MOORESVILLE, N.C. (January 31, 2003) -- With the start of Daytona Speedweeks less than one week away, teams are working overtime in search of speed, both on the track and in the pits. For newly formed NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, BelCar...
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (January 31, 2003) -- With the start of Daytona Speedweeks less than one week away, teams are working overtime in search of speed, both on the track and in the pits. For newly formed NASCAR Winston Cup Series team, BelCar Racing, pit crew practice is being kicked up a notch thanks to the team's pit crew coach, Phil Horton of Athletic Training Concepts.
"Consistency. That's what matters right now," said Horton, a certified athletic trainer as well as a strength and conditioning coach. "If you are consistent, the speed will come."
Horton has been a fixture in the NASCAR garage area since he began working with Ernie Irvan in 1998. He is no stranger to the Travis Carter Enterprises complex as he's worked with the Nos. 26 and 66 teams since 2001. Now that the No. 54 Army National Guard crew is together, Horton is taking the military philosophy of teamwork and focus to band seven individuals into one unit going over the wall.
The Army National Guard pit crew will make its debut February 8th under the lights at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway when driver Todd Bodine competes in the Budweiser Shootout. Horton believes their team training will keep them cool under the pressure.
"Every member of this so-called rookie team has gone over the wall many times," continued Horton. "They know what to expect and servicing a car is second nature to them. What can slow a stop down is an overzealous member wanting to make their mark. The problem is this is a team sport. A veteran knows to concentrate only at their task at hand and to not worry about what the other crewmembers of doing. If everyone does their job, a good 13-second stop is possible.
"Right now my primary objective with this team is to brush up on their basic fundamentals by concentrating on ergonomics," Horton added. "They must repeat on a consistent basis the correct body positioning, movements and footwork. That's a lot to think about in a split second but this team can do it. This crew is looking to help maintain or gain track position during a race for Todd."
Returning from the No. 26 crew will be gasman Rocky Boggs, Darrell Dodson carrying catch can and Kevin Sharpe, front tire carrier. Recently hired to the crew are jack man Stephen Gleason, front tire changer Brian Bass, rear tire changer Tony Tolley, and rear tire carrier Scott Pease. Horton will train the crew two-times a week during the season to keep them on their toes.
"I've had the privilege of training NFL, NBA and Olympic athletes. What amazes me about NASCAR pit crews is their ability to jump out in front of a 3,200-pound car going 55 miles an hour and never flinch. No other sport requires a team to do that."