’s not much of a lingerer that Dale Jr.). There were more questions directed to Dale than Biffle. Dale was funny and I knew they wouldn’t use his best responses on the local newscasts later that night. He called himself a tool for not being more aggressive when it came to restarts and when one writer questioned his status of emotions after coming in second, saying that he thought Dale seemed “subdued” in his demeanor, Dale replied, “I don’t know, I’m happy.  I’m sorry I’m not happier.”

The best part came when they were both asked about how much they think about the points standings and making sure they’re in the top 12. Dale admitted that last year he was “lackadaisical” about the Championship standings, saying that he’d say “We’ll get around to it, we’ll put some runs together to get in there,” but not so this year. This time he’s focusing on every lap. And frankly as one of his fans, that’s music to my ears.


Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. answer questions from the media after the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 2, 2008 (photo credit: The Fast and the Fabulous/Valli Hilaire)

Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. answer questions from the media after the UAW-Dodge 400 in Las Vegas on Sunday, March 2, 2008

cleaning the nuts

Credit: The Fast and The FabulousWhen I was at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. on Sunday I talked to some of the crew members from David Gilliland’s No. 38 FreeCreditReport.com team. I wasn’t prepared to talk to them; I did it on a whim to see if they’d be willing to talk to me at all since A.) They were busy doing something and B.) They didn’t know me from Adam.

I was delighted when I found that not only were they totally fine about talking to me, after checking out my media credential, but they were also really cool, nice guys. Young, really cool, nice guys I might add. They were all under thirty and this fact kinda caught me off guard. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I wasn’t expecting them to be around my age. I suddenly thought “hey, these are guys my friends could date!” and in my head that brought everything back to reality for me. At the end of the day they’re just any other dude you’d see in a bar or event. Usually when I see drivers, crew members, and team PR people at the track, I always think of them being so “official.” Like they’re untouchable or something and you shouldn’t dare speak to them unless you have an “in.”

Jason, Ben, Greg, Bryce, Kyle and Tim were more than willing to answer my questions. I asked if they ever get hit on by groupies and Jason remembered how he’d seen three sets of women’s breasts on the glass of the garage at Daytona this year. I was shocked. What are those women thinking?? The guys are just going to drop everything and ask for their number? Weird.

I asked if they ever get to hang out with Gilliland. They see him mostly at the shop and sometimes he takes ‘em out to dinner. The resounding response overall though was that he was a really nice guy.

As I was standing there, talking to these guys, a small crowd started to gather around us. Apparently everyone wanted to watch them “clean their nuts.” They needed to clean the inside of the nuts, that would later be glued to the tires, so that they’d run on and off the studs easier during tire changes. The process involved a drill and a really long bit of some sort.

If any of those nuts fell on the ground during the process they had to be tossed. It’s bad luck to put it on the car after it’s been on the ground, so a couple lucky kids got to have the undesirables as souvenirs.

If I get the chance to talk to them again, when they’re not busy, I’ll take the photo of them that I forgot get the first time!