Former Crew Chief and Crew Member Robin Pemberton Attests to Importance of Crew Members
Martinsville, Va. (Oct. 20, 2010) — The 2010 TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 24 will celebrate the sports dedicated road warriors and pit crew members. For the first time in NASCAR history, TUMS® has designated all crew members as the Grand Marshals for the 500-lap event.
“NASCAR crew members are for all intents and purposes, the unsung heroes of our sport,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition for NASCAR. “The passion, effort and professionalism that they exhibit week in and week out are truly extraordinary. As a former crew member and crew chief, I can attest first hand just how vital this group is to the overall success of the race team.”
Each team pre-selected the crew member that represents and embodies the team spirit to give the command “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.” The final set of 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.
- LEE DODSON – No. 09 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet
Dodson began going to short-track races around his Courtland, Va. home when he was only three years old. His dad and uncles raced, and a decade later, Dodson helped turn wrenches on Mini-stocks, Late Models and Hooters Pro Cup cars. After completing high school, he graduated from the Bobby Isaac Motorsports program at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, N.C., and began his Sprint Cup career as a general mechanic with Wood Brothers Racing in 2005. He joined his present team, Phoenix Racing, in March of 2010.
“It’s very cool to be working in Sprint Cup,” Dodson says. “With our team, we don’t have a designated driver, so I get to work with several and I enjoy that. Since we are so short staffed, I get to learn more which is a good thing. I love setting up cars and working with suspensions. That’s what I like the most.”
- ERIC GROEN – No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
A native of Sioux Center, Iowa, Groen raced go-karts as a child while following NASCAR through newspapers, radio and TV. After high school, he chose a college that would allow him to be closer to NASCAR in hopes of working for a team. Groen graduated from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., with a degree in business and in 2004 found an opportunity to work as a general mechanic and tire carrier with the former Petty Enterprises. Groen did the same for Red Bull Racing before his present role as sponsor manager with Joey Logano and the Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Home Depot team. He is a liaison between team and sponsor during the week and works as a rear tire carrier for Kyle Busch during Nationwide races and does the same for Logano on Sprint Cup race day. �
“My background is on the mechanical side of things, so that’s a little more natural for me, but when I went to Gibbs, they had a position open on the office side,” Groen says. “My roles with the team are diverse. I enjoy doing both very much. Joe and J.D. Gibbs are upstanding guys and the leadership at Joe Gibbs Racing is the best I’ve seen in my career.”
- JONATHAN SALMONS – No. 38 Front Row Racing Ford
A native of Bassett, Va., Salmons moved from working as a mechanic at a local car dealership in 2004 to turning wrenches on Late Model stock cars with some hometown friends. A year later, he joined Craftsman Truck Series driver and team owner Bobby Dotter and moved on to Roush-Yates Engines in 2006. His first Sprint Cup opportunity came in 2010 with Front Row Racing and driver David Gilliland. The graduate of Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Va., presently tunes engines for the team and loves every minute of it.
“In Sprint Cup, you’re at the top level as far as NASCAR goes,” Salmons says. “You’re the best of the best and that means a lot. I started at the very bottom you might say, working on race cars and engines and have been able to work my way to the top. It’s an honor to be a part of NASCAR and a crew member in Sprint Cup.”
- JEREMY DYER – No. 99 Roush-Fenway Racing Ford
Saturday nights for Dyer always meant going to watch his family race around local short tracks in his native state of California. Throughout his life, he watched his grandfather, father and uncle, Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, work on and race the cars that sat in the family race shop. Over the years, Dyer followed the racing path and like his famous uncle, moved to the east coast to follow his passion as a NASCAR crewman. He steadily progressed through each of NASCAR’s premier divisions and now sets up race car chassis during the week and carries front tires for Carl Edwards’ No. 99 Roush-Fenway Racing Fords.
“There have been plenty of opportunities to learn in Camping World Trucks, Nationwide and Sprint Cup over the years,” Dyer says. “It’s really special to be able to turn a hobby into something where you can compete against your peers and have the ability to be considered one of the best in the world at what you do. That’s pretty awesome.”
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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