Understatement of the Century

8 Jun

Here it is: “NASCAR teams come well-prepared.”

This past weekend at Kansas Speedway, I took a tour of Jeff Burton’s No. 31 team hauler. I had never been in one of these monstrous vehicles before, so suffice it to say I was impressed. The gentleman who showed me around opened cabinet after cabinet of car parts and pieces, all labeled and organized. Stunned, I commented jokingly, “So basically you’ve got spare parts to build a whole other car here.”

Sliding back a portion of the ceiling, he responded, “Well, there’s actually that too.” Above our heads was a whole car, the backup that the team brings along to each track in case something goes awry with the main one prior to the pre-race inspection.

One of the more interesting pieces I learned of was the shock dyno. The team could build and test out the suspension components right there in the trailer, on a fairly small, innocuous-looking piece of machinery. I was told they had a spare engine tucked away somewhere too, and up around the corner was a lounge equipped with TVs and computers so the crew chief and engineers could strategize together.

The team’s public relations lady – who was a little busy since the news was just breaking about team owner Richard Childress punching driver Kyle Busch – summed nicely the whole setup.

“It’s basically like the office on wheels,” she said. “Anything the guys need to fix the car, replace parts on the car, there’s everything on here.”


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