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Backward motion: Pit stops at The Glen are ... different
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series are taking their talents to the Watkins Glen road course this week. With that comes the challenge of pitting, as The Glen is the only place in the Sprint Cup Series where stops are done backward. What makes this so difficult? The first thing is just simply breaking routines. Pit crews train hard year-round, and all their focus is on gaining one-tenth of a second. Now you take a random week during the year and throw in backward stop and things get interesting. It's all good, though -- these guys are professionals. Teams usually will start practicing for Watkins Glen either the week of the race, or sometimes a week earlier. It's usually a two- or three-stop event, so teams don't spend a ton of prep time on it. Getting used to the choreography of the stops is difficult, too. Everything is opposite of the usual flow. Getting footwork to match up can be a challenge . What are usually easy left- and right-side wedge adjustments now become more difficult. Gasmen also have a different angle to plug their cans into. It's not uncommon to see lots of gas being spilled at a track where fuel mileage is big. Perhaps the biggest challenge for crewmen is the penalty they face for jumping early. With the new NASCAR technology, you can't cheat the jump line. When your routine is changed, so is your timing. Expect to see a few guys leave early because their timing is off. With the anxiety of change comes the anxiety of getting across the car quicker, and that's when leaving early happens. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Inside Access Miss Sprint Cup: #17 Pit Crew
Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon follows the No. 17 crew as they compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Pit Crew Challenge .
College athletes join NASCAR Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Program
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 17, 2016) – NASCAR and Rev Racing today announced nine former college student-athletes selected to participate in the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) Crew Member Development Program. The new class of participants received invitations to train with Rev Racing following standout performances at the first national D4D pit crew combine in May. Multicultural athletes starring in football, basketball and softball at the college level will receive expert training as tire changers, carriers and jackmen, with the goal of gaining fulltime employment with NASCAR national series race teams. "We've assembled a very talented group of athletes who we believe has what it takes to excel on pit road in NASCAR," said Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations. "Each D4D participant will benefit from Rev Racing's best-in-class training program, and we look forward to watching them grow and develop over the next 12 months." This year NASCAR and Rev Racing revamped the crew member scouting process, hosting tryouts at six universities across the country. Eighteen men and women from 12 states and one U.S. territory were selected to compete in the national combine in Concord, N.C. Half earned invitations to join the D4D pit crew program. "We are very excited for the arrival of the new 2016 Drive for Diversity pit crew recruits," said Max Siegel, owner and CEO of Rev Racing. "With the national combine and recruitment effort this past year, we were able to select the top level of athletic talent. We look forward to training these individuals and placing them along pit road in the national series. Our academy-style approach to training continues to show success year after year; this class will not fall short." Among the new D4D participants are three former football players from the University of Kansas, one of the schools to host tryouts. Appalachian State's Jeremy Kimbrough, who spent time with the Washington Redskins, and Joshua Tate, an All-American at Clark Atlanta University, are also looking to transition from the gridiron to NASCAR. A pair of female athletes in former Norfolk State, basketball player Brehanna Daniels and former Alcorn State University softball player Breanna O'Leary, will train as tire changers under the tutelage of Phil Horton, Rev Racing's director of human performance. There are 35 graduates of the D4D Crew Member Development Program currently working in NASCAR. Three alums – Raphael Diaz, Kevin Richardson and Richie Williams – celebrated in Victory Lane as members of Chris Buescher 's pit crew after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver won his first premier series race at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 1. Last November, Diaz and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Mike Russell became the first D4D graduates to win a national series championship when Buescher clinched the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship. The new members of the D4D Crew Member Development Program include: First Last Hometown University Primary Sport Brehanna Daniels Norfolk, Va. Norfolk State University Basketball Kapil Fletcher Fort Lauderdale, Fla. University of Kansas Football Tedarian Johnson Jackson, Miss. University of Kansas Football Jeremy Kimbrough Decatur, Ga. Appalachian State University Football Corey King Boca Raton, Fla. University of Kansas Football Lamar Neal Virginia Beach, Va. Norfolk State University Football Breanna O'Leary Amarillo, Texas Alcorn State University Softball Jorden Paige Buffalo, N.Y. Clark Atlanta University Football Joshua Tate Memphis, Tenn. Clark Atlanta University Football The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, under the leadership of Rev Racing , supports both crew member and driver development opportunities. Driver graduates include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson , and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr . For more information on NASCAR Drive for Diversity, visit www.NASCARDiversity.com .
