CONCORD, N.C. -- It has been two-and-a-half months since the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. And with a trip to Daytona International Speedway just around the corner, it’s safe to say the offseason has transitioned to the preseason.
With that in mind, the Hendrick Motorsports pit crews are focusing on preseason training before taking the leap over the wall to jumpstart the season. Here are 11 fun facts about how the pit crews get in gear from the end of one season to the start of the next.
1) On the first Monday after Homestead, the pit crews start breaking down the pit boxes – a process that takes anywhere from three to five weeks to finish.
2) There are a total of 12 monitors, five laptops, five pit guns, four fuel cans and three jacks for the pit crews to disassemble from the pit boxes.
3) The pit crew athletes are told to actively rest during offseason, recoup and take time off from the 10-month season. However, they are expected to maintain optimal fitness levels. Come January, the team members are evaluated on body mass index, weight and fitness performance to determine their status.
4) There are a total of 49 Hendrick Motorsports pit crew athletes. Fourteen of the team members are on the developmental pit crew.
5) During the preseason, the developmental team merges new “freshman” pit crew members and the athletes who have been at Hendrick Motorsports for a year. They often develop their over-the-wall experience in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series en route to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
6) Working out is a critical factor as a pit crew member. During the preseason, the athletes work out at the Hendrick Motorsports gym an hour a day, five days out of the week.
7) Each daily workout is different from the next. Mondays and Fridays are light lift days. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are days to focus on lifting heavier weights.
8) The pit crew members prepare for the season with high-endurance workouts, lifting in the 12-repetition range and focusing on agility work with quick-feet drills.
9) Depending on the weather, the pit crews will often prepare on the Performance Training Field, which features the same type of turf used by many NFL teams and the same track surface used in college programs and Olympic stadiums alike.
10) The pit crews practice a variety of different pit plays – preparing for multiple race scenarios that could arise – to get ready for the first race of the season.
11) During pit practices in the preseason, the pit crews will practice using a car designed to mimic the setup for Daytona in order to create realistic pit stop scenarios. As the season progresses, the practice car’s setup will continue to change based on the upcoming race’s location.