Auto Racing: I Spent my Summer Changing Tires on a Pit crew
Sure, you could spend your summer vacation flipping burgers or twirling a sponge at a carwash, or you could perform a job that many auto-racing enthusiasts would gladly pay for (and do, as a matter of fact): spending their time working as part of a pit crew!
Seems easy enough, right? You can probably change a tire. You know the names of all the top racers on the circuit. What else is there? Well actually, it’s a lot more complicated that what it seems. Peel away the uncontrolled variables of proper training, attitude and more than a little luck and you’re faced with a high-tech job skill. One that calls for individuals who can block out the dangers of their job and the intense activity that surrounds them, while concentrating specifically on their role.
Enrollment in a Pit Crew School may not land you on the Winston Cup Circuit, but it may help get your foot in the door. At these race track portals of higher education, students will learn everything there is to know — the difference; for example; between front-tire changers, the jack man, and the gasman, to name just a few positions.
While the glamorous world of Winston Cup may beckon, the reality is that the most many people can hope for is a job with a crew on a smaller touring series such as Hooters ProCup, ARCA, ASA, the NASCAR Busch Series, or NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. However, the other series provide the experience you’ll need to ever have a shot at the Winston Cup.
Interest in working fulltime on a pit crew has its price. There are several schools out there. The low-end course can run about $2,000.00 for a 5 to 6 week course, while several “high-end” schools charge upwards to $7500.00.
No one can promise students a job. But what pit crew schools can and do offer is practical hands-on experience
Most schools operate Monday – Friday, 8am to 4pm. And during that time the clock is ticking. Repetition is the key, and getting the car in and out of the pit in a respectable time is the goal. It’s a humble start but it’s certainly better than sending out blind resumes to driving teams which in most case already have a pre-selected team to go on the road.
Which brings us back to a little bit of luck. Every bit helps and being part of pit crew is no different from dreaming about big-league baseball.
In this case you pay your money and take your chances.