Name: Patricia “Patty” Wilkins
Location/Hometown: Martinsville/Horsepasture, VA
Current Occupation: Unemployed
Future Goals: To help others via Social Media since I’m stuck at Home.
Hobbies: Fishing, Shooting/Target Practicing, Racing, Collecting Racing & Gun Memorabilia
Favorites: Country Music, Kid Rock, Pizza & Being Myself (when I can)!
Pets: None now. “Just My Lil Friend”
Race Day Rituals: Shower, pick out a race tee, dress & prepare food/grill.
What she would like to see the TMSFanCrew try to make happen for all of it’s awesome Members: I would like for us all to be able to meet one another as well as all TMS Employees/Drivers. I’m excited to just be a part of this history in the making.
Your favorite teams and/or drivers: Hendrick Motor Sports! Jeff Gordon is my Fave., Kevin Harvick, Darrell Waltrip before that.
NNS: James Buescher/Turner Motorsports Drivers
NCWTS: Timothy Peters/Turner Motorsports Drivers
(Like almost all drivers except the Buschs)
Her “dream team” – any mix of four drivers from any era and why: Dale Earnhardt, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, & Richard Petty. Because of their uniqueness & abilities to drive the wheels off a Race Car!
Name any NASCAR team player/employee that you are fond of and why: Chad Knaus because of his sheer brilliance!
What she feels have been the most memorable moments in NASCAR history? Adding lights for night races, DW winning at Daytona & dancing in Victory Lane, Jeff Gordon winning his first race in Charlotte, NC (on My Daddy’s Bday) 5/29/94, Richard Petty winning 7 Championships, Jimmie Johnson winning his 5th Championship & Sadly, Dale Earnhardt Sr’s death!
What she would like to see occur in the future of NASCAR? Some changes so the cars aren’t so “bunched up”, dont really care for the “two car tandum”, but keep it all within certain limits. Run what ya got as long as it passes inspection is my preference!
Tell us what races you have been to and when: Martinsville numerous times since the 1970’s, Richmond 2009, 2010, Bristol for debut of car of tomorrow, 2007. Charlotte twice in 80’s, a few times in 90’s, 2010, 2011 & 2012.
What track/race would YOU like to attend a TMSFanCrew meet-up at? Martinsville Speedway
Tell us something about you that is randomly unrelated to this questionnaire: TIE!! I was an EMT for 5 years with the Bassett Volunteer Rescue Squad. FIRST female on the Bassett Volunteer Junior Rescue Squad & I used to race my Daddy’s 1987 Chevy IROC-Z28 Camaro when I was in High School. It had an LT-1..hehe Won quite a few bucks.
Tell us one thing you take special pride in sharing: The fact that you need to love each other Unconditionally & EVERYBODY NEEDS SOMEBODY! Family & friends are all you have in the end. Don’t take them for granted, a lot of people have NONE and ALWAYS BE YOUR SELF!
Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty, Darrell Waltrip, and Jimmy Spencer to name a few, are the former drivers who are some of the best known commentators in our sport. Heck, they even have Carl Edwards joining in the booth on occasion already. We all have our specific favorites, and of course, some we don’t enjoy as much. Their personalities are as varied as we are as people, and as race fans. These guys know driving. They know speed; they know what it feels like out there on that 31-degree banking, controlling all of that horsepower under all of those mph’s and under all of that pressure.
Across the board, we can all agree that if they weren’t drivers, well, how great could they be on commentating something as passionate and red-zone pumped as NASCAR?
Driving, however, is only a portion of the sport. Many fans and officials alike tend to forget that there is a whole crew of athletes who are crucial components of the team. This leads me to ask: How awesome would it be to have a pit road commentator? Someone who knows the adrenaline rush that screams through their veins every time they are about to execute a hopefully flawless pit stop in just mere seconds on the clock. Someone who knows the butterflies that come with knowing that if they have one small fraction of a slip in hand, foot, or body, that they can cost the entire team a win. Would it not be enlightening and fun to have a commentator like that?
Kyle Turner, pit road athlete who currently is a front tire changer on Turner Motorsports’ very own #31 NNS team and mechanic on the MWR #56 Cup team, would love to someday be that addition to our sport’s media.
“I would love to do something like the in-race reporters, because, they’re all really good at talking, but none of them have done what we do. I catch it a lot, you know, when I go back and watch the race to review pit stops, and they get it wrong a lot.” Kyle states. Aside from that, Kyle just loves talking to people and engaging fans. “That’s the reason I love twitter. It’s like texting all these different people all the time.”
Kyle is currently a student also. He’s majoring in communications and says media is something he has just always wanted to do. So how did he end up on pit road if media is his thing? I knew you’d ask, so I made sure he told!
