Eleven seconds. It’s not much time, unless you work at a radio station and have that much dead air. An eleven second pit stop- a crazy fast pit stop, even by NASCAR standards- set the stage for Carl Edwards’ victory at Texas Sunday, punching his ticket to compete for a championship at Homestead. You hear commentators talking about the money stop. An eleven second stop to put a driver out in the clean air is a money stop if ever there was one.
For those that say NASCAR is not a sport, I point them in the direction of the pit crew, among other things. Many crews have consisted of former football players, and athletes from other sports. Depending on the role, working on a pit crew requires strength, agility and above all- extreme focus. Like football, you’ll see differing shapes and sizes as tires are carried, jacks are run around, tires are changed, and fuel is filled, but all of them have an important role, and it must be executed with precise timing.
At a track like Texas, track position means everything. Just ask Joey Logano or Martin Truex Jr. Regardless of the car, you still have to have that clean air. If you get it, you’re in the catbird seat. If you don’t, you’d better have one heck of a machine to counter it, and even then, you get much beyond the re-start, and you’re opportunity comes and goes quickly. Your best shot at taking a position is one pit road. If you’re lucky enough to experience that money stop, executed to perfection, destiny is in your hands.
We tend to think of racing as an individual sport, but Carl Edwards and Company reminded us of otherwise Sunday. It all came together: Carl, car and crew. The racing itself may not have been all that compelling, but the way the race played out, and how it affects the chase sure adds spice to the 2016 Chase.
Joe Gibbs Racing and the 19 crew led by crew chief Dave Rogers won’t soon forget the stop at lap 257. Carl Edwards may well win a championship because of eleven seconds.