Over the years, NASCAR has had great brother tandems. Many end up as drivers, very few end up on pit road, and seldom do they end up as pit crew members on the same team.
Well, that's changed with this tandem of brothers. Meet Tim and Jason Sheets. They are the front and rear tire changers and also work in the race shop for the No. 43 Dodge, driven by Bobby Labonte and owned by Petty Enterprises.
They've been involved with racing for most of their lives, but only recently did they start working together on the same team. It's something they've wanted to do for a while.
They both have similar stories of starting out on the local short track—paying their dues and working their way up to the big time.
In the shop, Jason is the rear end specialist. He keeps track of all gear and suspension parts and makes sure they are kept in the right packages.
Tim is a fabricator, working on special projects and rear wheel tubs.
On the track, Tim, being the front tire changer, has the bragging rights over Jason, the rear tire changer. Tim pulls his own tires and his brother doesn't.
Both agree that safety has improved and come along for their on-track jobs.
"When I first came up we didn't have to wear a fire suit...just a team shirt and pants," Jason said. "Now we wear fire suits and helmets. Shoes and gloves also have to be fire proof now." (espn.com)
Both feel the combination of experience and awareness is the key to keeping a tire changer safer.
"Experience is key," he said. "You have to develop a feel for timing out there and for safety. The drivers are pretty good about watching for guys in front of them." (espn.com)
However, they are typical brothers and differ on what's important about their jobs. While, for Jason, the most challenging part of the job is getting through a pit stop mistake-free, for Tim, winning is what's rewarding and making it to the top is the most challenging part of the job.
"The one thing they can agree on is that after years of working on different teams in different shops it's great to be working together. It's a NASCAR tradition and one they are proud to be part of finally." (espn.com)
It's pretty cool that they service the No. 43, driven by Bobby Labonte, half of NASCAR's greatest brother tandem. But that's another story that I'm working on.
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