Martinsville, VA - It's hard not to focus on the driver during NASCAR races but they are not the only ones who deserve credit for a great run.
The dozens of people in the pit crew work just as hard to get the driver to victory lane. Not only is it physically demanding, but there is a lot to accomplish during a race and they have to do it all in just seconds.14.5 seconds, that's how long it should take for a pit crew to change tires, fill up on gas, and get the driver back out on the track.
"If we do anything over a 14.5, we'll probably lose spots in the truck series," said Butch Hylton, Crew Chief Truck #77.
Long before the race even starts, the crew has been practicing, testing equipment, and setting up for a speedy stop. Then during the race, the pit crew competes, just like the driver.
"You have 6 guys over the wall, 2 changers, 2 carriers, a jack man, and a gas man," said Hylton.
Plus folks catching the old tires, getting the new ones, working the sign, and a crew chief overseeing it all. That's where Hylton comes in.
"The racing part of it, when the actual race is going on, it's a lot of fun competing against all my peers," said Hylton.
Hylton has been working in the pits for 27 seasons. He's now the crew chief for truck series driver German Quiroga and his 14 crew members. Hylton started at a small track, and worked his way up, something he says is a common route.
"It's all about teamwork and that's the one thing that is fun about this sport," said Hylton.
Hylton showed us how it's all done. To change a tire so quickly, they have to balance speed with accuracy and watch out for the truck. And don't think when they're not doing the expected 3 stops this weekend, that they're taking a break. Hylton will be analyzing data and making sure the driver stays competitive.
We will have much more coverage of the race this weekend and what's going on behind the scenes on our special 'Trackside at Martinsville'. That airs Saturday from 7 to 8.