How Do They Do It?
Posted By: Holly Blake, Follow @HollyLBlake
Have you ever wondered how the NASCAR teams survive an early race incident? How could they possibly just continue on and not complain or get upset? I don’t know how they do it but we were witness to it on Sunday at Bristol.
Several teams went to work to repair damaged cars from the lap 24 wreck. I was listening to Kevin Harvick’s radio so I stayed with it to see how they handled getting his car repaired and mange to stay on the lead lap.
Yes, the bumping and banging began early at Bristol Motor Speedway Sunday afternoon. Regan Smith got into Kasey Kahne on lap 24, collecting Carl Edwards, Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick. The incident sent Kahne, Edwards, Busch, and Ambrose to the garage for repairs. Harvick had lesser damage than his fellow competitors and was able to get much needed repairs across the span of some nine stops under the lengthy caution.
Shane Wilson, Harvick’s crew chief was calm on the radio not only to the driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet but to the entire team. He asked questions to assess the extent of the damage and commenced in giving implicit instructions to the team on what needed to be done.
The team went to work and with each stop, they methodically repaired the damage to the car and all the while, Wilson never raised his voice and also communicated with spotter Billy O’Dea to insure they didn’t lose a precious lap.
Harvick restarted in the 30th position. The car was decent and the water temps held. It was tight but both driver and crew chief discussed changes with each pit stop and continued to work on the car.
Harvick stayed calm as well – something that most fans are not accustomed to. He worked his way through traffic and continued to feed information to the team.
Further adjustments were completed during the next two pitstops and just after mid race, Harvick was in the 14th position.
On the final stop, they opted for a four tire change when the two leaders stayed out and most of the front runners pitted for two tires. The gamble didn’t hurt them much at all. Harvick was able to work up to 10th but fell to 11th as he crossed the finish line.
Given all the repairs and adjustments, quite a feat but the larger one for me was the calmness throughout the team, led by Shane Wilson. These teams are under tremendous pressure to perform week in and week out. The sponsors in the sport are much more difficult to secure. There is no time to be negative. You just have to do your job. Some weeks it is a lot more fun for some than others.