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Sports Then and Now



History of NASCAR Pit Crews 0

Posted on December 07, 2016 by Scott Huntington

One of the most iconic aspects of a NASCAR race is the nonstop, top-speed action of the pit crew on the sidelines. These amazing individuals are in charge of high-speed maintenance and repairs for the cars that are tearing their way around the track. We’ve all probably watched them change a tire in a few seconds, but did you ever wonder how these pit crews got their start?

1950s -- 55 seconds

The Time Before

Races didn’t always need the skills of a pit crew. When racing became a mainstream sport back in the 1950s, most of the races were less than 100 miles, total. The only race that really needed the assistance of pit stop engineers was the Southern 500, which was arguably ahead of its time.

That didn’t mean the shorter NASCAR races didn’t have their own version of the pit crew. Cars would blow tires, bump fenders or destroy engine parts that required replacement in order to keep racing. Until the mid-1950s, all these changes were done by hand. The pneumatic air guns that we’re so used to seeing didn’t make a debut until later in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Back then, the fastest recorded time for a tire change was about 55 seconds utilizing manual tools.

Choreography and Timing

After the pneumatic air gun hit the mainstream and pit technicians were able to change tires and remove faulty parts faster than before, the focus switched to speed and efficiency. By using impact wrenches and much faster floor jacks, pit crews could reduce the time it took to change a tire by 17 seconds.

pit-crews-harrell-2015

Adding choreography and practicing the motions that each pit crew position needed to do brought the overall pit stop time down to 33 seconds.

Specialized Pit Crew Roles

Until now, the idea of pit crews included the concept that everyone was interchangeable. The guy handling the fuel one pit stop could be slinging a tire at the next. Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, the idea of specialized pit crew roles began to emerge.

By creating these specialized roles, pit crews were able to practice and perfect the nuances of their specific role rather than trying to do everything.

Today, the average pit crew is made up of 12 people, each trained to perfect their specific role, including:

  • Front and Rear Tire Carriers: As their name suggests, these are the people who carry the replacement tires into the pit and the worn tires away.
  • Fire and Rear Tire Changers: Changes the tires, handling the impact gun to remove and replace the lug nuts.
  • Jack Man: Operates the hydraulic jack that lifts and lowers the car.
  • Gas Man: As the name suggest, he refuels the car usually using two 12-gallon cans.
  • Support Crew: They pick up any slack and help the crew with little tasks.
  • Car and Crew Chiefs: The car chief figures out the best adjustments to make on the car itself. The crew chief is in charge of the crew.
  • Engineer: Works with the car chief to figure out the exact build for each race car.

There will also be a NASCAR official in the pit to make sure all rules are followed, as well as an extra man that may handle tasks like assisting the driver or cleaning the windshield.

By relying on these specialized roles, pit crews can pull off a four-tire change in an astonishing 12 seconds, getting their drivers back on the track that much faster.

The history of the NASCAR pit crew is an exciting and varied one, and every change and invention has helped it become the efficient machine that keeps races going. NASCAR wouldn’t be the same thing that it is today without the smooth motions and choreographed movements of the pit crew.

Sporting Event Injuries: What to Do When You Get Hurt Watching the Game 3

Posted on February 24, 2016 by Katherine Taylor

NASCAR-crashIt starts off with excitement and anticipation as you make your way to the big game, but there are worse things that can happen there than your favorite team losing.

Sports events injuries don’t just happen on the field of play, as Manhattan personal injury and accident lawyer injuryclaimnyclaw.com will confirm, as people can and do get hurt in a variety of ways while watching the game.

Who’s fault is it?

Anything can happen. A puck hits you on the head or maybe you slip and fall while grabbing a hot dog, the question is, whose fault is it that you have been injured

The important phrase to bear in mind is assumed risk. What this means in basic terms is that when you attend a sporting event as a spectator, you do so on the understanding that a flying object like a ball or a puck might enter the seating area, so it is your responsibility to takes steps to avoid them when that happens.

You will often find a clear definition of your assumed responsibilities printed on the back of your ticket, in the form of a carefully worded statement warning the ticketholder of the potential risks they should accept when entering the stadium.

Where things get more complicated is if you sustain an injury that is not inherently associated with the nature of the game.

Examples of potential negligence

If parts of the stadium are in a poor state of repair and a crumbling or worn walkway causes you to suffer a fall, that is an example where it may be possible to prove that the stadium owner was negligent and could be found guilty of not properly maintaining the grounds.

Another example which perhaps might surprise you, concerns a patron getting intoxicated.

