Thursday, May 15, 2008
Pit Crew Challenge Now Works For TV
Update: For those of you who just finished watching the Pit Crew Challenge on Thursday night, please tell us how you enjoyed the program in the comments section below.
Back in the mid-1990's the Pit Crew Championship was a mess. Held at Rockingham Motor Speedway, the competition took place before the Busch Series race on Saturday afternoon.
Believe it or not, the actual Cup Series primary cars were used and all of the drivers lined-up single file. It was then that the reality of just how long it was going to take to get all those cars through the pit stop sequence sunk-in. It quickly turned-into the 24 Hours of Rockingham.
Sunbelt Video from Charlotte, NC taped the whole thing in a big TV truck, and then post-produced the event into a finished television program a while later. Once all the cars and crews had gone through the line, the Busch Series teams filled the two pits used for the contest and the Busch race began. My, how things have changed.
The 2008 Pit Crew Challenge will be held on Thursday at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte at 7PM Eastern Time. There will be five rounds of side-by-side eliminations on a specially constructed set built by JHE Productions. SPEED will air the program at 9PM that same night as a two hour special.
There are competitions in individual skills as well as with the full pit crews. JHE, NASCAR and SPEED have combined to turn this into a great night for the normally under-the-radar crew members. With a big crowd expected, it should make for a very raucous atmosphere. It is absolutely true that family members make the most noise.
It will be Steve Byrnes hosting SPEED's coverage. He will be joined by two former crew chiefs, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond. The "pit" reporter will be Bob Dillner. There should be an interesting dynamic at work as many of the drivers and crew chiefs will be on-hand to root for their respective pit crews.
In today's tightly-controlled NASCAR environment, TV viewers do not get to see most of the stars out of their element. After a season of some high-profile whining about pit stops, the interaction between the drivers and the crews should be interesting to see play-out. Thursday night's intense atmosphere should be fun for all.
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