Ty Gibbs still has work to do to qualify for Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, but Gibbs’ pit crew on Friday put Gibbs in prime position to finish the job. Gibbs’ No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota crew posted a 13.012-second, four-tire pit stop to win the NASCAR Pit Crew Challenge presented by Mechanix Wear, as part of All-Star Friday presented by Raymer Oil Company.
Winning the revived pit crew showcase – which was a staple of NASCAR in the 1980s and 1990s – gives Gibbs’ pit crew a $100,000 bonus, and it locks Gibbs into pole position for Sunday’s 100-lap All-Star Open. The top two finishers from the 16-car Open field, plus the Fan Vote winner, earn berths into Sunday night’s NASCAR All-Star Race.
Daniel Suarez’ No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Chevrolet crew were the best of the All-Stars, finishing second in the challenge with a 13.297-second, four-tire pit stop. Chris Buescher’s No. 17 RFK Racing Ford team were third – giving Suarez and Buescher the pole for Saturday night’s 60-lap All-Star Heat races, which set the starting grid for the All-Star Race.
The Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet-powered pit crews of Chase Elliott and Josh Berry completed the top five. As the second-fastest team not locked into the All-Star Race, Berry clinched the outside pole for the Open.
TY GIBBS, NO. 54 JOE GIBBS RACING TOYOTA (WINNING DRIVER): “It’s definitely really cool. It’d be a little bit nicer if it locked us into Sunday. It helps us get a good shot to race our way in and go for a million bucks. I think (Sunday’s Open) just is what it is. I look at it as another race. Just keep your head down and be consistent. It’s definitely really cool (to be back and riding up the elevator as the winner). Seeing this place all fixed up and driving on it – the asphalt’s pretty similar to Hickory (Motor Speedway in Newton, North Carolina). It’s really cool to be racing here. I think the pit crew deserves (the Pit Crew Challenge win). This is their victory lane.”
CHRIS GABEHART, NO. 54 JOE GIBBS RACING TOYOTA (WINNING CREW CHIEF): “We see the ins and outs of these guys every week. We’ve had some hits and misses this year, but we’ve stuck it out together and we realize that we have their back, and they have ours. … I focus on the pit crew, and this is totally about the pit crew. I’m just happy for these guys.”
BRIAN HAALAND, JOE GIBBS RACING PIT CREW COACH: “It’s nice that (the crew) were able to perform in a really intense environment against their fastest peers. It was a complete team effort today. We put in an awful lot of work on the choreography and when it hits, there’s an absolutely perfect pit stop. I think we had to take a look in the mirror and say, “Fundamentally, we’re not where we should be,” and so doing these traditional pit stops helps us get back to where we need to be again. … Where we were tonight is where we want to be with every pit stop.”
Tickets to this weekend’s action can be purchased online at www.northwilkesborospeedway.com.
Speedway Motorsports PR