The Fastest and the Furious
Mistake free and fast — a lethal combination no crew could contend with when it went against the No. 83 team Thursday night.
The seven men who service Brian Vickers’ Red Bull Toyota didn’t earn a single penalty in churning out five straight stops under 23 seconds to win the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, as well as the first-place prize of $70,675. And then there’s that little thing called bragging rights.
“Consistency breeds the speed,” said Greg Miller, Red Bull Racing Team’s pit crew coach. “When you get consistent, smooth and you don’t have to go back and make up for things you did wrong … that’s our whole philosophy, be consistent and we’ll be fast.”
The No. 83 team’s slowest time of the night (22.902 seconds) was fast enough in the finals against the No. 11 crew of Joe Gibbs Racing, which came in .109 of a second behind at 23.011. The event record entering the night was 23.35 seconds.
As soon as the car crossed the finish line, the team erupted in celebration and the Red Bull began flowing. There was a hint of Red Bull in the air during the victory lane trophy presentation that went to Brian Haaland (front changer), Aaron Schields (front carrier), Danny Kincaid (rear changer), Jake Brzozowski (rear carrier), Shaun Peet (jack man and team captain), Doug Newell (gas man) and Mike Metcalf (catch can).
“Tremendous athletes,” Vickers said. “They were awesome tonight. So focused. These guys are the best at what they do. This is when it counted, and it meant a lot to them. I’m proud of them.”
In the final two rounds, the full-time crewmen, after completing their individual tasks at four separate stations in the so-called slow lane, converged on the car and made up ground in the decisive 40-yard push thanks to sound strategy by strength coach Ben Cook. “We had the legs when it counted,” Schields said.
The victory gives the No. 83 team its choice of pit boxes for Saturday night’s Sprint Showdown at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but only if Vickers manages to race his way into the all-star event through the Open.
“We’re pretty confident our driver will get us into that deal. All the pressure is on him,” Peet said, smiling at Vickers.
Listen to the guys talk about their championship night in our audio section at www.redbullracingusa.com.
ROUND BY ROUND
83 (22.760) def. 8 (32.975)
83 (22.572) def. 20 (22.995)
83 (22.655) def. 88 (23.569)
83 (22.865) def. 29 (27.945)
83 (22.902) def. 11 (23.011)