Dillon shows durability, skill in fourth-place finish
RELATED: Full race results " Driver standings " Chase Grid BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Austin Dillon didn't think his team had a winning car this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway . His performance on the track begged to differ, as Dillon powered his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the front, battling eventual race winner Kevin Harvick for the lead before earning a solid fourth-place result in Sunday's rain-delayed event at the short track. Coupled with his victory in the XFINITY Series race at Bristol Friday night, Dillon's weekend in the Appalachian Mountains turned into his best combined series effort he's seen all season. But he and his team had to fight for it. "We had a car that we had to really work on all day," a red-faced and worn-out-looking Dillon said on pit road after the race. "I tell you what, my butt's kicked right now. We just had to really fight hard early in the race, we about went a lap down and they made good adjustments to put us back in the race. "Proud of ( crew chief) Slugger (Labbe), proud of my pit crew – they really stepped up and that means a lot getting ready to what we're going into." After restarting third at Lap 450, the 26-year-old driver moved into the second position behind Harvick three quick laps later, putting Dillon in position to challenge the No. 4 driver for the lead. The No. 3 wheelman fought to overtake Harvick for eight laps, looking for momentum in the inside lane. He made it look effortless, but Dillon assures it was anything but. "I was really proud of that little short run we had on the bottom," Dillon said. "Harvick was pretty loose and I got to his door. Just didn't have enough to really do much on the top. (I was) holding on for my dear life there at the end." Sitting 13th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, Dillon finds himself in a relatively comfortable points position with three races remaining until the playoffs begin. But Dillon & Co. aren't just looking for "good points days"-- they're looking for a win. That long-waited victory could very well come next weekend at Michigan International Speedway . "I'm racing like I'm in the playoffs right now, for sure," Dillon said. "We've still got a lot of work to do. Really looking forward to Michigan, probably my best track, so hopefully we can go win one and not have to worry about it for two weeks." Crew chief Slugger Labbe also has his sights set on the Irish Hills, having circled it following the team's 13th-place run at Pocono in August. "Last time at Michigan we ran extremely well with the low downforce package," Labbe told NASCAR.com on pit road. "We're taking the same car back that we had at Pocono that ran extremely well at Pocono battling for the lead against Kyle Larson … so we're just hoping for big things. "After Pocono, he was kind of mad that we didn't finish at good as we wanted so I told everyone on this team to make sure we circle Michigan and that's the one we're going to win. So, we're going to shoot really hard for it, prepare, do the best we can and give it our best shot at Michigan."
Trading places: No. 88 road crew attempts pit stop
They may wear fire suits and work on the car, but Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s road crew may need a little more practice when it comes to pit stops. The road guys -- responsible for the mechanics of the car at the shop and on race weekends -- for the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet tried their hands at changing tires, jacking up the car and carrying tires this morning at the team's campus in Concord, North Carolina. Having some fun with the pit crew today @adamwjordan @CD_Johns @StockTravis @tireguyeighty8 #roadcrewPitStop #Rusty pic.twitter.com/MVGfeWiQJe — Travis Mack (@T_Mack88) August 3, 2016 The result? Well, let's just say while most Sprint Cup pit crews aim for the 12-second four-tire stop, this stop totaled about 30 seconds. To be fair, these guys spent way more time analyzing data about the car and less time hitting lug nuts -- practice makes perfect, guys. But the crew may have started a trend: Shortly afteward, No. 48 tire carrier Ryan Patton challenged Jimmie Johnson 's road crew to the same task. See you & raise you the @LowesRacing Road Crew . How about it @ronmalec @jesse_saunders @kacollns1 @JEBoydston & Co? https://t.co/3TnIHPLNIh — Ryan Patton (@rpatton22) August 3, 2016
Longtime crew member departs No. 48 team
Being a tire changer in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes a great deal of time and effort to master the position. Front tire changer Cameron Waugh did that and spent the last 3 1/2 years changing for one of the best teams of all time -- the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for Jimmie Johnson . But Watkins Glen was Waugh's last race, and he is moving on from the sport. Waugh is one of the good guys and he will be missed. His reasons for leaving are personal, but from what we know he is moving cross country to Colorado. "It's been an absolute blast being able to pit the No. 48 with some of my closest friends," Waugh said. "I will miss the intensity of pit road but most of all I will miss the friendships I have made over the years." Taking Waugh's spot on the No. 48 will be longtime front changer Kevin Novak. Novak is a very good changer and spent many years at Roush Fenway Racing before recently heading over to HMS. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Tony Eury Jr. to serve as NWMT crew chief at Bristol
