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 Columns & Editorials

November 12, 2001

Pit Crew Members Unsung Heroes of Racing

by Cambria Laveck Padgett

As the Director of Member Services for the National Association of Pit Crew Members for the National Association of Pit Crew Members and the wife of a Winston Cup jackman, I know the life that pit crew members lead as well as the dangers that they face. The pit road accident on lap 111 of the Pennzoil 400 in Homestead, Florida was devastating to these crew members as well as their families; devastating but not surprising.

These are professional athletes that give 110% to their jobs. You wont see their faces on fans T-shirts or see them hop on a helicopter after the race with the drivers and team owners (they sit in race traffic by the way just like you). They dont live in the spotlight like the majority of the race competitors. They are, however, one of the most important parts of a race team, if not the most important. Their hours are long, the work is dangerous and on most race days victory depends on them.

Why, then, dont these athletes get more attention? Why arent they treated with the same respect as all the other race participants? Why arent crew members spouses issued hard cards (permanent pit passes) as drivers wives are? Why do the crews have to sit in race day traffic trying to get home while drivers and team owners take helicopters straight from the track? Why arent crew members salaries similar to the other race competitors? So much of racing now is dependent on sponsorship. Why hasnt a corporate sponsor realized what they could gain by putting these athletes in the spotlight? There is a long list of questions such as these. Nobody seems to have any answers.

The bottom line is that these men (and women) deserve more respect than they are getting. The work that pit crew members do is very dangerous and they sacrifice their free time to do it. They spend days each week away from their families and several hours each day practicing and training. They work seven days a week for ten months straight with only three weekends off each season. They are the hardest working people in the sport of racing and they are the most overlooked.

Pit crew members deserve the same respect and treatment as all the other competitors at the track. It is the goal of the National Association of Pit Crew Members to put these athletes in the spotlight and to continue to work on their behalf to get them the respect and attention that they so rightfully deserve.

The thoughts and prayers of the NAPCM are with the families and friends of the crew members injured in the line of duty on lap #111 of the Pennzoil 400 in Homestead, Florida.

- Cambria Laveck Padgett

[Editors Note: Cambria Laveck Padgett is the Director of Member Services for the National Association of Pit Crew Members. Her husband is Mark Padgett, jackman for the #33 Winston Cup Oakwood Homes Chevy. For more information on the National Association of Pit Crew Members, visit www.pitstops.org or call 828-242-0877.]

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