May 18, 2006
Fastest Athletes on Pit Road Are Not Drivers
NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge Determines Top Talent on Pit Road
Kurt Culbert, 704-632-7960
UPDATED 5/22/2006 - The No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team took top honors at the second annual NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman. The winning pit crew raises a commemorative champion flag May 19 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. to honor their win as best pit crew on pit road.
>(At the top is co-car chief and rear-tire changer – Greg Osborne; from right left to right – Ray Erwin, pit crew coach Walt Smith, NEXTEL Cup driver Martin Truex Jr., crew chief Kevin Manion). For more information, please visit www.sprint.com/nextelcup.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (UPDATED 5/22/2006) — 05/18/2006
The No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team took top honors at the second annual NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, held at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, where 24 competitors competed for the title as 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Champion. Racing against the clock in team and individual skills competitions, the teams battled through four rounds with only one team remaining at the event's conclusion to be titled the best pit crew on pit road.
In the final round of competition, the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team defeated the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge team with a time of 25.44 seconds to secure the championship.
"This team is number one tonight," said Kevin Manion, crew chief of the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. "We came in tonight as the underdog and are leaving as a winner. The NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge is a really neat deal for these guys. I've had more fun tonight than I've had since Homestead."
The team received $70,100 in cash, as well as special leather jackets and championship rings by Jostens, the same company to design four decades of Super Bowl Championship rings.
Seven individual winners also were named for their respective positions. Each winning crew member was awarded a Craftsman toolbox filled with tools, along with a $10,000 cash prize, a special leather jacket and a championship ring from Jostens.
The NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman was introduced in 2005 as an enhancement to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge activities, one of the nation's elite sporting events. The only event of its kind officially sanctioned by NASCAR, this contest pitted over-the-wall athletes against each other in seven head-to-head skills competitions designed to showcase the talents of NASCAR's top crew members. Components of the competition included individual and team contests for tire changers, tire carriers, gas men, jack men and catch-can men, with competitors earning more than $250,000 in guaranteed cash and prizes. Eligible teams included those able to compete in the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.
"Sprint Nextel congratulates all champions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge," said Tom Murphy, vice president of marketing and sponsorships for Sprint Nextel. "In its second year, the event has become the true measure of endurance, strength and overall athleticism for these crew members. Recognizing these talented individuals and teams for their skills is fitting for a true all-star week. Events like this don't happen without a team and we'd like to thank NASCAR, Craftsman, Charlotte's Local Organizing Committee and the Charlotte Bobcats organization for their efforts in making this event a reality."
The individual skills stations were set up as pit boxes, each with a full-size NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series car. All team members began simultaneously at the sound of a starter's tone and hit a stop button positioned on pit wall as they left their respective pit box, marking their individual split time.
Individual winners from each component were:
Front-tire changer: Jason Pulver, No. 29, 14.41
Front-tire carrier: Josh Mick, No. 29 , 14.41
Rear-tire changer: Kyle Turner, No. 9, 14.84
Rear-tire carrier: Don Marvel, No. 9, 14.84
Jack man: Jeff Kerr, No. 1, 6.42
Gas man: Jeff Patterson, No. 20, 14.20
Catch-Can man: Brian Larson, No. 20, 14.20
Fans across the country can see the top teams in action during a special presentation of the NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge. The 90-minute show will air on SPEED at 6 p.m. EDT leading into the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on May 20. MRN radio also will broadcast event highlights during its pre-race show on May 20 at 6:15 p.m. EDT.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of communications services bringing mobility to consumer, business and government customers. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks offering industry leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.