The Pit Crew Chief

It’s not everyday that I preface my dispatches of verbal brilliance to the web with a pithy quote to set the mood for the rest of what you’re about to read.

Today, I will make an exception.

PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narra- tive will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance.

–Mark Twain

You’ll find one here if you know where to look.

Allow me to provide some background on the extensive knowledge I’m about to convey.

I’ve seen Days of Thunder.

I’ve seen Talladega Nights.

That’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge about any type of auto racing. Name the version of the sport, be it NHRA, NASCAR, Grand Prix, or even the Pinewood Derby, I have a whole lot of nothing to share with you about the practice of seeing how fast the wonders of the internal combustion engine can take us in a oblong motion. Everything you’re about to read is based on what I’ve gathered over the years from movies which attribute quotes about bad ass speed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

In most of your auto races, it’s necessary to have a pit crew to take care of the car. Throughout the race, the car may need to stop for gas, a tire change, or even a quick emptying of the driver’s colostomy bag. Certainly the car and it’s driver are a very important part of a racing team. At the same time, the car couldn’t go for very long without a crew to maintain it.

Naturally you need a chief to run the crew.

Robert Duvall played a pit crew chief in Days of Thunder. Yes, even some of the best actors which Hollywood has to offer have had their notable careers littered with pieces of crap.

But enough about Mr. Napalm In The Morning. Let’s talk about the pit crew chief.

The pit crew chief has several responsibilities. In a single race alone, it’s up to him to make sure the crew is doing what it needs to do for the race car. Certainly the tire guy has to have all of the tires ready. The gas guy has to have a full supply tank. The window washer has to have his squeegee and glass cleaner in one hand, and a piece of cardboard in the other which displays something poetic like “Homeless. Hungry. Will work for food.” There’s bound to be another guy who does assorted engine work, and another one who refills the driver’s whiskey bottle for those extra long rides.

Whereas the pit crew chief has a pretty good working knowledge of all of the different components which are needed to run a successful racing team, it’s not up to the chief to do the job of those on the crew.

The pit crew chief doesn’t drive the car in a race. He tells the driver to be ready to make a left turn.

The pit crew chief doesn’t change the tires of the car. He makes sure the tire guy understands “righty tighty, lefty loosey” when it comes to lug nuts.

The pit crew chief doesn’t wash the windows on the car, but he does make sure the window guy knows how to get a windshield load of recently deceased bugs off of the window.

The pit crew chief doesn’t do engine work on the car, but he does make sure his mechanics know the difference between spark plugs and glow plugs.

The pit crew chief coordinates the race for the team. He makes sure that everyone on the team is doing the job that is specifically assigned to them.

The pit crew chief is not charged with adjusting the car seat to make it comfortable for the driver. Specific members of the team do that.

The pit crew chief is not charged with making sure the lug nuts are polished. Specific members of the team do that.

The pit crew chief is not charged with changing the oil on the car. Specific members of the team do that.

Let summarize now.

The pit crew chief is charged with making sure the members of the racing team do their own specific jobs, without actually doing their job for them.


The sooner you do, the better things will be.


Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

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