If a patron is served alcohol where it is clear that they are already intoxicated and should be refused a drink, the bar or restaurant concession could potentially be liable for over-serving intoxicated patrons, if they subsequently get injured as a result of being drunk and injuring themselves in some way, like falling. Read the rest of this entry →

A Brief History of the Dover International Speedway 4

Posted on August 14, 2014 by Scott Huntington

Whether you’re a horseracing fan, a NASCAR fan, or a fan of both, there’s just something special about Dover Downs. Affectionately nicknamed, “The Monster Mile,” the Dover International Speedway has been home to at least two NASCAR races a year since 1969.

Dover Downs

This track isn’t one of those that began just as a horseracing course later retrofitted to accommodate auto racing. From the very beginning, Dover Downs was built for both horse and auto racing. Its NASCAR history began with a bang, as the first race – known as the Mason-Dixon 300 – was won by none other than Richard Petty.

NASCAR Niche

It quickly became clear NASCAR was the biggest auto racing draw to the track, so beginning in 1971, the Dover International Speedway did away with all auto races that were not NASCAR sanctioned. This meant all the attention at Dover was now on the two 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

And though Richard Petty had the first win on the track, Jimmie Johnson is the one who really seems to own the place. He has had 9 wins there. Mark Martin could also make a viable claim of supremacy at the Monster Mile as well, as he has had the most top-five finishes with 23, and the most top-ten finishes as well, with 31. Read the rest of this entry →

A Brief History of the Pocono Raceway 7

Posted on August 07, 2014 by Scott Huntington

For NASCAR fans, summertime means it’s time to load up some camping gear and head to the Poconos. The home of a pair of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races held in June and August—the Pocono 400 and the GoBowling.com 400 respectively—the Pocono Raceway is one the most storied tracks in NASCAR history. Also home to the Pocono Indycar 500 and used by Sports Car Club of America along with motorcycle clubs and driving schools, the track gets a lot of use throughout the year.

pocono_bg

The track is famous for its shape. Often described as a tri-oval, the track is actually closer to a triangle than an oval. It is unique in that its three turns are all different and modeled after turns from other tracks. Turn One has 14 degree banking and was based on the turns at the old Trenton Speedway. Turn Two, which has 9 degree banking and is also known as “The Tunnel Turn,” is similar to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, while the 6 degree banking of turn 3 is based on The Milwaukee Mile.

But though NASCAR wouldn’t be the same without it today, there was a time when the Pocono Raceway nearly closed down for good. The raceway held its first race in 1968 on the three-quarter mile track. Three years later, the first 500 mile Indy race came to the Poconos on the two and a half mile rack and the first 500 mile NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway was held in 1974. But just as Pocono Raceway was getting its NASCAR start, the owners of the track, the Mattioli family were having some financial problems. Read the rest of this entry →

The Origins of NASCAR 2

Posted on October 08, 2013 by Reggie Sizemore
NASCAR has its origins from the prohibition era.

NASCAR has its origins from the prohibition era.

The inventive minds behind the creation of the first stock cars didn’t have sporting amusement on their minds when they pioneered the modification of early-era automobiles.

Nope, the good old southern boys of the 1920s had more pressing concerns than daydreaming about a future when their creations would spear one of the most popular spectator sports in the country.   They were more worried about just eking out a living.

An illicit living.

NASCAR’s forefathers didn’t “soup up” their rides in order to outrun each other around an oval track in hopes of taking home the checkered flag.

On the contrary, the purpose was to outrun the law and get home with a few barrels of whiskey.

Yes, while other American sports are steeped in tradition (baseball) or immersed in warfare (football) the history of NASCAR is soaked in prohibition-era moonshine.

Earliest “Racers”

The earliest “stock car racers” were mostly located in the Appalachian region of the United States, where drivers modified their cars to improve speed and handling. The earliest “stock car races” took place down winding mountain roads and involved bootleggers attempting to outrun the police. With these modified early version stock cars, many of them succeeded.

The repeal of prohibition diminished the amount of bootleggers in operation, but by then a demand for moonshine had developed and many still transported moonshine while running from “revenuers” who wanted to tax them.

It is believed that while on these runs, many bootleggers would often race each other; creating the earliest stock car races. Read the rest of this entry →

Went To A NASCAR Race & A WWE Match Broke Out: Gordon Vs. Bowyer (VIDEO) 4

Posted on November 12, 2012 by Joe Gill

Who said all the action of NASCAR was on the track?

After some jousting during the AdvoCare 500, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, and their crews partook in a WWE Battle Royale.

Fists were flying and tires were being pushing over in the donnybrook.

Vince McMahon Would Be Proud

Vince McMahon could not have scripted it any better as Bowyer left his car and raced through the infield to get involved in the fracas.

Maybe Gordon & Bowyer could square off at Wrestlemania?

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