CREW OF ...
CREW OF #26 TEAM KOOL GREEN'S HONDA-REYNARD WIN $50,000 CRAFTSMAN PIT CREW CHALLENGE
FONTANA, Calif. (October 28, 1999) - The crew of Paul Tracy's #26 Team KOOL Green Honda-Reynard won the inaugural Craftsman Pit Crew Challenge competition today at California Speedway.
Crew Chief Tony Cotman led his crew to the $50,000 first-place prize by beating three other crews that qualified for today's finale (Max Papis / Team Rahal, Juan Montoya / Target-Chip Ganassi Racing, Michael Andretti / Newman-Haas Racing).
Crews have been competing in the year long competition, culminating in today's four-team final. In today's event each crew was required to make at least two stops, with the total times of all stops averaged and the lowest average time winning the title. All four tires were required to be changed, but no fuel was added.
The #26 Team KOOL Green crew made only the two mandatory stops. Their first stop was completed in 37.761 seconds, while the second was marginally quicker at 37.538 seconds. Their winning average was 37.650 seconds.
Second place went to the crew for Max Papis' Team Rahal entry, with an average for three stops of 38.285 seconds. Michael Andretti's Newman-Haas crew took third with a four-stop average of 40.674 seconds. Juan Montoya's Target-Chip Ganassi Racing crew finished fourth with a five-stop average of 40.966 seconds.
Tony Cotman, Crew Chief for the #26 Team KOOL Green Honda-Reynard:
"What a great way to start the weekend! Winning this thing is really good for the guys. This isn't something we just started working on last week. We practice all year, every day. In the end, it was doing two solid stops that won it for us. That was our plan going in and it worked really well. We didn't want to get into doing more stops because you run the risk of getting tired and making a mistake. I'd like to thank Craftsman for putting on the competition and letting the pit crews show what they're made of."
Barry Green, Team KOOL Green owner:
"A job well done. The boys have been working hard for this all year. I think it showed in many races where Tony's (Cotman, Team Manager/Crew Chief) guys picked up positions on pit stops. That's one of the great things about this series that the pit crews are so heavily involved in winning a race."
Paul Tracy, driver of the #26 Team KOOL Green Honda-Reynard:
"This is great! Early in the year, this was one of the goals we set for ourselves. Good results were kind of slow in coming at the start of the season. It really wasn't until mid-season that we started scoring some points and always it was because we had great pit stops. I didn't think that first stop was one that counted, and I was slow leaving. But I guess we had plenty in hand. It's a great reward for these guys. They work hard all year and it shows in the races when we make up some spots in the pits."