Friday, December 29, 2006

People add up quickly in NASCAR's numbers game

I was up in Mooresville this week and had about 30 minutes to kill before I was supposed to meet up with someone, so I rode down the road where Robert Yates Racing’s shop sits.
When you come into the business park, you go down a hill and then back up it and the shop’s on the left. As you start down the hill, you can see the shop pretty well. The closer I got to it, the more I was wondering if I was missing a big story.
The place was absolutely deserted. I looked like it USED to be the home of Robert Yates Racing. The deal, of course, is that for about the only time on the calendar NASCAR was shut down.
With Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on Mondays this year, just about every team in the sport is taking this week off. It’s absolutely well-deserved on all fronts, but it is just spooky to go to a NASCAR team’s shop on a weekday and not see it bustling with activity.
I’ve spent a big part of my time the past couple of weeks finishing up a book that’s going to be called “Half the Battle.” It’s an inside look at Jeff Burton’s team as it went through the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup, and thanks to Burton and all of the guys on his team I think it’s going to be turn out well.
To gather the information to write it, I spent as much time as I could during the season’s final weeks hanging around with the guys on the No. 31 team’s truck and listening to them on the radio as they went through practices and the races.
It’s one thing to know how much work goes into getting a competitive race car on the track each weekend, but it’s an entirely eye-opening experience to see that up close with a focus on one team.
Week after week, I came away amazed at just how much has to be done right and how much has to be dealt with for a team to enjoy any kind of success in the sport.
I walked away after Homestead with a renewed respect for what all of the people who work in the sport do. I was seeing it up close with one team, but it also made me understand that I could walk into any truck up and down the garage and have the same experience if I hung around long enough.
About 25 people, maybe a few more, directly have a hand in getting the No. 31 Chevrolet onto the track for Burton to drive it each week. There are probably that many more back at Richard Childress Racing who don’t necessarily work on preparing that car, but work to make all of RCR’s cars go faster.
And then there’s another entire group who work to make RCR, the company, run so that the cars have a chance to race.
It’s staggering to do that math and multiply it by 43 cars. Even with the crossover work done on multicar teams, hundreds and hundreds of people have a hand in making these cars go.
Hundreds more work in NASCAR, inspecting cars and officiating the races, and each track had another few hundred people working to provide the sport its venues.
Here’s hoping that all of those folks who make a contribution to NASCAR got spend this week with their families and friends, enjoying the little bit of time when the race shops and the race tracks aren’t humming with activity.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm excited you are writing a new book, and JB is a gr8 subject!

Happy 2007 and much success on Sirius!

Vroom!

Anonymous said...

My best wishes to you and yours this holiday season. Hope 2007 is a great year for your career.

Anonymous said...

Mr Poole,
I am new to your blog and would like to say a few things.(I would also like to admit that I am a bit compulsive and have spent several days reading your achives) 1.Thank you for adding to your duties to post bringing us fans that much closer to a sport we are extremly passionate about. 2. I do not understand why people give you a hard time when you vioce some of the down falls of your job. Who does not vent about their job. It doesn't mean that you aren't greatful for your job or that you don't like it, or that you are senille and don't remember choosing that profession. Venting does at times gives you the opportunity to recieve a little empathy for all that you DO. So yes as readers we should be there for you, as are friends are there for us! Reading some of the comments that you have gotten I'm impressed you still write. Greatful but impressed. I do enjoy your reading your stories and opinions, and glad that I found your blog during the off season so that I could catch up and not fall too far behind in my own duties. Please continue to post and happy new years to you and your family.

clemenson1 said...

It morning David, We lost the one guy yesterday who played the number game differently and in a different place.

RIP Bobby

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