CONCORD, N.C. – On Thursday, Hendrick Motorsports hosted its 12th annual pit crew combine aiming to recruit fresh talent and athletes for future seasons.

The Hendrick Motorsports combine event, first launched in 2012, was initially held three times a year at different locations before settling at the organization’s home base in Concord, North Carolina. Participants undergo rigorous strength and agility drills to assess their jumping ability, foot speed, teamwork and responsiveness to instruction.

The event mirrors the National Football League’s combine, where college athletes showcase their skills to improve their draft prospects. Similarly, Hendrick Motorsports’ pit coaches scout amateur athletes from areas where the NASCAR Cup Series races, hoping to discover future pit crew members.

"In the past we have done two combines and the last few years we've only done one," said pit development coach Keith Flynn. "The number of guys we were looking for this year, we thought that we would bring in several more so that we had a good selection of guys to pick from. I would say the quantity was definitely more than in the past. A good thing is that the quality was better than the past so we have a lot of tough decisions that we have to make and iron out in minicamp."

Since 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has secured a record 14 Cup Series championships. Each team member plays a crucial role and the pit department’s innovative recruitment strategy is key to the organization’s growth and success.

The combine offers college athletes, who may not make it to the professional level in their respective sports, a chance to apply their athletic talents in a new arena. Hendrick Motorsports’ pit crew members have diverse backgrounds, including collegiate competitors from top programs in football, baseball, wrestling and other sports. 

“For the combine we had close to 60 guys representing a lot of different backgrounds, a lot of successful college athletes,” added pit department head coach Jacob Claborn. “They came in and also some guys that are currently on pit road at other organizations. It was great to have them in and it’s going to make it a very difficult decision on us as a stuff because of how competitive they group was and narrowing it down to what we need for our three-day minicamp, and from there to what we’re going to look forward with in terms of contracts offered. It was a great group – very competitive, very athletic and we’re excited about the future of what those guys can bring for us.”

A second minicamp is scheduled for early August, where prospects will continue the recruitment process with three days of skill and practice tests, including real-time pit stops.