CHARLOTTE â€” An audience of wide-eyed fans squeezed between vintage race cars and watched the pit crew for driver David Reutimann change four tires in roughly 12 seconds Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
In a director’s chair nearby was the man most responsible for turning pit crewmembers into physically fit professional athletes whose lightning-fast service could make the difference in winning Sprint Cup races.
Ray Evernham, though, tried to deflect the credit.
“It’s not that I was innovative,” Evernham said after swapping tales about the evolution of the pit stop with fellow championship crew chiefs Dale Inman (Richard Petty, Terry Labonte) and Kirk Shelmerdine (Dale Earnhardt) and legendary car owner Leonard Wood (whose team is credited with inventing the pit stop). “A lot of people had dabbled but didn’t believe in it. We got everybody to believe in it and got it done.”