Pickens and Gordon win individual honor at Pit Crew Challenge
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 20, 2010) – Brad Pickens and Travis Gordon, of the No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, were the headliners for Hendrick Motorsports during Wednesday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pit Crew Challenge, earning the individual championship for the gas man competition.
The No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy team advanced to the semifinal round, while the No. 5 GoDaddy.com and No. 24 DuPont teams reached the quarterfinals during the event, which was held at Time Warner Cable Arena and kicks off the All-Star week. The No. 48 Lowe’s team reached the second round.
Click here for images from Wednesday’s event.
Pickens, the gas man, and Gordon, the catch-can man, claimed the individual championship with a time of 10.518 seconds, but winning the fueling competition wasn’t easy. The duo had to overcome some stiff competition from their Hendrick Motorsports teammates on the Nos. 24 and 88 teams. Pickens and Gordon defeated 2008 champions Caleb Hurd and Jamie Frady, of the No. 24 DuPont team by 0.112 seconds. The fueling combination of gas man Chris Fasulka and backup catch-can man Aaron Walker, of the No. 88 National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet, netted third place – just 0.148 seconds behind Pickens and Gordon. The three Hendrick Motorsports pairings were the only ones to score under 11 seconds without penalties.
“It’s good to come out here and get to compete amongst ourselves, amongst our peers, that do the same jobs that we do week in and week out as we do,” said Gordon, a first-time winner at the Pit Crew Challenge and a former basketball player at UNC Charlotte. “We work hard and train for this. It’s a fairly specialized deal; it’s a lot different than what we do on Sunday. To come out here and win is a big deal and it means a lot to us.”
Pickens added: “It’s really big. A lot of stuff we do is a lot of the team stuff but it really focuses in on individuals at this competition. It’s really cool to come out and beat the guys that are here.”
The No. 88 team advanced all the way to the semifinal round before they were knocked out by the No. 11 team, losing by just 0.141 seconds. The No. 88 team struggled to get the National Guard/AMP Energy Chevrolet rolling in the beginning of the push down the lane, but started making up ground fast as the crowd cheered loudly. The No. 88 crew almost caught the No. 11 group, which went on to win the team championship.
The teams will take some of the tricks that they learned preparing for the Pit Crew Challenge and use them when it comes to the new format of the all-star race. Not only will qualifying for that event involve a four-tire pit stop, but this year, NASCAR is requiring a four-tire stop with 10 laps left in the race. That will dictate the starting lineup for the final 10-lap segment.
“The four-tire pit stop is going to change some things,” Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet said. “You’re going to want to have the fastest pit stop as possible so you’ll make some adjustments to the stop to have that happen. I think the biggest affect of it, really, is on the pit crew. It’s a lot of pressure on them, and it makes the night even more so about them. Those guys are the ones that will be the most affected by the change.”