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Top Ten: Tricky NASCAR Pitroads

Few people understand the challenges behind pitting a NASCAR car. Our crews are specialized and speedy when it comes to changing tires, adding fuel, and making adjustments to the cars. If a 3,400-pound racecar barreling at you on pit road wasn’t tricky enough, our crews face unique challenges presented by the pit road configuration at each speedway. Remember, these people are skilled athletes who practice nearly every day to develop habits and techniques. When races are won and lost on pit road by tenths of a second, even the slightest change to the rhythm of a stop can have adverse effects.

So what are the 10 trickiest NASCAR pit roads? We asked our crew members just that. Let’s start with No.10 and see what they said:
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Meet Kenny Sapper: Rear Suspension Tech

Would you believe that a baking pan and a block of ice are two important tools used to work on NASCAR racecars? It’s true; just ask Kenny Sapper, the technician in charge of rear suspensions at Joe Gibbs Racing. Specifically, Kenny works on the rear-end housings that go into our Sprint Cup cars. He has been a team member for about 6 years and has celebrated 50 victories with JGR (at the time this article was written).
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Top-5 JGR Finishes of 2010

#5 – Bristol Sweep

Kyle Busch capped off an historic weekend by winning the Truck, Nationwide, and Cup Series races at one of the most challenging tracks on the circuit — Bristol Motor Speedway. None of the wins came easily as Kyle had to overcome spins and tough competition en route to the exciting sweep. Watch the final laps of the Cup race:

#4 – First Phoenix (Nationwide)

After dominating the race, Kyle Busch was the recipient of a controversial black flag for jumping a restart. He and his team fought back from mid-pack and restarted in 9th with 8 laps to go. Most of the cars in front of him were on old tires, making them sitting ducks for the No. 18. Watch the final laps of this exciting race as Kyle goes from 9th to 2nd in 3 laps before passing the 22 car for the win! Watch the orange 18 closely — even the broadcasters missed this awesome charge!

#3 – Texas Chase Win

Admist one of the most competitive Championship battles in NASCAR history, Denny Hamlin started turning up the heat on the competition at Texas. He lead throughout the entire race before a late-race restart put a win in doubt. A precise crossover move made this impressive win all the more spectacular. Watch and enjoy:

#2 – First, Second, Fourth, for JGR!

When you think of Richmond, you think of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. However, it was in this race that sophomore Joey Logano began his late-season charge, propelling himself to 16th in the points by the time the Homestead race was over. Watch the final laps as Denny and Kyle battle for the win, and Joey comes home fourth:

#1 – Pit Call Pays Off at Martinsville

Watching this race unfold brought about every range of emotions for JGR team members and fans. A sure win was put in question when a gutsy pit call by Mike Ford and Dave Rogers brought Denny and Kyle to pit road alone. All seemed to be lost considering the number of cars they would have to pass with so few laps remaining. Bad fortune struck the No.18 when he was pushed out of line and then spun, damaging his Snickers Toyota. However, Kyle misfortune was Denny’s and Joey’s good fortune. The wreck meant a final green-white-checkered restart which would give our two cars a final chance. Coming to the white flag Matt Kenseth overdrove the turn, clearing a path for Denny and Joey who would go on to finish 1-2! Watch the best finish of the year:

Thanks for following us in 2010! We look forward to more exciting moments for JGR in 2011.