Dirty Business of Tire Changing
Ever swallow a mouthful of soot? Danny Kincaid did last month at Martinsville and will again several times at Phoenix. And trust him, it’s not an enjoyable experience.
“I’m going to be picking black, dusty boogers out of my nose for the next week,” Kincaid, the No. 84’s front tire changer, predicted at Martinsville.
Changing tires is a dirty business, especially at shorter, flat tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit. Martinsville, the smallest oval with long straights and tight corners, abuses brakes to the point when a tire comes off during a stop, a thick, black cloud of brake dust escapes into the face of a tire changer. Along with everything else a dirty racing surface has to offer.
Phoenix, a flat, 1-mile track, holds the same characteristic — brake pads slowly wearing down, brake dust just waiting to be inhaled. Stop after stop after stop.
“Right when you sit down and fire your gun, that’s when you get the worst of it … right on the first lug nut,” said Chad Avrit (pictured above), Kincaid’s counterpart on the rear. “It’s an immediate puff. Then it’s the dust. It starts swirling in your face. You’ll have that huge cloud at first, then it kind of turns into a mist.”
Needless to say, a shower is priority No. 1 when the pit crews touch down late that night in North Carolina.
“Immediately,” Avrit said. “You definitely want to shower immediately. You’re ready to get out of that firesuit and into some fresh clothes.”
Today at Phoenix: Brian Vickers and Scott Speed have their work cut out for them. Vickers, who has one top five and three top 15s in eight starts, rolls off 36th. Speed starts right behind in 38th.
Friday at Phoenix: Speed posted another impressive run in the Craftsman Truck Series, finishing 14th in his first time at Phoenix under race conditions. He hasn’t finished outside the top 15 in the past five truck races.