NASCAR Economics 101: Putting Names, Stories To Unemployed Faces

Jen PrestonSenior Analyst IFebruary 10, 2009

In America today, it costs more than $250,000 to raise a child.

The average wedding, in 2005, was more than $30,000.

College tuition for a public four-year university totals nearly $7,000.

So, what's this have to do with NASCAR? Well, for more than 800 pit crew members, it means they can't pay for these things since losing their jobs this past offseason.

Even Champions Aren't Immune

"I knew the layoffs were coming, but sometimes you think you're going to be all right," 28-year-old David Tallman said.

Tallman was one of the twenty Hendrick Motorsports employees let go due to the economy. He worked for three-time champion Jimmie Johnson's crew, tearing down the car after the race as well as checking parts and preparing for the next race.

He says that because he wasn't more versatile, the team let him go.

"There was no other room for anybody," Tallman recalls. "I was the only one in my department that wasn't on a pit crew."

Marriage May Have To Wait

Derrick Finley feels his pain. The former crew chief lost his job after Petty Enterprises shut down—a "surprise" to him, since he thought he'd be safe when Boston Ventures took over majority control of the company last year.

Finley and his wife are expecting their first child this month.

However, he is one of the lucky ones—thanks to Joe Nemecheck starting his own team, there's work. For now.

"Even the guys with jobs have to be somewhat worried because there's a lot of talented people without jobs," he says.

Family Vacation on Hold

"Bills have to be paid."

For former fabricator Andy Page, losing his job has became all too real. Not only did Page lose his job when Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Ginn Racing merged, but he lost his job when DEI merged with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

The trip he planned on taking with his six year old son—ironically, to the same place four-time champion Jeff Gordon just took with his little girl—will have to wait.

Now, Page can only tell Nicholas "someday."

Volunteer firefighter Travis McQuade was released from Gillett Evernham Motorsports. The 24-year-old "doesn't dare to spend a dollar right now."

A hard thing to do, as he's getting married this summer.

"It's driving me nuts," said McQuade. "I just don't know what to do."

Many drivers are echoing the sentiments of former crew member David Salerno: "I should be there."

While several independent teams are currently hiring, it's little comfort for those still unemployed. One can only hope these good people do get jobs.

If you're looking for a job in NASCAR, you can post your resume at

Thanks to MSN, Baby Center,, FOX Sports and The Virginia-Pilot for the quotes and figures used in this story.