Not only dedicated, but really good at what they do. Talk about a dedication to a life in racing: Jay Guaneri and Troy Prince both work full-time for a Busch Grand National team during the week, and on Sundays they pit the Winston Cup No. 21 ...
Not only dedicated, but really good at what they do.
Talk about a dedication to a life in racing: Jay Guaneri and Troy Prince both work full-time for a Busch Grand National team during the week, and on Sundays they pit the Winston Cup No. 21 Motorcraft Racing Taurus driven by Elliott Sadler.
Guaneri, a rear tire changer on Sundays, is the car chief for Mike McLaughlin's Busch car the rest of the time. Prince, a tire carrier on Sundays, is a fabricator at the same shop during the week.
While Busch and Winston Cup often race at the same track on the same weekend, there are several times during the season that the Busch series is racing in one state on Saturday and Winston Cup series races the same weekend on Sunday several sates away.
This past weekend, Jay and Troy were at Gateway International Speedway in Madison, Ill., on Saturday, and Sunday morning they arrived shortly after the garage opened at New Hampshire International Speedway. This coming weekend, the Busch series races at Pikes Peak International Speedway in Colorado on Saturday and Winston Cup series will be at the track in Pocono, Pa.
JAY GUANERI, rear tire changer -- 21 -- Motorcraft Taurus
YOU WORKED THE BUSCH RACE SATURDAY NIGHT, FLEW BACK TO CHARLOTTE, AND THEN FLEW TO NEW HAMPSHIRE FOR THE WINSTON CUP RACE SUNDAY MORNING. AND YOU WILL BE DOING THE SAME THING THIS COMING WEEKEND. HOW DO YOU DO IT? "Next week, we'll be in Colorado (Pikes Peak), and its not as bad because it's a daytime race. But like [Saturday] night, we got home at 3 a.m., got an hour's sleep. Previously, it was Nashville and Kentucky and those were both night races, so by the time you get home it's 2 o'clock and then you fly out between 4:30 and 5 in the morning."
DO YOU ACTUALLY GO HOME? "Yes. Go home, take a shower, grab another bag, go back to the airport and do it all again. Get an hour's sleep on the plane and here we are."
DO YOU GET TIME OFF DURING THE WEEK? "No, seven days a week, no break, big-time auto racing."
YOU MUST REALLY LOVE WHAT YOU DO. "I do. It's enjoyable. It's fun. It's nice to help these people out. It's nice to do my full-time job. It's fun work. I'm at Joe Gibbs Racing, car chief, Mike McLaughlin's deal, six days a week. And then Joe gives us the opportunity to do this on Sunday to help the Wood Brothers out. I've been doing it for a long time and it's fun. I started in racing when I was 12 and started traveling when I was 16, and I've been doing this for seven years - working in Winston Cup and Busch."
WHERE WERE YOU BEFORE? "I worked with Billy Bigley in the All Pro Series, and then moved to North Carolina in 1995 and worked with ST Motorsports and then with Joe Gibbs Racing. And then did a bunch of Winston Cup stuff on Sundays. It's my second year of doing this."
WHERE DO YOU LIVE? "Mooresville [N.C.]. [Saturday] night I went home, got to sit down for about an hour, freshen up, take a shower and then do it all over again. I get about two hours sleep total. That's all you need."
TROY PRINCE, tire carrier -- 21 -- Motorcraft Taurus
DESCRIBE YOUR WEEK. "On Monday, I go to the shop about 7 [a.m.] and build race cars until 5 [p.m.] - [I'm a] finish fabricator. I do that Monday through Friday. Then if it's a day race, we usually leave at 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning Saturday on the race-day plane. If it's night race like this weekend, we leave at 11:30 [a.m.]. Then, when I get to the track, I set up the pits, get all the tires glued up, and then pit the race car. When the race is over, we get on a bus and head to the airport. I got to my house [in Cornelius, N.C.] at 3:05 [Sunday] morning and took about a 45- to 50-minute nap, took a shower and left. I picked Jay up and we left at 5:00. I was at the airport [in Charlotte] at 4:30 [a.m.] to [go up] to New Hampshire. The plane landed from St. Louis about 2:30, and I was home just about 3 o'clock. I laid down at five after three, that's when I hit the sheets. And then I got up at 4 o'clock."
