I have always loved writing, and now that I am retired I thought I would be able to find time to write, but it seems that I still manage to fill my days with activities. I have however found that while I travel, I enjoy writing about some of the interesting things we do. I hope you enjoy reading of our adventures as much as I like writing about them.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
NASCAR Tools of the Trade
Just a few of the tires
I did not know what to expect when I
went to the NASCAR event in Las Vegas, especially around the Neon
Garage Pit Pass I bought. The map showed that I could go to an area
that had the team garages around it. There were windows that you
could look in and see what was going on in the garages, and the
drivers could open part of the window to sign autographs. I enjoy
watching the crews working on the cars as much as watching the race,
so I wasn't sure that being able to look through a window would
exactly cut it.
Body Repair tools
I discovered that indeed you can only
look into the garages through a window, but there are actually three
windows including two that allow you to look from above giving a very
good view of garage action. After watching this for a while I started
wandering the area, and discovered that was actually allowed to go
out onto the area behind pit road. During practice this put you in
position to see the cars coming and going from the garage. Then on
race day, I found the pits road again open, but because there were no
cars on the track, we were allowed to wander up and down the actual
pit area. The Sprint Cup teams were preparing for the race, and
although the cars were mostly still in the garage stalls, the crews
were out here making everything was ready for the race.
Gluing the lugs in
The track officials do a good job here,
allowing fans to see what goes on and to let them get as close to the
action as possible without compromising the safety of teams, drivers,
and fans. It is good to allow the fans to walk up and down the pit
areas and see what goes on. It makes they more interested and
promotes the sport. It would have been easier to just keep these area
closed, so that people did not have to be moved away when the race
starts, and I'm sure that some of the teams would rather be able to
get ready without a crowd of people wandering by, but the organizers
obviously realize that keeping fans excited and interested is a big
part of the sport.
Room for everyone
What a nut!
Each team has a “Pit Box” that is a
large tool box/trailer on wheels with all the tools, and other things
needed during the race. Most have an area on top for the crew chief
to sit and direct the action, and they all have active satellite
feeds to the major networks covering the race so they can get those
nice close-up of the cars that their spotters can't see. In addition
they have laptops and computers to monitor the cars and the race.
Behind this there were rows and rows of tires all lined up and ready
to go. In most pits there was a crew member glueing a set of lug-nuts
into each wheel so that four tires could be removed and new ones
installed in 14 seconds.
Now this was interesting. This is what
I like to see. Some folks say that NASCAR is boring because the cars
just go round and round in circles, but there is much more to it than
that. A walk through the pit area and you see all the activity and
planning that allows these cars to do all that boring circling of the
track. When you see all the tools and tricks involved in the
preparing and maintaining these temperamental beasts (The cars, not
the drivers . . . . ), you get the complete picture and can really
appreciate the sport of NASCAR.