CONCORD, N.C. - One of the unique things about the motorsports industry is the inclination of employees to pursue additional racing passions outside of traditional working hours. For Murray Timm, a fabricator for the No. 24 team, this is a large part of his story.
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After gaining two years of experience in the racing industry, Timm, a Waterloo, Ontario, native joined Hendrick Motorsports in 1996 to work on car bodies. He would spend two years in this area before earning an opportunity to join the No. 5 pit crew of Terry Labonte. It was an opportunity Timm could not pass up.
"I was hanging bodies and practicing changing tires, too," Timm said. "They would farm me out to (NASCAR) Xfinity (Series) teams and lower-level Cup teams. Once I got good enough, the No. 5 team lost a tire changer, so I went and filled in. (I) kind of tried out and ended up making it. I was on the team until Terry (Labonte) retired and then I changed tires for Kyle (Busch) for his first season."
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Following the 2005 season, Timm decided it was time to pursue a role with less travel at Hendrick Motorsports and he became a fabricator. In the ensuing years, his children were just getting started in their own racing careers. This culminated in 2015 when Timm and his son, Cole, ran full time in the inaugural season of the CARS Pro Super Late Model Tour.
The inaugural season of this class featured a who’s who of current NASCAR drivers. In the opening race at Southern National Motorsports Park, Timm and his family-run operation took home the victory over Christopher Bell, who was running for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Other drivers that made part-time starts in the series that year included current Hendrick Motorsports drivers William Byron and Chase Elliott as well as Harrison Burton, Zane Smith and Josh Berry. That year, 16-year-old Cole Timm brought home the championship, a monumental achievement for the family.
While moonlighting as a crew chief for his son was an enjoyable experience, Timm was able to use and translate the success at the local level into his day job at Hendrick Motorsports.
"I would learn more there (with Super Late Models) and then apply that stuff here," Timm said. "Your sharper doing that kind of stuff. As we got slowly in a tighter box (in the Cup Series) where we couldn’t do a lot of body stuff, I still like to do it because I keep learning. Still today, I hang bodies at my shop."
Today, Timm's role on the No. 24 team focuses specifically on how to get the car's body and underwing within the required specifications before it hits the track. While the role may not involve as much creativity as it did in the pre-Next Gen car era, fabricating remains a vital part of a race team in 2023.
Working at Hendrick Motorsports has become a family affair for Timm. In 2019, his son Cole joined the organization as a mechanic with the No. 88 team. Currently, he has progressed to become the interior mechanic for Elliott's No. 9 entry. After years of competing at the local level together, both father and son have the ability work within 20 yards of each other on a daily basis. While that may sound strange to some families, it feels like home to this one.
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"We raced our whole lives," Timm said. "We always worked in the shop together, so it's kind of normal seeing him work around here because I always see him work in my shop too."