Valvoline Team Prepares For Pit Stop Competition Johnny Benson's Pit Crew Coordinator Says Every Weekend Is A Pit Stop Competition ...
Valvoline Team Prepares For Pit Stop Competition
Johnny Benson's Pit Crew Coordinator Says Every Weekend Is A Pit Stop Competition
#10 Valvoline Pontiac Pit Coordinator Ricky Thomas believes every NASCAR Winston Cup race is a pit stop competition. But Saturday at Rockingham the pit crews from the top 25 teams will showcase their talents in the 35th annual World Pit Crew Competition.
Thomas changes the front tires on Johnny Benson's Valvoline Pontiac and oversees all of the pit crew work on the team. Thomas runs the pit stop practices, reviews film and critique's performance of the crew then reports to crew chief James Ince.
Thomas was part of John Andretti's pit crew that captured second place in the 2000 pit stop competition.
Ricky Thomas On Pit Stop Competition's Importance:
"There is a lot of prestige for all of us. We are competing against all of our friends and in front of all the fans as well. It's a good chance for all of us to show what we got. As far as pressure, well it's about the same as the race. The way we look at it, we have a pit stop competition every week on pit road. Usually we have the Valvoline Pontiac running up front so we have pressure on every pit stop."
Have Pit Stops Changed Over The Years?
"Pit stops are a lot more important than they were when I started in 1992. There wasn't a lot of emphasis on working out and the time spent on pit stop practice like we have these days. Now we are doing everything. I bet we spend 20 hours a week working on pit stops. Most teams have a pit coordinator now. That's what I do for our team. I look over all the pit stop tapes and watch the race tapes to see what everyone else is doing on pit road. I also critique everybody out there so we can improve our performance. Then we practice then we work out."
What Makes A Good Pit Crew & How Do You Deal With Danger?
"It's all about people. You have to get a tight group of people who will work together. I'm not sure you could have a pit crew of superstars. A lot of those people wouldn't have the right attitude. The team concept is underrated. It's all about people who will work together. Once you have a good group of people then it is experience that makes the difference. All you do when you go over the wall is think about your job. There are certain drivers out there who are weapons on pit road, but you just block out everything. I've been doing this a while, so it isn't that hard to block stuff out."
How Will Pit Stops Be Different In Ten Years?
"I think it will be like other professional sports. The people who go over the wall will be full time and totally devoted to pit stops. They will spend time maybe working some at the shop, but the rest of the time will be working out and making their pit stops faster. There is already some of that now and I think you are going to see more and more of it."
Johnny Benson On Pit Stop Competition:
"I like it. I don't think we can give too much attention to the pit crew. Those guys have tough jobs they do pretty well. I think any time our sport and spotlight or award them then that's a good thing. The driver's get a lot of attention, but those guys work just as hard."
THE RACE: Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400
Winston Cup Race #33 of 36 for the 2001 season
Race: Sunday, November 4, 2001 in Rockingham, NC