ARE YOU GOING ON ADRENALINE? "I don't know. I've been doing it for three years I don't really get tired. I just get all my sleep at the end of the season. I'll be tired Monday, but then I'm fine by Tuesday. I don't really feel anything. West Coast trips are really hard when we go to California or Phoenix and then have to be at work on Monday morning. We come in on the red-eye and go straight to work. I don't know. I just never really get tired. When I first started doing this I was tired, and I thought, 'I don't know if I can do this.' But seeing that this is my third year with the Wood Brothers and my third year with Gibbs, it is just part of the job now."
HOW DO YOU DO BOTH? "I've never had a conflict. We've had a few rain delays in Winston Cup. I try to make sure all my work is done Friday before I leave the shop so if there is a chance of rain on Sunday I just take a vacation day, stay at the track and pit Elliott's car. We've only had one rainout in Busch. Last year, when Winston Cup was at Martinsville, I can't remember where we were, but we rained out on Saturday and we raced the Busch race on Sunday. Winston Cup got rained out at Martinsville on Sunday and we raced Martinsville on Monday. So I took a day off from work on Monday. I took a day off for Texas this year. It is pretty critical Monday through Friday that I know what I have to do at the shop, whether I need windows or crush panels or spoilers for the finish fabricating, and I try to make sure that stuff is done. If I had a car that wasn't done and we had a situation like Texas, then my crew chief at Gibbs' would say, 'This is starting to interfere with work. You can't stay in.' But, fortunately, that hasn't happened in three years, and I haven't missed any of the races. There's not a lot of guys that work just because they aren't in the right situation or working for a team that will allow that. Some teams don't allow their guys to pit other cars, but Joe Gibbs told us when he started the Busch program that if any of us wanted to work Sundays we could. As long as he and his son don't have a problem, then we're going to keep on doing it."
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN RACING? "I've been in the Busch series for four years and three years in Winston Cup. And the two years prior to that I worked in the Busch North Series, but I worked a regular 40-hour a week job. That is pretty much all volunteer. I'm from Maine, but I worked for a team based out of Massachusetts, and I'd work 40 hours a week or more building custom cabinets, and then I'd drive down to Methune, Massachusetts, and work on the race car."
WHEN DID YOU MOVE DOWN SOUTH? "In 1999. I'd been building custom cabinets for 12 years and I just got burned out of it, got tired of doing it. And I thought at age 30 it was time to make a career change. I went home and told the wife I thought it was time to change, and she said, 'all right, let's go.'"
HOW DO YOU BALANCE FAMILY LIFE AND WORK? "It's not as hard for me as it is for Jay because Jay is on the road with the Busch team as the car chief, so he leaves Wednesday or Thursday to go to the track. He's away from home Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If I wasn't working in Winston Cup, I would always sleep in my own bed every night because we fly out Saturday morning to race and I would come home Saturday night. But even now it really isn't bad; even though I work seven days a week, I'm only away from home one night - Saturday night. When we have conjunction events, I stay over Saturday night. But when we don't, I'm home on Saturday night. Even last [Saturday] night I slept in my own bed for 50 minutes. At the end of the season I try to take a vacation somewhere with (wife) Mary and enjoy what little time we have off. (The couple is expecting their first child in August.)
HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP THIS UP? "I'd like to carry tires competitively until I'm 40. I'm 34 now. I'm only going to do it as long as I'm competitive, until someone comes along who is younger or faster. That's how this sport is. It's a young sport and if you can't perform you need to be replaced. If I'm still competitive at 40, maybe I'll go longer. I originally had a plan to come to North Carolina and work in the sport for 10 years and then move back home. I think we've already thrown that plan out the window. I think now I'll be here longer than that."
And are these guys any good? Just ask team owners Eddie and Len Wood.
EDDIE WOOD, team owner -- 21 -- Motorcraft Taurus
"Right now, our pit crew is as good as anything that is in here (the Winston Cup garage). I'd put my guys up against any of them any time, any day, for any amount.
LEN WOOD, team owner -- 21 -- Motorcraft Taurus
"If you looked at pit crews every race our guys would rank in the top five. There are some guys who pop off faster pit stops, but they may leave something loose. Our guys have been hitting 13-, 14-second stops consistently, unless there is something wrong. But under regular circumstances, our guys are really good."