Masters of the Pit (Crew)

When a race comes down to fractions of a second, you better believe the time it takes to change a tire matters

The Crew at Work

U.S. Army

The race may not always be to the swift, but, like Damon Runyon said, "that's the way to bet." With auto races often decided in the space between seconds, every fraction saved during pit stops is time in the bank. That means race teams' pit crews are as much a component to winning as is a set of tires, an engine or the driver. Tomorrow, the best crews in Nascar's Sprint Cup series will square off at the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge in Charlotte, NC. Twenty-four teams will compete over the whine of air wrenches for the title of fastest pit crew in the business.

In honor of the event we present Did You Know: Pit Crew Edition.

  • The average Nascar pit stop, including a change of tires and refueling, takes between 12 and 13 seconds.
  • According to one crew chief, you can't win a race with a 12-second stop but you can lose it with an 18-second stop. Yogi Berra call the front desk.
  • Penske wheel man Ben Brown can whip off five lug nuts in less than two seconds.
  • Nascar pit crews specialize in pit stops; they don't do double duty as mechanics.
  • Nascar race cars hold 17.5 gallons of 110-octane unleaded fuel. If they had to pay for it (race fuel is supplied by Sunoco) it'd cost upward of $8.00 a gallon.
  • Newman's crew primarily comprises ex-athletes, and they train as such, working out with plyometrics to improve speed, strength and stamina.

All that just to go around it circles. Apparently it's not as futile as it looks.