Not a job for the weak. Craven has to carry an 11-gallon gas can,
which weighs 80 pounds when full, and attach it to the car's fuel
tank. He then gives way to Hurd and retrieves a second can. While
Craven's lugging the container, the trick is not to disrupt
Church and Lupo as they move from the right side of the car to
the left, changing tires. Bumping into Church or Lupo can cost
Gordon a few precious seconds.
This is an article from the Feb. 11, 2002 issue
Catch Can Man
Hurd plugs a catch can into the overflow valve at the rear of the
car, then takes the first gas can from Craven. Hurd doesn't have
to move around much, so he presses close to the car to stay out
of everyone else's way. When fuel starts flowing into the catch
can, he knows the car's tank is full and gives Cook the all-clear
Rear Tire Changer
Church must wait for the 24 car to pass in front of him before
moving into position on the right side, so he leans as close to
the car as he can--about eight inches from it--as Gordon enters the
pit. After changing the right rear tire, Church races to the left
side, dodging Hurd, Craven and anything they might've spilled.
"Fuel, that's what I worry about," says Church. "They spill gas
in that corner, and it's slick as ice."
Rear Tire Carrier
His primary job is to place tires at the ready for Church, but
Lupo is also responsible for making chassis adjustments if the
car isn't handling well, which may be requested by radio from
Gordon only seconds before he arrives in his stall. "I've done
the wrong thing in a race," Lupo says, "taking a round [of wedge]
out when the crew chief said to put a round in, which makes the
car handle even worse."
Brute strength helps, but being a successful jackman is "all
about leverage," says Cook, who can raise a side of the
3,400-pound car with one pump of the jack. The most important
part of Cook's job is knowing when to lower the left side of the
car. He has to wait until he gets all-clear signals from the
catch can man and both tire carriers before dropping the left
side. Cook can't do that too early, because the instant Gordon
feels the car begin to drop, he hits the gas and pops the clutch.
Front Tire Changer
Gantt and Curione cross to the right side of the pit when the
entering 24 car is one stall away, placing them in a vulnerable
position. If they don't stay alert to another car pulling into a
stall in front of them, it might brush or hit them. Gantt can
tighten all five lug nuts in roughly a second.
Front Tire Carrier
Curione puts new front tires in place for Gantt, then makes sure
the two spent tires make it to the pit wall safely. If they stray
into pit road, NASCAR usually will penalize the team a lap. "If
you have to chase a loose tire across pit road, it's like playing
Frogger," Curione says. To save a microsecond, Curione gives the
all-clear signal after Gantt has four of five lug nuts tightened;
by the time Cook drops the car, the last nut will be in place.