CONCORD, N.C. – Chad Avrit takes the the meaning of pit road athlete to another level.
The rear-tire changer's background in several different sports and ability to lean on others has set him up for success with the No. 9 team of Chase Elliott.
Growing up in El Centro, California, one of the southern-most cities in California, Avrit’s passion for motorsports began with two wheels rather than four. In addition to competing in football and wrestling, he raced dirt bikes, a popular choice for those living in a desert climate.
"I got heavy into riding dirt bikes," said Avrit. "I spent a lot of time out in the desert. We had some motocross tracks around my hometown, and I did a little amateur stuff there."
Following a move to North Carolina with the hopes of pursuing the mechanical side of racing with Universal Technical Institute, Avrit was introduced to the option of serving on a Cup Series pit crew. After working in the industry for several seasons, Avrit joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 as the rear-tire changer on the No. 24 pit crew with four-time champion Jeff Gordon behind the wheel.
He has been on Elliott's pit crew for the 26-year-old's entire Cup career to date - first with the No. 24 and then when that team transitioned over to the No. 9. That run includes being part of the 2020 championship unit.
The No. 9 crew has had little turnover, growing together as a team. For Avrit, the dynamic of the unit has been a large part of their success on pit road.
Even with the transition to a single lug nut design for the 2022 campaign, the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team has adapted well to the new set of changes. The crew has already turned the fastest four-tire pit stop in a race this season and averaged the fastest four-tire pit stops in two races. On the season, the No. 9 crew has the second-best average on four tire stops at 11.807 seconds, according to data from Racing Insights.
While the new wheel has brought about some differences in going over the wall, Avrit’s trust in his teammates has remained the same. For the veteran tire changer, it’s the ability to lean on the long-standing working relationships and camaraderie that remains the cornerstone of his success in the pits.
"Because we’ve been together so long, we have each other to lean on constantly," Avrit said. "We build what we’ve been working on in this new way of doing the pit stop."
This weekend, Avrit and the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team will head to Richmond Raceway looking to extend their regular season championship lead over the competition. Catch all the action at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network, MRN Radio, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).