As Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick can attest, the winner of a race can be measured in inches. Teams examine every aspect of their equipment, their personnel and the race day preparation to find an advantage. Crew cheifs agonize over the strategy and planning of the race. Within the last few years several teams have revamped their pit stalls to gain a competitive advantage.
Last week’s race at Fontana provided the perfect opportunity to see what’s inside the top teams pit stalls that gives them the advantage.
Junior’s Bin of Disappointment
How does Dale Earnhardt Jr. deal with the pressure of Junior Nation? By bottling up all the disappointment deep inside. So deep that they actual extract the palpable sense of disappointment and store it in a bin behind the race team. A member of the crew is responsible for collecting and bottling all the angst up. Junior’s deep sense of disappointment is then sold to little league dads across the country to prevent them from uttering supportive comments during their sons’ games.
Kahne Brings the Bass Back
After finishing in 20th place last year, the team realized that Kahne needed a boost in the off-season. Red Bull Racing brought in expert engineers and dedicated the majority of their shop mechanics to overhaul their team’s sound system. Kahne has been satisfied with the 20th place finishes on the track, but he will be damned if another team was going to rock harder at the track. This season Kahne has been on a tear, rocking out like no one thought possible. They are first in Rock-a-tude and a surprising 11th in the standings.
Paul Menard’s Tiger Cage
Many people wonder what the secret to Menard’s success this season is. It’s his unusual fear of tigers. Crew chief Richard Slugger Labbe learned of Menard’s fear and decided to exploit it for the team’s gain. Just before every race, a wild tiger is released in the pits. Menard then flees to his car to escape the tiger. Menard’s lap times have improved, but his nervous twitch is back.
Gil Martin’s Post-It Notes
Known for his supportive demeanor with Kevin Harvick, crew chief Gil Martin uses post-it notes to remind members of the crew to do their best. Inspired by the notes his mom used to leave in his lunch, Martin leaves a little note for everyone on the team. To most it’s a welcome surprise to a hectic race day schedule. Martin is known for writing notes like "Have a great day!", "Do Your Best!" and "Kevin, rubbin is racing, unless it’s Jimmie – then it’s imperative."
Tony Stewart’s Jet Fuel
Tony Stewart expected to rocket to the front of the pack this season due to his secret weapon: Jet Fuel. Unfortunately, instead of using the aviation fuel designed for use in fighterjets, Stewart received New York Jets fuel. Jets fuel is mostly comprised of photos of women’s feet, Mark Sanchez’s eye black and Rex Ryan’s tears. Stewart is still looking for an edge this year.