Rockingham II: Chevy - Pit Crew Competition preview

Chevy teams ready for Pit Crew Competition. The 35th annual Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition will be held Saturday, Nov. 2, at North Carolina Speedway, the day before the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400. Teams will be vying for a...

Chevy teams ready for Pit Crew Competition.

The 35th annual Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition will be held Saturday, Nov. 2, at North Carolina Speedway, the day before the Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400. Teams will be vying for a $30,000 first-place award. The total purse for the event is $100,000, with a $10,000 bonus going to the team that sets a world record.

Based on current car owner points, 25 teams are selected. Each team is timed while filling the race car with two 7-gallon gas cans and changing all four tires.

We asked the pit crew managers of each of three Chevrolet Monte Carlo Winston Cup teams, Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Inc., what this competition means to the crews.

David R. Smith
Pit Crew Team Manager (all five teams)
Richard Childress Racing

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE PIT STOP COMPETITION TO THE CREW? "Well, it's a thing of pride, who's the best for that day, I guess. It lasts for the whole year, obviously. It's all about pride, it's all about going out there and showing your stuff and showing everybody you're the best."

ARE THERE BRAGGING RIGHTS? "I think so. I was privileged to be a part of four championships, four consecutive championships, nobody else has even done it back to back, (with) pit crew championships. We did that from '85 through '88 with the Junkyard Dogs. It is bragging rights. When you walk down pit road after winning that thing everybody looks at you and says,'There go the best guys; they were the best.' It's a big thing to the pit crew guys to say, 'We beat the best of the best on this day.' And it's the only recognized competition in the world for pit stops, as far as Winston Cup-style racing."

DOES YOUR FAME LAST ALL YEAR? "Yeah. Guys still come up to me and remember that I was part of those four consecutive championships. Once you've won one or, especially if you've won more than one, these guys that pay attention to racing -- there's a lot of young guys here today -- that still look at the history and look at the books that show what past teams have done, and that's what they want to do. They want to be that. It's fun to have that, sure."

Walter Smith
Jackman, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevy Monte Carlo
Pit crew coordinator for all of Dale Earnhardt Inc.

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE PIT STOP COMPETITION TO THE DEI CREWS? "It's a big boost. It gives the teams a chance to show what they can do. You're not dealing with two-tire stops versus four-tire stops. It's just heads-up competition; everything is spelled out for them and it's basically whoever is the best wins all the marbles."

ARE THERE BRAGGING RIGHTS? "Oh, yeah; oh, yeah. It lasts for the year, actually. I was fortunate enough to win it several years ago when I was working at Hendrick Motorsports and it basically carries you throughout the whole year. It's kind of a good, warm feeling, and you know that you went out there and you beat all comers in a heads-up competition."

DO THE GUYS GET THE MONEY? "The guys get the money. They split it up among the seven guys over the wall. Normally, most teams will throw in some money for their support personnel and so forth. It's definitely an incentive monetarily speaking also."

Andy Papathanassiou ("Andy Papa")
Pit Coordinator for Hendrick Motorsports

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE PIT STOP COMPETITION TO THE CREWS? "Well, the pit stop competition is very important because, unlike races, where you do see pit stops and pit stops of course are important to the way the race finishes, this is really the only opportunity each individual team has for the spotlight solely on them. So, it's very important. It's a one-stop competition. It's fair for everybody; sort of an even playing field. And everyone goes out there and tries to pull off the perfect pit stop and every year there's a couple of teams that get it."

ARE THERE BRAGGING RIGHTS AND HOW MUCH? "I don't know if it's anything you can quantify. The team that won knows they won and everybody else knows who won and they get to strut around for a little while. Now, all of the teams that go into the competition think they can win and again by the time Saturday afternoon finishes, one of them will be right."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Hendrick Motorsports