All-Star: No. 16 Pit Crew Challenge preview

The No. 16 National Guard Pit Crew Takes "The Challenge" CONCORD, N.C. (May 18, 2005) - You're sitting at home, watching the NASCAR Nextel Cup Race on FOX and there's a caution. One of the announcers reports that pit road is "going to be a very...

The No. 16 National Guard Pit Crew Takes "The Challenge"

CONCORD, N.C. (May 18, 2005) - You're sitting at home, watching the NASCAR Nextel Cup Race on FOX and there's a caution. One of the announcers reports that pit road is "going to be a very busy place." Sure you can see the cars weaving in and out of the pit boxes with uniformed crew members running around with tires, air guns, fuel cans and wrenches but just how busy is it?

Well, there are roughly 300 - 350 crew members jumping over that wall in front of 43 racecars while 43 crew chiefs and 43 spotters direct 43 drivers into 43 pit stalls for tires, fuel and various adjustments. Of course, those numbers vary as cars go a lap down but at any given moment, a Nextel Cup pit crew member is ready to jump into that situation without even thinking twice.

However, for a few of the guys on the National Guard pit crew, that scenario seems a lot less intimidating than the upcoming Nextel All-Star Pit Crew Challenge this Thursday night when their skills will be spotlighted.

"This is probably going to require even more athletic ability than a regular pit stop because we'll be running and pushing a racecar," said front tire changer Adam Emmertt. "We had some decent times in practice but it all boils down to what you can do when it comes time to get it done. It should be a good time though and we'll have fun with it."

In addition to Emmertt, a native of Kamiah, Idaho, Joe Slingerland of Elizabethtown, Ky., will be changing the rear tires. There will be two local North Carolina guys carrying tires with Jeff Silver of Forrest City on the fronts and T.J. Hamilton of Greensboro on the rears. Hauppauge, N.Y., native Jeff Merkel is the jackman and Dave Nichols of Macedon, N.Y., will be the gasman. Rounding out the lineup is another local, John Goodman, straight out of Huntersville, N.C.

The National Guard team has enjoyed a successful season thus far, including three wins, four top-five finishes and seven top-10 finishes in 11 starts. During the most recent win in Darlington, the National Guard crew sent driver Greg Biffle out of the pits in the lead seven times throughout the course of the race.

"This National Guard team is incredible," said Biffle. "They are at the top of their game right now and it shows. I hope they do well in the competition but if they save it for the racetrack, that's fine with me too."

The National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation's longest enduring institutions. The National Guard operates in all 50 states, three territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit the National Guard website at www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com.

Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Industries that operates 10 motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle, three in the Busch Series with Martin, Kenseth and Edwards, and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Todd Kluever and Ricky Craven.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Carl Edwards , Todd Kluever , John Goodman , Mark Martin