T Nation

NASCAR Driver/Tire Changers


#1

Hello,
What are the demands of a racecar drver as well as the pit crew? I am not a fan but am researching the needs of each. Typically, athletes need either strength, power, agility, endurance, etc. However, I am having a hard time figuring where a driver would fit in here.

Forgive the lack of knowledge about the sport. I live in NASCAR country but know nothing about it.


#2

I worked on a team once last summer for kicks; I could give an answer, but I know people (drivers and full-time crew guys) who could answer better, so I'll try to remember to ask them for you.

Cheers,

W.H.


#3

I believe Chris Thibaudeau mentioned that he was approached by a Gran Prix (or Formula 1?)driver about training. I believe CT said that he focused on endurance (it gets hot in those suits), core/ab strength to stabilize the body around the curves, and grip strength-endurance. Oh, and lots of work on the glutes so he could grip the seat with his ass. Just kidding about that last one.


#4

Thanks, I can say that this sport is totally different than any others we discuss on here. I believe the surface has just been scratched here. Appreciate any help.


#5

I would believe that drivers would need the following:

endurance, and more endurance
grip strength
core strength

crew members would need a mix of:
agility (have you seen those tire guys run around)
speed
strength (that gas can is no light weight)
endurance (many races are run on hot summer days and some have to wear special fire proof suits)

just my .02,

mike


#6

It depends on the position, too. Are you a fueler where you have to carry a big-ass fuel can on your shoulders, fill, throw it away, get another, and fill again?

Or are you a tire changer, having to yank a tire off while squatted, throw another up, right on the bolts, quickly?

Or are you a water boy, in which case you might be able to find a nice Sultry Soy Boy who can do the job?


#7

I remember reading something on Mark Martin (Nextel/Sprint Cup) where he could bench press 300+ lbs for reps - and his bodyweight was somewhere around 150-160lbs..

I'd add strength-endurance to the list - I couldn't imagine wrestling a 3500 lb car for hundreds of laps, especially on the shorter/slicker tracks like Bristol/Martinsville or road courses (Watkins)


#8

Ah yes, driving, totally missed that.

Dehydration is huge. Endurance is huge. Your wrists feel like they've been flailed after a few hours, so strong wrist strength is crucial. Concentration is huge, so get the mental aspect in tune. Getting a strong core couldn't hurt either.

I do amateur racing, so I'm quite familiar with these things on a much lower scale. A few hours on the track and my wrists hate me. You have to come in every so often just to rest. It really is very demanding. In fact, pro level drivers are exceptional athletes, much more so than the public at-large realizes.


#9

Well the thing is a Kenyan can't come into the event with out a buck, shitty shoes and poor coaching and win. Without a car you lose. In no sport does equipment make such a difference. Howver, races, just like the 100 meters can and are won by 1/100th's of a seconds and everything counts. So, we have fat fucks changing tires not being able to get out of the way of oncoming cars.