During NASCAR races, cars fly around the track for hundreds of laps at nearly 200 miles per hour. But some of the most important action takes place while the cars are standing still.
Just like a major league slugger would be nothing without his baseball bat, and Tiger Woods would be nothing without his golf clubs, NASCAR crew members would be useless if they didn’t have the tools they need to get their job done.
NASCAR crew members are an integral part of every NASCAR victory and are superb athletes in their own right. Each car makes as many as 12 pit stops (and that also for 10 seconds) during a race, and the average number is six to eight. Races can be won or lost depending on how fast a pit crew gets its driver back on the track. Here, even the slightest moment of indecision can cost a team the lead … a win … or quite possibly the championship in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Therefore, pit crews go to great lengths to ensure that their tools are not only reliable, but also in the right place — and that they fit comfortably for team members. Ingersoll Rand, the Official Power Tools of NASCAR, follows a similar philosophy when producing durable and reliable tools not only for pit crews but for automotive professionals.
Pit crews train very much like football players. In fact, some of them used to play football. Michael Lepp, who trains pit crew members for Joe Gibbs Racing’s three teams, tries to recruit former athletes and hopes maybe he’ll get some former Washington Redskins someday.
Once an athlete decides to join a pit crew, it takes two to three years of training for him to be skilled enough to work for NASCAR’s highest races (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series).
Besides powerful jacks that can get a car off the ground in merely a pump or two, today’s pit crews also pay close attention to the pit gun, which is in essence an impact wrench. This is the tool you see tire changers using during races.
It’s also the tool that has strong roots in the sport with Ingersoll Rand. Remember the Rainbow Warrior pit crews made famous by Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham? They used the Thunder Gun from Ingersoll Rand, and it was calibrated exactly how tire changers liked them — making a difference in Gordon’s championship runs.
Having a customized experience like the one Ingersoll Rand helped provide back then is still true today with tire changers trying to shave off precious milliseconds with the ability to feel when something is merely a fraction off from where it should be.
NASCAR pit crews are sometimes called the unsung heroes of the sport. That’s because they keep the car (and the driver) going, but they often get very little credit.