In the Pits- MB2
U.S. Army Team Ranks 3rd in Pit Crew Competition
The U.S. Army race team placed third in the National Pit Crew Competition presented by Tyson, the newest contest formed to highlight the behind-the-scenes crew members in NASCAR.
The event was a bracket-style tournament that pitted teams against each other in four rounds, beginning with 20 head-to-head competitions. Crews had to change four tires and fill the car with fuel in a race against the stopwatch. Buttons were positioned on the pit wall, and the clock stopped when the car tire pushed them. Forty teams participated in the event.
Driver Joe Nemechek’s team finished third, missing out on the finals because of a two-second loose lug nut penalty in the semifinals.
“I wasn’t surprised at all to find out the U.S. Army team finished so high in the competition,” said Nemechek. “Each and every week these guys go out there and throw their all into clicking off the best and fastest pit stops they can. The success of this U.S. Army team falls on the team, and the pit stop guys are an integral part.”
The competition was created by the Crew Chief Club, which hoped to manufacture a contest to reward NASCAR’s less visible team members.
A similar event took place at North Carolina Speedway for 36 years, but when the sponsor withdrew from NASCAR last season, the competition went with it.
The Crew Chief Club began planning a new event and eventually came up with this one, which set the top 30 teams in the Nextel Cup points standings and the top 10 Busch series teams against each other in the single elimination tournament.
More than 4,000 race fans and several drivers were on hand to support their crews.
“I’m proud of this U.S. Army team,” offered crew chief Ryan Pemberton. “They did a great job during the competition and showed everyone how competitive they are each week. Not only was this a great event for the fans, but it was great to give the team members a chance to show off their skills to their fellow competitors.
“This is a group of athletes, and they’re striving to be the best at what they do. We’re lucky to have them on our team.”