CONCORD, N.C. – Chris Fasulka, gas man for the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, quickly shuffles from side-to-side with a 90-pound gas can resting on his shoulder. This drill is just one of many that Fasulka and the other gas men at Hendrick Motorsports complete during the week so they’ll be prepared for the demands of race day.
It’s all about strength and timing. And on race day, gas men Fasulka, Brandon Harder, Caleb Hurd and Brad Pickens complete their jobs in just a couple steps so there is little margin for error. They have to time their approach to the Chevrolet just right, and from there, fill up the car as much as possible.
During a typical four-tire stop, Hurd is responsible for lifting, carrying and engaging two gas cans containing approximately 12 gallons of fuel each to fill the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet. He must engage each can quickly to ensure fueling does not hold up a pit stop, and use precise timing to avoid spilling excessive fuel, which is a penalty on pit road.
Pickens, gas man on the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, removes the majority of his protective gear -- triple layer gloves, a full face protecting helmet and a bib over his firesuit. All items are worn to protect against fire or chemical burns – all serious, weekly risks for gasmen.
During tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, fans won’t see the heavy protective gear typically worn on pit road. The gas men use water in their 90-pound cans to simulate their part of the stop. While lifting the two cans is difficult, the biggest challenge for the gas men likely will be initiating the 40-yard stock car push to the finish line.
Harder, gas man for the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, typically finishes his part of the Challenge before the rest of the team. After completely emptying his two fuel cans, he will sprint for the 3,200 pound stock car and begin the team’s push for the finish line. Last year, the No. 48 crew earned a second place finish, one they’re hoping to improve upon at tonight’s competition.
Watch the Pit Crew Challenge live on SPEED beginning at 8 p.m. ET. For more information or to purchase tickets for the Pit Crew Challenge happening tonight at Time Warner Cable arena, visit www.pitcrewchallenge.com.