CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 14, 2002) -- A deal is a deal. And NBC commentator Benny Parsons made a long-standing deal to pay $100 each to any Winston Cup Series pit crew who could do a complete pit stop under 13.00 seconds. So the member of the ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 14, 2002) -- A deal is a deal. And NBC commentator Benny Parsons made a long-standing deal to pay $100 each to any Winston Cup Series pit crew who could do a complete pit stop under 13.00 seconds. So the member of the Schneider Electric pit crew didn't waste any time showing Parsons the video tape of their 12.95-second pit stop at the last Michigan International Speedway event in June. After reviewing the tape himself, Parsons deemed the stop legit and paid up, giving the team the recognition it deserved for the record-setting stop. At this weekend's Pepsi 400, the team's speedy pit stop will be televised on the pre-race show for everyone to see that practice and determination pay off.
Now if that same determination carries over into the 200 laps of 180 mph racing on the two-mile oval, the team will be in good shape with driver Bobby Hamilton behind the wheel. In his career Hamilton has sat on the pole, led the race and worked his way up from last on the charts to fourth in Michigan. One thing is for sure though, it takes the whole team -- driver and crew -- to make it to victory lane. And with a determined driver and fast pit stops, the Schneider Electric Racing Team is looking for this weekend to be its first trip this year.
Jackman and pit crew coordinator Mark Padgett discusses how the team prepares for such a feat.
How does a team crank out a pit stop in 12 seconds?
"We practice, practice and practice some more. There isn't a coach here that tells us how to do it, we just do it on our own. This team has worked on so many different types of cars -- from ARCA cars to trucks or Busch series -- and that really helps. It's an advantage that we've been together now for two years and we didn't have to hire anyone from other teams to change tires this year. The consistency has paid off for us. You have to be dedicated and take this sport seriously to be on top of your game.
And the driver plays a big role. When Bobby drives the car into our pits, he has to hit his marks too. The smoother he gets in helps us make a smoother pit stop. Basically, it takes a perfect stop from everyone. The tire changers have to take five lug nuts off and hit five lug nuts on. The tire carriers have to be on target setting the tire on the car. And the jack man has to be on time pulling the rear tire off, getting around the car and dropping the jack as soon as the others are done. One little mistake and you are out of the 12-second range."
What does the team do during the week to prepare for 12-second pit stops?
"We practice in the morning or usually in the heat of the day -- sometimes even twice a day. We have a weight trainer. She'll be working with us three days a week on aerobics and weight training. She will help us with some speed and agility training also."