“Growing up I didn’t even like racing. I used to give my uncle a hard time because he would sit and watch the Daytona 500 for, you know, like three hours at a time. That made absolutely no sense to me.” Later on, when Kyle started growing facial hair and got into high school, he started taking an interest in mechanics in auto shop class. Which, eventually led to him conceding to keeping an eye on the track. Then, for his 18th birthday, Kyle attended his first race at RIR. He was hooked. To this day, RIR is still his favorite track.
From that point he just decided to do it. He went straight to North Carolina and started at the NASCAR Tech school, and the infamous “five off - five on” pit crew school in Mooresville. He was one of the few fortunate ones who got his first job through the school, being that placement is so limited. “That’s really how a lot of my career has been. The right place at the right time, and a lot of devine intervention.” After school, Kyle began working with Everham Motorsports in 2004. Beginning as a part-timer in the gear room observing, it was there that he learned a great deal about attention to detail in the gears and transmissions arena. His first tire changing spot came shortly after, on the #6 in the NNS series, which at that time was an Everham Motorsports car.
About eight or nine weeks into being on the #6 team, they were headed to Darlington when a tire changer for the #9 cup car, driven by Kasey Kahne, didn’t show up. They pulled Kyle into that spot, and they ended up winning the following week in Richmond; which lead to them being in the pit crew competition. They won that competition. Kyle looks back at that time in his career, saying “So here I was thinking ‘Oh this isn’t as hard as people make it out to be.’ But, I had no idea. There were plenty of down times and years of doubt after that.”
During Kyle’s run with the #9 team he enjoyed six wins. In 2007 he was nearing the end of his contract, and he was getting restless. He wanted to work with a team that was in serious contention for a Championship. So where did he go next? Right on over to Joe Gibbs Racing, where he began his stint as a rear tire changer for Tony Stewart’s #20 Home Depot car. He enjoyed that time quite a bit, and when Stewart left JGR to start up SHR, Kyle was ready to move on himself. “I loved Gibbs. It is a great place to work, but with a changing of the guard I just didn’t feel like there was a place for me anymore, so I left and went to Hendrick. That’s when I got moved to the front (tire changer). I was with Mark Martin that year and we won five races that season.” ….anyone else wondering where those down times he mentioned are in this awesome career story?
Well, the following year they didn’t do so well. Kyle says “We just couldn’t seem to get out of our own way.” So, after that, he went on to RCR to work with the #29 of Harvick. Just a couple of races into this particular move, he felt he had made a big mistake. Let’s just say he didn’t gel with certain dynamics of the #29 team and leave it there. He stayed as long as he could, which wasn’t long due to an ankle injury he acquired. He was released from RCR in November 2011. There entered some struggle. As you can see, for a few years there Kyle had an outstanding resume. With 17 or 18 Cup wins and two Pit Crew Champ wins, his reputation preceded him. He never had to struggle for employment. However, once he was injured and RCR released him, things changed.
“For months, no one would return my calls, and everyone seemed to forget who I was. That’s when I say that devine intervention comes in.” Over at Michael Waltrip Racing, Greg Miller is the coach who just so happened to be the same one who gave Kyle his start at the beginning of his career. He was ecstatic that Kyle was on the market. MWR has a unique dynamic in which they have four pit crew/road crew team, and only three Cup cars. That way, in the event that someone gets pulled or injured, there are primed and ready men to jump right into their place. They keep this back-up team in said prime conditioning by contract with Turner Motorsport’s in which they pit for different NNS/CWTS teams. This is how he ended up on our #31 team. A team that he speaks very fondly
of. “On most teams the guys get along ok, like a brotherhood. But it’s mostly divided. You got your pit crew and your road team. But the Brandt racing team, it’s just awesome. Everyone gels, everyone gets along. From the road team, to the pit crew, all the way to Brandt himself. Everyone is so involved. It’s like a family.”
Kyle is very content in his career at this point. He enjoys MWR, and even shared on Slicks & Sticks radio show last night that Mikey Waltrip is just as fun loving and goofy day to day as he is while in the limelight. Speaking of Slicks & Sticks, it is an internet radio show of SportRantz.com - hosted partially by Kristina Chamber, TMSFan#211, where the hot topics are anything racing and hockey. Kyle was the special guest on last night’s show, something he thoroughly enjoyed because of his love for talking with folks and his interest in media. There is even talk of him joining the show as a guest co-host at times in the future. Stay tuned! The show airs Monday nights from 8pm-10pm.
Let’s get back to this media thing. Allow me to graph a concept for you all for a moment. When we launched the TMSFanCrew back in April, one of our long term goals we laid out was to put the spotlight on the word TEAM. We shared visions and goals of emphasizing how important each member is of a racing team. In a sport that’s fan base is 95% driver owned, our goal seemed daunting to most. Alas, us of the TMSFanCrew are big dreamers with big ambitions. We have only just begun our campaign of maximizing the team concept; but look at what we have here. What Kyle Turner wants to do with in-race reporting can play a huge step in that. These pit crew members deserve tons more recognition than they get. As do many other key players on a race team. I’m excited to see how this plays out in the future!
