I arrived at the track around noon on Saturday and you could tell it was going to be a hot one. The Miller Lite water cooler was being raided frequently not only by our crew but many of the neighboring ones as well. Today our goal was to test the quality of the small video camera and shoot some interviews with the over the wall guys. Last year I didn’t really have the opportunity to talk to them because they only fly in on race day and are usually quite busy. The long day before the race provided a perfect opportunity to catch them this time around.
My Miller Lite boss and I headed out to pit road where the crew was setting up the pit box. We did an on camera interview with Travis, the newest member of the Miller Lite pit crew. He is the rear tire changer and joined the team last July. He told us about his schedule and the try out process at Penske as well as how he preps for pit stops. We also got some great information from Larry, the rear tire carrier on little tricks they use on the tires to help them during the pit stops. We did another video with Dave, the front tire carrier and the senior member on the crew. He has been on the #2 pit crew for 7 years! He had lots of insights and gave us a tour of the pit box.
Afterwards, we headed back to the garage and caught up with the crew working on the car. I got a few more details and they let me take some pics that I had not had before like the chassis number on the inside roll bar.
While hanging out by the Miller Lite Hauler I also was finally formally introduced to Eva, Kurt’s wife. She was very nice and we have a love of horses in common. I enjoyed hearing about her riding exploits and the story of how she met Kurt. For those of you who don’t know…Kurt’s friends, who set them up, told her he was a veterinarian. (Too funny!) So she was telling him all about her cats and horses and he was looking at her with a blank face (and he admitted he was pretty worried about how he was going to get outta that one). They were in a bar and his face came on the TV and his bluff was up. I asked if she was mad at them for lying to her and she laughed and said she was sorta bummed he wasn’t really a vet!
The pre-race activities seemed to last forever and now I know why…I wasn’t anywhere near a TV with sound so didn’t hear about the delay from the baseball game until later. Felt bad for the crews in the fire suits, they were sweating bullets by then.
We knew the Miller Lite team had a lot to overcome as they were first too loose and then too tight. Seemed most of the teams were struggling with the right front suspension and tires, and the #2 was no different. Kurt passed a ton of cars on the track and used pit strategy to get all the way up to 3rd but really had a 20-something place car all night. Still a huge improvement from 39th! The team is working very, very hard to figure out the car and I am confident they will soon.
I hope to get hot passes for Sonoma so look for some more insider reports from the garages there! Thanks for reading!