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Liberty University

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Liberty University

CONCORD, N.C. -- More than 600 team members work at Hendrick Motorsports, and each of them has a unique role that helps contribute to success on the racetrack.

In this series, will take an in-depth look at how team members execute those jobs on a daily basis, detailing their workspaces, routines and more.

This time, pit crew coach, Chris Burkey shares "How I Work."

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Describe your role:
“I coach the Cup pit crews, oversee the day-to-day operations with the team and coach of all four of our Cup teams.”

Apps/gadgets you can’t live without:
“For me a stop watch, that’s probably the biggest gadget I have; we're all about time. Probably DV Sport, its our computer program system, our video system that Kyle Rivera, our video coordinator has. I can watch it on my phone, I can watch it at home. It gave me a lot of opportunity to watch a lot of different things, and I don’t have to stay here to watch that kind of stuff.”

Most used app on your phone:
“Probably Google. I’m not on any social media. I just Google a lot, things I want to know. I’m not on Twitter or Instagram, Facebook or any of that stuff. I know it’s odd but I just don’t get into it.”

One word that best describes how you work:
“Efficient. The length of our season, you have to be efficient because you’ve got two or three days here with these guys as far as the pit crews. You have to get them in, get them out, get them trained up and minimize the time here so they can get to the track.”

How you got your start at Hendrick Motorsports:
“I was in the NFL before this. Unfortunately, we got let go and I knew a friend of mine that was on pit road, he was actually a pit crew member who became a coach. I just got to know him, and he knew that Hendrick Motorsports was looking for a developmental coach at that time to bring in athletes 10 years ago. I got ahold of Hendrick Motorsports and Andy Papathanassiou and we talked, and that’s how I ended up here.”

Take us through a recent workday:
“I usually get here around 7 a.m. on typical days. I get the (pit) guns and help the guys get the equipment out here on the pit pad. Once we get that going the guys usually arrive. Typically, we watch film at 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. we will start practice and go for about two hours. Then, the guys are going to the weight room and we will finish our day watching film or grading film. We usually end around 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. everyday.”

Work-space setup:
“All of the coaches are in the same space. It’s a cubical style so I’ve got my work-space with a computer and a big screen. I’ve got just a normal desk.”

How you keep track of what you have to do each day:
“I’ve been doing this long enough, and have been coaching long enough to where the kind of mental preparation I go through every week, once we leave the track on Saturday or Sunday that I kind of know what we need to do for the following week. We go to these tracks twice a year anyway. I just kind of keep it all in my head really, and I keep that same kind of pace and schedule going.”

Best advice you ever received:
“Man, I’ve had a lot. Probably just be you. Be yourself, don’t try to do something that’s not in your capabilities. Do something you would actually do and be true. I think if you are the same guy every week and every day, I think that means a lot to a lot of people.”  

Influential person in your life:
“I’ve worked for some good ones - Nick Saban, Bill Parsells, Randy Mueler, NFL executives, John Bunning the head coach that was at North Carolina with me. I’ve just kind of encompassed all the knowledge they have and kept it in myself. I’ll make phone calls occasionally if I get into a pinch. I would say those guys have become pretty influential in my life.”

Favorite thing about working at Hendrick Motorsports:
“Just the family atmosphere. We’ve got 600 teammates and I could walk up to anybody and say hello, and they will say hello to me, we can say hello off campus and we can make eye contact. It’s just a family atmosphere that I really love. Mr. Hendrick does a really great job keeping that family atmosphere going here.”

Who helps things run smoothly:
“I think all of the coaches in our office. We all have to kind of have our schedules. Whether or not I have to do something with these teams, or that team, we have to keep a pretty tight schedule. We only have the guys for a limited amount of time. Kyle Rivera does all of our video stuff. Collectively, all of the coaches in our offices; we have to keep everything tight.” 

Something people might not know about working for a race team:
“The amount of people it takes to get race cars to the track to be honest with you. People think its just a backyard type of deal behind someone's house but, I come here and bring friends all of the time and they say “man, I didn’t know there was this much attention to detail and so many parts and pieces to it and moving parts.”

What type of music do you listen to at work:
“I’m a country guy. I love country music personally. But its like anything else, if we are pumping music out there, its up to the players. We get all kinds of different music out there. I’ve heard it all from rap to country to 80’s, 90’s we got it all. Personally, I like country.”