No. 48 Team Pit Crew Champs
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on May 17, 2012 | 10:00 P.M. EST
In a rematch of last year's finals, the No. 48 crew took the crown with a winning time of 22.239 seconds. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 My Lowe's team captured their first championship in the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge on Thursday night, ending the No. 11 FedEx team's winning streak at two.
In a rematch of last year's finals, the No. 48 crew consisting of TJ Ford (jack man), Brandon Harder (gas man), Dave Collins (front-tire changer), RJ Barnette (front-tire carrier), Calvin Teague (rear-tire changer) and Matt Tyrrell (rear-tire carrier) took the crown with a winning time of 22.239 seconds.
Johnson’s crew used penalty free rounds to defeat the teams of drivers Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth en route to the finals and the eventual $80,675 prize. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation also was presented with a donation of $9,169 from the NASCAR Foundation.
“It’s just a special night for them to get through all the rounds clean, all execute at their given positions to get the job done," Johnson said. "I’d say I was more nervous watching then I am coming down pit road in the car with the race on the line. I know how much this means to them and how hard they have been practicing for this.”
The victory gives the team, led by crew chief Chad Knaus, the first pit stall selection for Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race.
“That last pit stop is going to be important so where you are on pit road is going to make a difference, I really think,” Johnson said. “Especially, winning tonight and being in that first pit box. They have given us a great start to the weekend and now Chad and I have to go out and do our jobs.”
Hamlin’s team came up shy of scoring the three-peat with a time of 22.533 seconds.
The No. 31 Caterpillar Team, who won the event in 2009, lost to the No. 11 team in the quarterfinals, but saw two of their team members score individual awards. Front tire changer Tim Sheets and front tire carrier JD Holcomb set a new individual record of 13.615 seconds.
The No. 18 M&M’s crew also saw three of its members record individual records with rear tire changer Jake Seminara and rear tire carrier Kenny Barber posting a time of 13.073 seconds, and gas man Tom Lampe with a time of 8.610 seconds.
Jack man Jeff Kerr of the No. 5 Farmer’s Insurance team took home the final individual award. It was the third of his career and first since 2009.
"It was a lot of work that went into that 5.2 seconds," Kerr said. "It takes a lot of time and effort during the year and luckily it pays off. It's nice to get this win."