NASCAR, like any other form of motorsport in the world, is not a one-man show. With performance dependent on technical aspects in mechanical aspects such as cars, motorsport as an industry relies heavily on a team whose collective effort allows a driver to reach the top of his game. As well as having a skilled driver behind the wheel of the car, the team requires a set of skilled engineers to set up the car so that the driver can get the most out of it, along with a quick-on-the-feet pit crew to service the car regularly gap.
A typical NASCAR Cup Series team consists of up to eight members in a pit crew, of which only five members are allowed over the pit road wall during a race due to safety reasons. Each member of the team has a specific task that he/she must perform during one of the most intense and chaotic moments of a race, the green flag pit stop, not to mention the numerous curveballs that can come their way in the form of a damaged car or an out of sync pit stop.
A typical NASCAR pit crew consists of a Jackman, who is responsible for lifting the car up so the tire changers can do their job. Then comes the actual tire changer and carrier, working as a pair. Two teams of carriers and shifters take turns servicing each corner of the car as quickly as they can. Since refueling is common in stock car racing, the Fuelman is responsible for filling up the car with Sunoco Green E15, the sport’s official fuel. He can often be recognized as the person holding a large red refueling device.
The top two positions in a NASCAR Pit Crew come in the form of Car Chief and Crew Chief. The Car Chief takes care of the operations before the race weekend regarding the set-up and maintenance of the specific car, whereas the Crew Chief acts as the final say on top of the box.
So how much does a NASCAR tire changer make?
A typical NASCAR tire changer and carrier duo earns about $1500 per race, with a $300 winner’s bonus. This puts their early earnings in the ballpark of $80,000. The role of tire changer is not one of the highest paying positions in a pit crew, but they are susceptible to a high level of danger as they are one of the most important members of the team to be over the pit wall and among fast cars.
Watch the pit crews in action at the 2023 Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum next month on February 5, 2023.