Myers to work Charlotte-Indy double-header FONTANA, Calif. (May 3, 1998)
Danny "Chocolate" Myers, the gasman for Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet team and driver Dale Earnhardt, will perform a unique "double dip" on May 24 when the Pep Boys Indy Racing League's Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 are run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, respectively.
Thanks to sponsors Conrad Clement of Featherlite Trailers and Mechanix Wear, the burly, 49-year-old mechanic will fuel one of A.J. Foyt's three entries in the Indianapolis 500. Then he'll jet to North Carolina to gas Earnhardt's Chevrolet in the Coca-Cola 600 that evening at CMS.
Myers seemed sure of performing the double when driver John Andretti was entertaining thoughts of running both races, as he had in 1994. But when Andretti pulled the plug on the venture in order to concentrate on his responsibilities in Richard Petty's No. 43 STP Pontiac, Myers' plans where thrown into something of a quandary.
"It has all come together," Myers' wife, Caron Pappas Myers, said. "We will fly on Featherlite's jet on Sunday morning to Indianapolis. Then, when we return to North Carolina we will fly from Concord to the speedway on either Dale Earnhardt's helicopter or the speedway's."
Myers was concerned since he doesn't carry the clout, or income, of a high-profile driver. He couldn't afford a helicopter to shuttle him here and there. Enter Clement.
"Richard Childress Racing was the first team in Winston Cup to use a Featherlite trailer, and A.J. was the first to use one in Indy car racing," Pappas said. "Chocolate, with his connection to both R.C. and A.J., was the tie that enabled this to happen."
Myers got his initial first-hand taste of Indy car racing when the IRL visited Charlotte last season. The 1.5-mile track in Concord, N.C., is in the heart of stock-car country, and the majority of NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race teams have shops within a 40-mile radius of the facility.
While most stock-car competitors took a close look at the IRL then, Myers actually participated. He was the fuel man for Joie Chitwood's race team, a deal arranged by Leo Mehl, executive director of the Pep Boys IRL.
"Leo made a few phone calls and told me I had the deal in Charlotte," Myers said. "We went down there, did it and just had a good time. It was really neat to work with the different guys and see how they operate."
Myers sports six NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship rings, and of course, a share of the 1998 Daytona 500 crown. Myers is so big and tough, and he's been around so long, that he's arguably the most recognizable crew member in NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing. He's been with the same team for last 16 years. During the week, he's a general mechanic at the race shop.
"I've been doing the gas since 1988," Myers said. "I do a little of everything at the shop. I take care of all the pit equipment. I'm a general mechanic, nothing in particular. I do mostly what nobody else wants to do."
But there are plenty of pit crew members who'd like to do what Myers will on May 24.
Myers has been fueling stock cars for 10 years, but found a whole new job description on the Pep Boys IRL circuit. In NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing, the gasman empties two cans of gas into the gas tank. In IRL competition, the fuel man connects a hose to the fuel cell, and the methanol feeds from a fuel tank in the pits.
"It's entirely different," Myers said. "None of it is the same. It's not any easier and it's not any harder. It's just all different. There's just no comparison."
Foyt concentrated on Indy-style racing most of his career but made a significant impact in NASCAR, where he won seven NASCAR Winston Cup races, including a Daytona 500. Foyt and Myers have known each other for two decades.
"He's always been one of my heroes and a good friend, too," Myers said. "I talked to A.J. about it, and he's happy. Leo and all the people at the IRL are excited about it. It's just a good deal. I'm not doing this for money or anything. I'm doing it for the love of the sport and the thrill of doing two of the biggest races in the country on the same day."
Source: NASCAR Online