Veteran crew chief Tony Eury Jr. will serve as crew chief for Todd Szegedy in the No. 15 15-40 Connection car in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway , Rob Fuller Motorsports announced Monday afternoon. "After getting to know Todd, I am excited to be his crew chief in Bristol," Eury said in a team release. "I think we have a legitimate shot to win, and we're going to have some fun with it as well. I've paid attention to how the track is from past modified races, and I think working on super late models every week can be applied to working on the modified car as well. We are going in with a game plan, but I might bring a few ideas to the table that we can try and see what happens!" Eury Jr. is cousin of Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr . and served as Junior's Sprint Cup crew chief on a part-time basis for four seasons and full-time in 2006 and 2008. The duo won twice during their full-time seasons together. Eury also captained the Sprint Cup pit box for Brad Keselowski and Michael Waltrip briefly, as well as Danica Patrick in the XFINITY Series. Eury's father, Tony Eury Sr., served as crew chief for Earnhardt Jr. as well (1999- 2004) and Dale Earnhardt in the XFINITY Series. Eury Jr. was named general manager for Mooresville, North Carolina-based LFR Chassis, Inc. in 2014. The Bush's Beans 150 will take place Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 6 p.m. at Bristol Motor Speedway . The Camping World Truck Series' UNOH 200 follows the conclusion of the 150-miler, beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Part 3: Pit crew strengths and weaknesses for Chase
RELATED: Part 1 " Part 2 MORE: Meet the 16 Chase crew chiefs This is the third in a series of four pit crew analysis pieces NASCAR.com will roll out this week as we preview the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . For more pit crew news provided by PitTalks.com come back throughout the Chase. Team Penske No. 2 Ford for Brad Keselowski Pit Coach: Trent Cherry Front Changer: Hunter Masling Front Carrier: Jeremy Ogles Jackman: Braxton Brannon Rear Changer: Dwayne Ogles Rear Carrier: Tyler Mitchell Gas Man: Nick Hensley Strength: This is the same group that pitted BK last year in the Chase and it has lots of talent. The team was part of six wins last year and one so far this year. Pitting a winning car is something this crew is used to doing. Weakness: This team has shown both signs of greatness and struggle all year. If it can improve on consistency it can be a scary team to pit against. Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Chevrolet for Martin Truex Jr . Pit Crew : 78 Pit Coach: Walt Smith Front Changer: Dave Collins Front Carrier: Craig Curione Jackman: Carey Wimbish Rear Changer: Kyle Turner Rear Carrier: Adam Mosher Gas Man: Brian Dheel Strength: They have a cool nickname: "Box-spring bandits." On a more serious note, this team is loaded with veterans and has perhaps the most experience of any crew in the Chase. Weakness: This crew has been all over the place this year. It is a good crew when things are right but keeping it right is a challenge . Earlier in the year the team made a change at rear changer but that didn't last long. A few weeks later it was back to the original crew . There's enough veteran talent that if the team can keep up with its driver, it has a chance to run deep in the Chase. Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota for Denny Hamlin Pit Coach: Mike Lepp Front Changer: Dustin Necaise Front Carrier: Brandon Pegram Jackman: Nate Bolling Rear Changer: Mike Hicks Rear Carrier: Heath Cherry Gas Man: Caleb Hurd Strength: This crew is solid at every position and works great under pressure. There has been a lot of talk about this team over the year and rightfully so. The team was instrumental in JGR winning the All-Star race has put its driver in position to win multiple times this year. Look for this to be one of the crews to beat come Chase time. Weakness: As good as this group is there have been races where consistency has been an issue. This team gets up for the big stops better than any team out there but sometimes relies on the Money Stop. Keeping jack man Nate Bolling healthy is also a major concern. Nate is coming off a very bad injury in the offseason and is a major contributor to the success. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates No. 1 Chevrolet for Jamie McMurray Pit Coach: Shaun Peet Front Changer: Danny Kincaid Front Carrier: Ben Fetzer Jackman: Shane Wilson Rear Changer: Kenyatta Houston Rear Carrier: Art Simmons Gas Man: Mike Metcalf Strength: This crew has been one of the best surprises of the year. It has been very good as of late and the chemistry within this group is strong. It's a group of talent that was put together this year by first-year coach Shaun Peet, and it's working. Weakness: This team has zero wins this year and hasn't found itself pitting under winning pressure for most of the year. In order to compete in the Chase the team will have to thrive under pressure situations. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com
