Lowes 48 Team Wins Pit Crew Challenge

How do you think it feels to get paid $894.17 per second for a little over 90 seconds of work? There is one NASCAR Sprint Cup pit crew team that knows how that feels!   

Congratulations to the #48 Lowes’ team for winning the 8th annual Sprint Pit Crew Challenge!  
Gas man – Brandon Harder

Front tire changer – Dave Collins

Front tire carrier – RJ Barnette

Rear tire change – Calvin Teague

Rear tire carrier Matt Tyrell

Jackman TJ Ford 

The #48 team members were flawless the entire night. With an average time of 22.556-seconds over the four rounds of their competition, they completed the last head-to-head, against  the Joe Gibbs #11 FedEx team with a final time of 22.239. If this sounds a little like deja vu’ that would be because these two teams went head-to-head last year but with opposite results. 

Individual winners – Skills Competition
Jeff Kerr – Jackman  with his third individual win. Incidently Jeff has won the competition every three years – 2006, 2009 and 2012. Expect him to be a factor in 2015 as well. With a winning time tonight of 5.291-seconds, Jeff earned $1,890 per-second. Not a bad payout. 

Tom Lampe – Gasman from the #18 M&M’s team. Tom came in second last year in the skills competition, so this was a great move for him. Tom’s 8.610 winning time earned him $1161.44 per-second of hard labor.

Jake Seminar and Kenny Barber – from the #18 MYM team. These guys came in second last year in the skills competition so they also moved up to the winners circle. Jake and Kenny had to work harder for their earnings, with a finish time of 13.615 their money grossed them $734.48 per-second of lugnuts and tire carrying.

Tim Sheets and JD Holcomb – Front tire Changer/Carrier from the #31 CAT team.  Tim and JD were on different teams last year so the competition this year definitely shows that they have a winning combination. With a total time of 13.073 they brought home $764.93 a piece per second. 

Imagine me changing my tires – it takes over 30 minutes. How much pay would that net for me?

Watching the competition on Thursday, I paid closer attention the strategy and came away with some interesting personal thoughts and opinions. It seems each individual ‘team’ chose whether their night of competition would be ‘going for the team win’ or ‘going for an individual win’.  The ones with the “team win” mentality were the ones that progressed through the competition.  Let me explain my process of how I got to this conclusion. 

In the first round, there were 16 teams – eight teams had a bye directly to the second round. Ten of those 16 teams had major penalties in lugnuts and gas spillage which put them completely out of the running. When going into the second round, the results were reversed, with only five of 16 teams in that round having penalties. In the quarterfinal rounds only two of 8 teams had penalties and there were no penalties in the semifinals or the final rounds. 

With performance times between 22.014 – the lowest finish time from the #78 Furniture Row team, and 25.258 – the highest finish time from the #34 team of Front Row Motorsports – a five-second gas spillage penalty or a three-second lug nut penalty is almost certain to get a team disqualified from moving into the next round. But if you were going for an individual time then you needed to push the envelope to get the shortest time in the initial round. It was definitely go-or-go-home situation.  
Since the individual competition times are decided in the first round, as the rounds progress, the ‘team competition’ becomes more important and the number of penalties decline. 
Since I’m big into ‘team sports’ and brag that pit crews are the best ‘team players’ in all of sports, you might wonder how I feel about this discovery. At first I was disappointed. Personally, I want to see the team competition be something where they count on each other every round, with the end result being the same for everyone on the team. 

But I realize, there must have been some sort of discussion within the teams before the competition. That conclusion came mainly because there wasn’t just one penalty per team during the first round. Most of the teams had between 5 to 11 second penalties. Those teams were going for the individual win and came up short. When looking at the statistics, I can see why. 

The winning #48 team got $80,675 tonight. If you split that between six pitcrew guys, then you have $13,445.83 a piece. That’s for 90+ seconds of work throughout the night.  They may split those earnings further with other people at the shop or the pitcrew coach. 

If you win an individual competition you get $10,000 for under 25-seconds of work. That money is, most likely, all yours to keep. So, since the individual competition is decided during the first round of the ‘team competition’ they really have to make up their mind before-hand to compete for team or individual awards. 

My suggestion for next year is for NASCAR to make the individual competition outside of the team competition, so that we see the best ‘team’ win and then the best ‘individual win’. 

Until then, congratulations to the #48 crew for bringing it home! 
Romans 12:5 … so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others

By Contributing Blogger Susanne Bowyer
All photos provided by Susanne Bowyer
See Susanne’s Fan at the Track – Pit Crew Challenge photo blog

One thought on “Lowes 48 Team Wins Pit Crew Challenge

  1. So great seeing these crew members getting the chance to showcase their skills. Susanne, you point out some great insight with your thoughts about making a pre-challenge decision about going for the individual or team award. It seems you may have hit the mark.

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