THE CREW MEMBER’S SIDE OF DRIVER RAGE

“You’re all (deleted) fired. Every (deleted) one of you,” yelled Martin Truex Jr.

“(Deleted) everybody,” said Kurt Busch.

The above statements were heard over radio communications during the Richmond Cup race.

We all know that drivers are under a tremendous amount of pressure and vent in the heat of the moment. But so is everyone of the team and unfortunately, venting is a one-way street.


There is nothing more demoralizing for an entire team than being lambasted where thousands can listen in and witness the tantrum display.

I made many sacrifices in my career as a racing mechanic. By race day of a weekend the list was long.

I haven’t seen my wife and my children in 3 days. I haven’t slept in my own bed for just as long. My feet ache. Every muscle in my body stabs me with pain. Battles with dehydration and lack of nutrition are not overcome physically but by mind over matter. We have been at hard labor for 14 hours and I still am being yelled at to “hustle it up” like my human limitations no longer exist.

The driver has his family with him. They stayed in their million-dollar motorcoach that has more amenities than my house. They also flew to the speedway grounds on their private jet.

Don’t cry for me. I chose my profession. I know the sacrifices that need to be made.

Under these conditions a split-second error can and will occur. It occurs because of these conditions.

When the well-rested, well fed, pampered and overpaid makes his own split second mistake on the track and destroys a race car, every team member knows the “Oh well, tow the company line, all-for-one and one-for-all” proper statements to say.

No crewmember goes in front of a TV camera and states “my driver sucks and needs to be fired.” like the quotes that started this column. However, the crewmember would be justified to.

In my opinion, if the driver can say it, then so can the crew.

I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to key my radio microphone and say to my whining driver “(deleted) you.” But I didn’t. I knew my family’s groceries and mortgage was at stake if I did.

A driver has millions of dollars in sponsor’s marketing money budgeted out with his face on storefront posters. A crewmember like me who makes a fraction of his paycheck is replaced with a lot less corporate glitch than the man holding the steering wheel.

When it comes time to start unloading and fixing crashed cars early Monday morning, the driver is nowhere to be found. He is often still in bed or out on the lake.

We all get mad. But you win as a team and lose as a team. Those radio tirades are just the thing to stop crewmembers from making all those sacrifices that pave the way for a driver’s fame and fortune.

The car parts are common. The people, attitudes, and effort are not.

Martin Truex spun out entering the Darlington pits on Saturday night. He said he had no tires left. He said he didn’t know it would be that slick.

Too bad.

Getting a car to pit road is still… your job. Do it.

Where is the tire changer telling him he’s fired over the radio? It is the exact same thing as what the driver spouted off about at Richmond.

Country music legend Charlie Daniels once stated that any singer that treats his roadies, or any race driver that treats his pit crew, any less than how he treats himself is a fool.

Correct, Mr. Daniels. Well said.

(Patrick Reynolds is a former NASCAR team mechanic who hosts "Motorweek Live" Mondays at 7pm ET/4pm PT. Listen at www.racersreunionradio.com.)

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