Pit Crew Challenge Heats Up

With 17 NEXTEL Cup races remaining in the 2006 season, the weekly Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge – one of the richest contingency programs in racing -- is shaping up to be a hotly contested competition among a number of leading pit crews.

Leading the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru standings in the NEXTEL Cup Series is the No. 48 Lowe's crew of Jimmie Johnson with four victories. Johnson's over-the-wall crew consists of: Chris Anderson (jackman), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Mike Trower (front-tire changer), Ron Malec (rear-tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Sean Kerlin (eighth-man).

Tony Stewart's and Kyle Busch's crews hold the second spot with three wins each. The crews of Elliott Sadler and Kevin Harvick are tied for third with two wins.

The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge focuses on the team element of the race that is integral to successful performances. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap and must spend the least amount of time on pit road.

A $10,500 prize is awarded each week to the NEXTEL Cup winner of the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge. An additional $105,000 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule during NEXTEL Cup Series Champions Week in New York City.

Last year, the Penske Racing crew for Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger, claimed the grand prize, posting the fastest total pit times in eight races during the 2006 season.

"The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is as exciting as ever heading into the second half of the season," said Richard S. Turer, Vice President of Marketing, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. "With so many teams vying for the lead, it's sure to be a battle as the season winds down. Checkers/Rally's is excited to bring the spotlight to the crewmembers – who make each team successful.

"Just like the crews at Checkers/Rally's restaurants across the country, these pit crews understand that success is earned everyday through speed, accuracy and performance. Whether running a winning restaurant or producing winners every week on the race track, the secret is having a great team in place," added Turer.

In 2006, the Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition was extended to the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series.

Johnny Sauter's No. 00 over-the-wall crew is dominating the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings in the NASCAR Busch Series with eight wins in the first 20 events.

David Reutimann's team has secured first place in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' pit crew competition by taking top honors at three events. Four teams are tied for second-place with two wins each: the crews of Rick Crawford, Joey Miller, Jack Sprague and Ron Hornaday Jr.


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