Rockingham II: No 17 to defend Pit Crew Competition title

No. 17 DEWALT Team looks to defend Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition title. Rockingham, N.C. - Winning the Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition once is an accomplishment, but defending the title doubles the pressure to ...

No. 17 DEWALT Team looks to defend Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition title.

Rockingham, N.C. - Winning the Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition once is an accomplishment, but defending the title doubles the pressure to perform.

For the No. 17 DEWALT pit crew, capturing a second consecutive title would vault the Roush Racing team into the record books and could mean an additional payday of $40,000, provided they can beat their existing world record time of 17.695 seconds.

"It gave us a lot of confidence this year being the Union 76 World Pit Crew Champions," said Phil Drye, front-tire changer for the No. 17 Ford Taurus.  "We proved ourselves time and time again on pit road and even made a difference in some of the races we won.  Being the defending champions adds a little pressure to the deal, but I think this team has been under worse pressure before and I think we will overcome it."

While some teams may prepare differently for the Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition, crew members know it's business as usual.

"We're going to do the same thing we did last year," said Robbie Reiser, Crew chief for the No. 17 team.  "We're going to show up -- no pressure -- and hopefully have the same kind of pit stop we did last year.  We have practiced all year long and raced all these races.  These guys know they have one chance to show the world their stuff."

All must be well on pit road for the No. 17 team because Matt Kenseth and his team have been able to back up their Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Championship by visiting lane four times during the 2002 season so far.

"With the competition in the Winston Cup Series being so tight these days, it takes the skills and expertise of the pit crews to make the difference," said Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Ford Taurus.  "Races can be won on pit road and I think the DEWALT crew has proven that this year." 

Teams in the top 25 in Winston Cup car owner points will have one shot to change four tires and empty 14 gallons of 76 Gasoline into their car. 

Since 1995, the winning time has bested the previous year's winning time by an average of .90 seconds and no team has repeated as champions since 1987-88 when crew chief Kirk Shelmerdine and Dale Earnhardt teamed up to win back-to back titles.  Shelmerdine and Earnhardt continue to hold the record for the most Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew titles with four (1985-1988). 

Children 12 and under will be admitted FREE to the General Admission section for Qualifying on Friday and Saturday's Sam's Club 200 and Union 76/Rockingham World Pit Crew Competition when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Tickets may be purchased by calling the North Carolina Speedway ticket office at (910) 582-2861 or by visiting us online at www.northcarolinaspeedway.com. 

-ns-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Matt Kenseth , Kirk Shelmerdine