Summer Time Jobs a Sure Ticket to NASCAR Success? Some took odd paths to their motorsports careers STATESVILLE, NC -- With summer fast approaching, many high school students will be searching for part-time employment once classes let out. Some...
Summer Time Jobs a Sure Ticket to NASCAR Success?
Some took odd paths to their motorsports careers
STATESVILLE, NC -- With summer fast approaching, many high school students will be searching for part-time employment once classes let out. Some might have visions of NASCAR careers in their sights right now hoping to gain some worthwhile experience. And, they just might get a motorsports-related job for the summer.
But, that hasn't always been the case for today's crew members and drivers -- especially for some on Elliott Sadler's team. With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series enjoying their second off-weekend of the season, a survey was conducted amongst some No. 19 Best Buy/Stanley Tools/McDonald's/Siemens team members. And, it shows racing was the farthest thing from their early employment years.
Pizza maker, farm hand and cemetery lawn mower were just a few of the early jobs current team members did back in the day.
For instance, Terry Spalding spent his high school days working on a dairy farm before becoming the team's front tire changer. Milking cows would have been glorious compared to what he actually did for dollars.
"I got to clean the cow's stalls," Spalding said. "Actually, it was more like clean the manure from the stall into the trough behind them. That was then pushed around by a mechanical sweeper and put into the manure spreader. I would then get up at 4:30 a.m. the next day and spread it out in the fields before I went to school. And yes, I stopped home to clean up before I went to class."
Stephen Ritchie is the team's engine tuner. Before he listened to a motor clicking off rpms, he listened to a lot of clucking.
"I worked on a chicken farm up in Pennsylvania," Ritchie said. "It was my job to clean up the chicken houses each day. The noise of them all was one thing, but the odor in there was something else. Imagine a hot July day in Pennsylvania with no fans in the building. That odor would knock you over when you walked in those houses."
Mike "Nook" McCarville also had a noisy job, but not with animals. In his native Prince Edward Isle, Canada, McCarville spent his summer installing water lines before becoming a shock specialist.
"We would dig the ditches to take out the old line and put in the new one," McCarville said. "Then, I would get the compactor and smash down the ground to so it was nice and level once we installed the line. Imagine being in an eight-foot hole all day with one of those noisy machines; I couldn't tell if the sun was out or not half the time."
Chris "Cowboy" Moyher had it in the bag compared to his co-workers. The team mechanic worked in a grocery store filling up paper sacks with items, pushing around carts and stocking shelves. Jeff Seaberg worked at McDonald's, a current No. 19 team sponsor, as a cook. That's quite a long haul from his current career as the team's transport driver.
Ed Watkins started jacking around the insides of tractor trailers before lifting NASCAR race cars with a jack. He loaded and unloaded trailers -- all by hand -- in his native Richmond. No fork lift, no pallets and no air condition were the working conditions.
Don Marvel literally played with worms for money en route to his rear tire carrying career. He made his summer time money working in a bait shop in his native Union Beach, N.J.
Kevin Kidd calculated the proper placement of pepperonis and mushrooms on pizzas. He's now the team's engineer. Toby Mellott learned the ins and outs of driving before becoming a tire specialist in NASCAR. He mowed the lawn of his local cemetery for summer time funds.
Even team founder Ray Evernham had an unpredictable beginning to his career. Instead of working on race cars, he toyed with a different type of horsepower.
"I worked on a horse farm up in New Jersey," Evernham said. "I was 15 at the time and I loaded and loaded hay, cleaned stalls and did all the other stuff on farms nobody else wanted to do there."
So, the next time you drive through a McDonald's, stop by the grocery store or order a pizza this summer; you just might get waited on by a future NASCAR hauler driver, mechanic, engineer or even a team owner.
Elliott Sadler and the No. 19 Garmin Dodge return to action next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.