Pit crew for No. 11 team undergoes change
Jackman Nate Bolling out for the year after injury at Charlotte RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize Denny Hamlin 's pit crew , which consistently ranks among the swiftest on the circuit, will be without jackman Nate Bolling for the rest of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Bolling had surgery earlier this week to repair the torn right tricep he suffered on the second pit stop in Saturday's Bank of America 500 . He is expected to make a full recovery and be available for the 2015 Daytona 500 . The No. 11 team will turn to backup jackman Kenneth Purcell. Purcell was a part of four championship-winning seasons with the No. 48 team of Jimmie Johnson . Hamlin, who won the spring race at Talladega, is seventh in the standings. Sunday's GEICO 500 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN) at the 2.66-mile superspeedway is the final of three races in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Eight drivers will advance into the three-race Eliminator Round. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Alfalla retakes points lead on last-lap pass at Michigan
Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) captured his second victory of the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series by passing Brad Davies off Turn 4 on the final lap at Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday evening. The finish marked the second-straight race that has been decided by a last-lap pass for the lead, although unlike one race earlier at Watkins Glen, there was no contact or controversy after the Michigan thriller. Davies played a good strategy to take the lead during the last round of pit stops and held the top spot for 20 laps due to repeated crashes and yellow flags. Alfalla had the better car and was on fresher tires, but never got a long enough run to challenge for the lead. His chance finally came on the final restart with two laps to the flag. When the green flew, Davies got a good jump on Alfalla, but the two-time series champion had closed up to the leader's bumper as the pair took the white flag. Alfalla was not close enough entering Turn One so instead of charging in over his head he was patient, backed up the corner, and got a great run on exit. Alfalla closed quickly down the backstretch and dove to the bottom entering Turn 3 as Davies protected the top. His fresh tires were too much for Davies as Alfalla passed uncontested off Turn 4 and took the checkered flag .05 of a second in the clear. Logan Clampitt ( High Performance Motorsports ) came home third, combining a solid pit strategy with a fast car and steady driving. Justin Bolton ( The TEAM ) was fourth, ahead of Andrew Fayash in his first top-five result. Alfalla started on pole and had the fastest car for much of the race but only led 46 of 125 laps, largely due to pit strategy. Instead of changing two tires and losing position on a subsequent long run, Alfalla opted for four fresh tires each time down pit road. This decision meant he had to fight through traffic on several occasions, but Alfalla used his experience to cleanly and effectively move through the field. During the middle segment of the race the field strung out and allowed some differing strategies to develop. Some sim racers chose a three-stop strategy in hopes fresh tires would make up for the extra trip down pit road, while others opted for a two-stop strategy. Alfalla chose the two-stop strategy and was helped out by a timely yellow flag on Lap 81 just before he was going to make his final pit stop. All but one car on the three-stop strategy also chose to pit , allowing Alfalla to keep nearly all of his track position, which put himself in prime position to win the race. From there, the race turned into a series of short sprints broken up by frequent caution flags. Seven of the nine cautions flew in the last 45 laps, making track position more important than a typical Michigan race. The win vaulted Alfalla back into the championship lead with three races remaining in the season. He now enjoys a 15-point advantage over PJ Stergios ( ineX Racing Team ) after Stergios struggled to a 14th-place finish at MIS. PJ's brother, Jake, is still hanging onto third, but his margin over Chris Overland shrunk to just four points after a Tuesday's disappointing 31st-place result. Dylan Duval is fifth, but is only seven points clear of Kenny Humpe after finishing 35th at Michigan. Only three weeks remain in the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze season, and Darlington Raceway looms large as the next race on the schedule. Widely considered to be the toughest oval on the circuit, Darlington requires impeccable car control and patience to succeed. For Alfalla and Stergios, the goal is simple: get out front and stay there, away from potential carnage that can be common farther back in the field. Can Stergios close the gap on Alfalla, or is Alfalla primed to edge closer to his third world championship? Tune-in to iRacing Live in three weeks to catch the sim racing action from The Track Too Tough to Tame!