Success at the gym translates to wins for Wayne Taylor Racing Team
For all the rough, rip-roaring elements of racing, it flows like a delicate symphony when all of the working parts fit together just right. While the drivers get most of the credit for a team's success, it's the pit crew that can make or break a win. We take a special look at how one crew gained the competitive edge.
The Wayne Taylor Racing Team saw an opportunity and they seized it, sending their pit crew to the gym to get pit fit. It's a rigorous routine that's paying off in wins. I went through the paces with them for this inside look!
They're often the unsung heroes toiling away in the background to keep the tires fresh, the car fueled and the driver out in front of the competition.
For the pit crew, none of this comes easy. But the Wayne Taylor Racing Team makes it look easy registering some of the fastest pit changes on the circuit this year. They're doing it thanks to the gym. Driving this crew to pit fit is Kristine Grohnke, their personal trainer.
"Really just to try to push them to the limit. It's that mental toughness part. If you can push to that, then you can do anything," said Grohnke.
"I want your legs quivering so bad, they're about to give out under you," Grohnke barked at the crew.
The workout consists of intense circuit training that works the entire body. It only lasts an hour and I can tell you there's no blowing anything off in here.
"I struggle a little bit, pretty sore," said Adam Banet, pit crew member.
"I don't know if you can tell it or not, I'm the oldest one in the group, but to be able to keep up with these youngsters makes me feel pretty good...even though it's going to kill me soon," said Bill Mullen, pit crew member.
"Good! I like it. It definitely builds confidence. I feel better about myself so that's good," said Sean Hopper, pit crew member.
Confidence and physical fitness aside, this workout is doing something even more important.
"It's also improved us as a team. Like, right now, we're waiting on one person to be done so we rely heavily on each other," said Travis Houge, Pit Crew Chief.
"Really get that butt down and drive through with those legs," barked Grohnke.
"It's excellent. It shows all of the hard work really pays off in the end, it makes the pain and sweat and me dying like this all worth it," said Chris Bennett, pit crew member.
And pit changes are where that workout gets put to good use. The speed, the strength, the teamwork all together as one.
During this pit practice, Grohnke even jumps in on the action too, getting a little workout of her own from the crew.
"It was pretty crazy. I didn't expect anything like that. I figured this little drill would be a lot easier. You have to actually have a lot of strength to hold it still. The tires - I didn't realize weighed that much," said Grohnke.
It's information she can use to better taylor their workouts. But, for now, the routine is working.
"I think it really helps people with injury prevention," said Jon Fricker, pit crew member.
Good health and good speed is what this team wants to keep them on the championship run.
"The proof's in the time, the proof's in the races. We've won races because of our pit stops. We've passed a lot of cars in pit lane," said Houge.
It's clearly paying off. Wayne Taylor Racing won the Grand Prix pole Thursday. Jordan Taylor drove Wayne Taylor Racing's No. 10 car to the pole in Thursday's qualifying. The team is owned by Taylor's father.
Watch Eyewitness News coverage of Brickyard 400 action from 5:00 am to noon Sunday, July 28th on WTHR Channel 13.