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Getting to know Kyle Turner, front-tire changer for the No. 5

CONCORD, N.C. (Aug. 11, 2009) – Kyle Turner was hooked on racing after attending a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at his home track in Richmond, Va. Today, he is the front-tire changer for the No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST team, which leads the series with four Cup wins.  Recently, we caught up with Kyle.

Full name: Kyle Turner
Hometown: Yorktown, Va.

High School: Tabb High School in Yorktown.

College: I graduated from the NASCAR Technical Institute in October 2004.

Team/job duties: Assembly mechanic on the No. 5 team at the shop; front-tire changer at the track.

Time at current job:  Nine months. I started in December 2008.

Years in racing: Five. 

First racing job: I started out in the gear room at Evernham Motorsports. I pretty much just washed parts and observed and learned from the head gear mechanic.

First job overall: I worked as a costumed interpreter when I was in the eighth or ninth grade for Historic Jamestown, the first colony at Jamestown, Va. I didn’t have to talk with an accent, but I was a tour guide so I dressed up like the first colonists who came to America. If you’ve seen “The Patriot,” that pretty much was what I wore. I worked on the ships, and one time, I sailed to the Eastern Shore (in Maryland) for classes of school children.

One thing people wouldn’t know about you: I’m terrified of snakes.

Best racing memory:  I have two. My first win – the May race at Richmond (Va.) in 2005. I was on the No. 9 team working as the rear-tire changer. I had moved up to the Cup series two weeks before so I had only been doing this for two weeks. Plus, Richmond is just over an hour from where I grew up.

My second favorite memory was winning the Nationwide Series race at Daytona this year with Tony Stewart. Our crew chief, Alan Gustafson, wanted the No. 5 pit crew to get more experience and Lance (McGrew, Stewart’s crew chief that weekend) needed a pit crew, so the No. 5 team pitted the No. 80 car. My dad is a big Tony Stewart fan, and he and my mom were there in Daytona when we won. So they got to go to Victory Lane and throw Gatorade and get their picture with Tony.

Hobbies outside of racing: Cycling, mountain biking, wakeboarding.
Favorite sport other than racing:  College football. I’m not a diehard fan, but I’ll pull for Virginia Tech if they’re playing.

When I’m not at the track you can find me: I go out on the lake about every week.

On an off weekend you can find me: At the lake or the beach.
Favorite movies: “Tombstone” or pretty much anything with Vince Vaughn.

Favorite music: Everything, but mostly rap and the most underground stuff you can find.

Dream car: Porsche.

If I could meet anyone, I’d meet: Dan Marino. When I was little, he was my favorite football player. I loved the Miami Dolphins.

Favorite food: Steak or buffalo wings. I could eat that every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of it.

Before the race, I always: go out to the pit box an hour early to get set up. Then, I hit the practice lug nuts during the parade lap.

During a pit stop, I’m thinking: It’s amazing what passes through your mind in 13 seconds. I can be hitting the lug nuts and catch something out of the corner of my eye at the same time. I’m not thinking anything in particular, but it’s amazing what you can think about in such a short time frame.

I knew I wanted a job in NASCAR after: I went to my first race at Richmond with my dad and some friends. It was probably in the fall of 2002, and I just decided I wanted to give that a try. I was more interested in being a part of the show, being behind the scenes.