Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell Values the Crews’ Contributions
Martinsville, Va. (Oct. 4, 2010) — On Oct. 24 at Martinsville Speedway, Clay Campbell, track president, will join TUMS® in recognizing the dedicated road warriors and pit crew members as the Grand Marshals for the TUMS Fast Relief 500.
“The crews are the backbone of our sport and all-to-often they go overlooked,” said Campbell. “The drivers get the glory, but the teams make our world go round. Without these hard-working folks, we wouldn’t be here. A race car can’t run if it isn’t prepared and I don’t care how good a driver is, all that skill is useless without the team that surrounds him.
“I drive a race car at weekly tracks and I know firsthand how important my crew is. I wouldn’t move an inch without them and that’s the way it is in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. That’s why I’m so honored that Martinsville Speedway can be part of this program to help get all of the team members some recognition.”
Each team pre-selected the crew member that best represents and embodies the team spirit to give the command “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.” The third set of eight grand marshals, listed in no particular order, is outlined below and highlights the invaluable role they play within the team environment and their passion for racing.
- STEVE CHANNING – No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Channing drove Mini Modifieds in his teenage years on tracks around his Seekonk, Mass., home, but like so many racers, struggled to keep his fledgling race team afloat. A move to North Carolina in the mid-1990s and a recommendation from a friend helped land him jobs with drivers Rick Mast and Bill Elliott at the controls. Today, Channing’s role as car chief for driver David Reutimann keeps him busy with every detail pertaining to the team’s racing machines.
“I make changes to the car that crew chief Rodney Childers may want during the race weekend,” Channing says. “I go with the car during inspection to make sure everything is good there. I’d say the most nerve-wracking time is between practice and qualifying.”
- TIM SPARKMAN – No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
When Sparkman’s grandparents owned and operated St. Mary’s Speedway in St. Genevieve. Mo., the teenager had plenty of access to race cars and the tools needed to make them go fast. While there, he had access to Late Model and ASA machines that offered a perfect place to learn. A move to North Carolina in 1998 paid off when he met NASCAR driver Ken Schrader and went to work. More opportunities followed over the years, and today, he serves as a shock specialist at Joe Gibbs Racing.
“I love the competition, that’s for sure,” Sparkman says. “This will be my last year on the road so I can be a little more of a dad at home. But I’ll be doing something at the shop for team owners Joe and J.D. Gibbs.”
- DAVID DOYLE – No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge
Decades past his childhood, Doyle remembers sitting behind the wheel of his dad’s race car playing with the steering wheel, pedals and shifter. He would often pretend he was on the track fighting for position just like the champion driver, mentor and hero he admired. Doyle eventually followed in his father’s footsteps as a racer, but the high costs of fielding a team sent his career in a different direction. Today, Doyle helps prepare each of the No. 12 machines Penske Racing brings to the track to make sure they are race ready.
“Being competitive is what it’s all about for me,” Doyle says. “You have to have competition in your blood to be able to do this seven days a week.”
- ADAM GRAVITT – No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Instead of being involved in neighborhood football games as a child, Gravitt spent his time working at nearby South Boston (Va.) Speedway and Orange County (N.C.) Speedway just to be around the cars. He kept watching and learning the tricks of the trade before completing a degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech. Today, Gravitti works as a shock specialist for the team.
“I love what I do,” Gravitt says. “There’s a lot of travel, but as far as the competition goes, that’s what makes it all worth while.”
- MARK WILLIAMS – No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
After working on dirt Late Models and spending a decade operating his own trucking business, Williams began driving transporters for Richard Childress Racing when an extra driver was needed for trips to the West Coast for Sprint Cup events. The assignments increased for the native of Martinsville, Va., to the point that he is now a full-time driver for the team. While at the track, his duties include unloading tool boxes, getting the car unloaded and ready for initial service by the crew, setting up the garage stalls and taking care of all the mechanical components on the transporter.
“Driving the truck is a very small part of it,” Williams says. “But I drive all over the country and meet a lot of people who would love to do what I do.”
- SCOTT BREWER – No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
The son of well-known former crew chief and present-day television broadcaster Tim Brewer, Brewer grew up in the sport and spent several years driving Legend cars and Late Models before turning his attention to obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering. Brewer grew up going to races almost every weekend and decided to build a career in the sport like his famous father. He now maintains cars for the teams, handles water duties and windshield tear-offs during pit stops.
“Racing was always a part of my life,” Brewer says. “My dad realized I was going to get into racing. I’ve been with RCR since 2005, and I’m very happy to be a part of this team.”
- ALAN HOWARD – No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford
A native of Covington, Va., Howard didn’t set out to become a crew member for a Sprint Cup team. His career with a major US airline was going well when he and NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield became friends in the late 1990s. More and more visits to Mayfield’s Michael Kranefuss Racing shop set the foundation for becoming a full-time crew member. When Howard’s job with the air carrier was eliminated, he found his new calling in NASCAR. Today, Howard works as shock specialist and mentor for many of the younger members of the team.
“I guess the way I came into NASCAR was a different way to get into racing,” Howard says. “I enjoy the travel and meeting people and doing different things.”
- RYAN QUANN – No. 42 Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
With parents having connections to NASCAR and serving the sport in various roles, Quann has been around stock car racing his entire life. The graduate of the Bobby Isaac Motorsports program at Catawba County Community College in Hickory, N.C., took his chassis-building skills to the Sprint Cup team owned by Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. Through a friend, the avid golfer and snowboarder received an invitation to work for the organization and presently helps the team in various capacities.
“I’m in the composite-component shop building carbon-fiber parts for the cars,” Quann says. “On Sundays, I work in a pit support role. I was in the right place at the right time when I started with this team, and I love being here.”
The TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway is the sixth of 10 races that will determine the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion. Tickets to the TUMS Fast Relief 500 now are on sale. For more information, call 877.722.3849 or visit www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
For more information on TUMS, visit www.TUMS.com.
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