Calling all gear heads, grease monkeys and pit crew wannabe’s. Grab your shop rags, a hand full of go-jo; gather around the TV and pay attention, it’s once again time for the NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman.
This year’s competition will take place at Time Warner Arena, home to the Charlotte Bobcats. It is the only indoor event sanctioned by NASCAR.
Twenty four of the top teams qualified for the All Star race are eligible for this competition. They include race winners from this year and last year, champions from the past 10 years, and All Star winners from the past 10 years.
In years past the Pit Crew Challenge was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in conjunction with the All Star race. The format was used to showcase the talents of each pit crew, and aided in selection of pit box location for the All Star race.
Pit crews would change four tires, gas the car, and the driver would take two laps around the speedway. The winner was decided by the best combined total time.
In 2005 the event had become so popular, it was moved indoors to an arena style setting. This type setting allows for more media coverage and fan attendance.
The format has changed slightly because of the indoor setting. Teams now change four tires, gas the car, and then push the car forty feet to a finish line. Best combined score for the event is the winner, and has first choice of pit box location for the All Star race.
Another change since being moved indoors is the individual time awards.
Although this is a team event, each pit crew member is timed on an individual basis, and awarded a $10,000 cash prize for the fastest time.
Last year, Eric Wilson, jack man for the #9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne, set a record time of 5.43 seconds. Not a bad way to earn a living. His average pay per second was $1.841.62. Front tire changers earn slightly less.
This year’s event can be heard on Sirius Satellite Radio starting at 7pm, or, can be seen on Speed starting at 9pm.
Sources: NASCAR Media release and the clutter in my head.