A Pit Crew Member is part of a group of specialists that makes sure a race car is working in perfect condition during a race.
Each Crew Member is responsible for performing quick maintenance procedures that will help the racecar function efficiently and fast in order to win the race.
Because a racecar driver is trying to complete a race in first place, a Pit Crew that is efficient and speedy that works is of extreme importance.
Delegating specific functions to crew members ensures that the racecar is receiving full service under a matter of seconds.
In fact, the average stay at the pit stop station is approximately 15 seconds.
The following is a list of pit crew members that work together to achieve record time auto service:
- Crew chief
- Pit coach
- Gas person
- Jack operator
- Scorer and Spotter
- Windshield cleaner
- Tire Carrier, changer and catcher
Learn how to become a Pit Crew Member by reading the educational and training requirements listed below.
You will also find information regarding salary and wages, how to advance in the field and a general job description regarding some important Pit Crew Members.
Education Requirements to Become a Pit Crew Member
The educational requirements to become a Pit Crew Member depend on the specialty a candidate wants to focus on.
For professionals specializing in Mechanical Engineering, candidates must complete a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in that specialty.
Only a handful of university and college programs offer Mechanical Engineering courses specializing in the automotive profession.
Candidates who want to become a Pit Crew Member specializing as Mechanic are required to gain a complete understanding of auto engines, mechanical technology and transmission problems.
This knowledge can be gained through experience or by attending a vocational or technical school.
Under a mechanical program, students will learn racecar maintenance and repair work.
For all other position in a Pit Crew, candidates can also gain experience and an understanding of racecars by attending a vocational or technical school.
During a program, students should learn mechanical technology, mathematics, car engines and the technological equipment used to diagnose and test engines.
They must also know the basics regarding engine maintenance and repairs.
Pit Crew Member Job Description
The most popular professional racing organization is NASCAR; however there are a variety of competitive organizations.
A Pit Crew Member specializes in one maintenance and repair aspect during an auto race.
The Pit Crew’s main objective is to perform maintenance and repair as quickly as possible in order to not affect the driver’s completed track time.
The following are typical Pit Crew Members and their obligations during a race:
- Crew chief: Prepares and organizes for a race
- Pit coach: Manages, prepares and practices pit stops during and ahead of time
- Gas person: Measures how much fuel a racecar has and fills the tank according to measurements
- Jack operator: Uses the jack in order to change tires and look underneath
- Scorer and Spotter: Figures out the driver’s speed and lap time
- Mechanic: Assures engine, transmission, power train and tire alignment are appropriate
- Windshield cleaner: Cleans windshield to promote visibility
- Tire Carrier, changer and catcher: Provides replacement tires to tire changer and helps replace them
Pit Crew Member Salary and Career Path
The exact wage and salary for a Pit Crew Member will depend on the role they play in the group.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median wage for Installation, Maintenance and Repair workers was approximately $23,780 in 2008.
For higher level and more experienced, the median wage improved.
In 2008, the median wage for first line supervisors and mechanics was approximately $67,970 per year while the median wage for Auto Technicians and Mechanics was about $51,000 per year.
A Pit Crew Member who begins as a maintenance and repair worker can move up the ranks and eventually become a Mechanic or Supervisor.
Advancement in this career will depend heavily on making connections by networking and gaining experience.
Pit Crew Members who want to work for a professional organization, such as a team racing for NASCAR, their career can be affected by moving to Charlotte, North Carolina where the majority of team shops are located.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a pit crew member do?
A pit crew member is someone who is responsible for performing key maintenance checks and changes in a high-pressure environment.
When there is a scheduled pit stop during a competition when all the tires are replaced, the crew includes 5 members.
The car has to be fueled, jacked up in the air, and the tires have to be changed in no time.
In the industry every millisecond counts, that’s why every member of the pit crew has to be well-trained and ready to work in a stressful atmosphere.
There are a few different types of pit crew members – a jackman, a rear tire carrier, a rear tire changer, front tire carrier, a front tire changer, and a gas man.
How much do pit crew members make?
On average, a pit crew member can make a little more than $21.000 per year in the United States.
In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $18.000 and $29.000 annually.
The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the employer, and so on.
An entry-level pit crew member can earn around $9.00 per hour, while a top-level professional with plenty of experience can make $11.00 and more per hour.
How much does it cost to become a pit crew member?
There are no specific educational requirements to become a pit crew member.
But you would certainly need to have a background in automotive knowledge.
You can enroll in automotive repair courses in a community college, for example.
An online program can cost you around $750-$1.000.
There are some schools that offer specific pit crew member training programs; the technical programs at NASCAR Technical Institute cost a little more than $32.000 for one academic year.
What is the demand for pit crew members?
Between 2016 and 2026, the automotive service technician and mechanic (pit crew members included) job markets are expected to grow by 6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That is close to the national average for all occupations in the United States.
Bear in mind that the competition for the job is extremely high.
The industry is mainly concentrated in Charlotte, N.C.
Not so long ago, NASCAR decided to reduce the number of pit crew members from 6 to 5; so, there are even fewer positions available nowadays.
How long does it take to become a pit crew member?
There are plenty of different automotive repair courses available both online and offline; some of them may take you a year to complete.
After that, you would want to get enrolled in one of the schools across the US that offers professional pit crew training.
The Pit Crew U courses, for example, will take you 8 weeks; while the NASCAR Technician Training Program lasts for 15 weeks.
Bear in mind that you should also be physically fit, in order to get employed in this industry.