You all can help by remaining supportive of the entire TMS team, as well as Kyle himself. Kyle loves to see our tweets awaiting him after the races each week. He loves what the TMSFanCrew stands for, and appreciates not only us supporting him, but race fans in general. He recognizes that the fans fuel the sport, and is very verbal about it. As a fun twist to this story, I’d like to add that we have declared this week to be Kyle Turner week. A concept that started off as a light-hearted joke that I happened to make when I learned that he would star on the radio show during the same week this article was due out, has spread like wildfire and even was caught trending last night during Kyle’s appearance on Slicks & Sticks. Chuck Efaw, another pit road face and guest on last night’s show, even said that he would get to work on some decals that had the week dates under a hash tagged “Kyle Turner Week”! Mr. Efaw just recently opened a business in Mooresville called Mooreseville Sign, but, we will tell his story another time.
On behalf of the TMSFanCrew, I’d like to thank Kyle for spending time with me on during the interview process, and for his mounds of patience while waiting for me to complete this article. We appreciate the engagement a great deal, don’t we?
Selena Luci ~ Crew Chief of Crew News
Kyle Turner - @ksturner84
Kristina Chamber - @kchamber2121
SportsRantz - @sportsrantz
Chuck Efaw - @cefaw0922
Mooresville Sign - @MooresvilleSign
Name: Brandon Lawson
Hometown: Tallahassee FL
Occupation: McDonald’s/College Student
Hobbies: NASCAR, watching college football and hanging with friends
Pets: Two Husky’s (Panda and Sky)
Favorite music: Classic Rock (REO, Creedance, etc.)
Favorite Food: Baby Back Ribs (when done right)
Race day Traditions: Every week I watch the race with my dad, it has been our tradition for about 5 years now.
Brandon’s favorite drivers are:
Cup: Dale Jr (Whole Hendrick Team)
NNS: James Buescher (Whole Turner Team)
Truck: James Buescher J
ARCA: Ryan Blaney
If Brandon could pick a “dream team” with any mix of (4) drivers from any era, this would be his dream team and why:
1) Dale Earnhardt, no explanation needed
2) James Buescher, the future of NASCAR
3) Jimmie Johnson, ole’ 5-time
4) Dale Earnhardt Jr., just because
If you ask Brandon to share what the most memorable or greatest moment in NASCAR history for him was:
The most memorable moment for me, and my father, was sharing the Dale Jr win at Michigan this year on Father’s day. It is something my Dad and I can remember forever.
Brandon’s NASCAR race attendance:
The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, back in July of this year, was my first race, and man was it awesome.
What attracted Brandon to the TMSFanCrew:
The ability to interact with a NASCAR team and its fans in an unprecedented way. TMSFanCrew has changed the dynamics of interacting with your favorite drivers and teams. I, for one, am proud to TMSFan#16.
Have you become involved in the TMSFanCrew? How?
I have done a couple of the live chats. I hope to become more involved once I graduate college next spring and have a little more free time.
A randomly unrelated fact about Brandon:
I like to collect silver, as well as foreign currencies and old currency.
Brandon takes special pride in sharing:
I take pride in sharing my love for all sports NASCAR, NCAA, NBA, NFL, etc. Any sport, any time, will please me! I also take pride in the fact that I have a great father who raised me right; I hope one day I become half the man he is.
SPOTLIGHT ON TMSFan#12 (above right):
Our Group Outreach Crew Chief!!!
Member Spotlight Questionnaire
Name: Holly Snyder
Location/Hometown: Missouri for now.. from Connecticut
Wife and TMSFanCrew Crew Chief; Outreach Crew
To be working with the TMSFanCrew forever!!!
Shopping and lunch out with the girls, mani pedi’s, massages..
I love Rap and Heavy Metal music.. occasionally I listen to Opera and Frank Sinatra
Love my doggies.. My soul mate dog, Bubby, a huge yellow lab passed two years ago.. RIP Bubby..
Race Day Rituals:
Getting all my cleaning and cooking done early, so we are free to sit and watch the race!!
What would you like to see the TMSFanCrew make happen for all of it’s awesome Members?
That we all get as involved with this team as we can, and enjoy the social interacting and just have fun!!
Your favorite teams and/or drivers:
Ok, y’all know that my favorite driver is Dale Earnhardt Jr. I used to be very one sided & only cheered for Dale Jr or Kevin Harvick. But, since starting this TMSFanCrew with the wonderful folks I am now lifetime friends with, I love ALL drivers!
Your “dream team” – any mix of four drivers from any era and why:
Not sure, I don’t analyze drivers ability. I like them for different reasons, it would have to include the Dales. I Love Mikey Waltrip too, so not really sure, will leave that up to the experts..
Name any NASCAR team player/employee that you are fond of and why:
Ted and Merrily Bullard! They are the sweetest, nicest couple with great values and SO generous to let us all be so close to the action. Our Golden Couple!
What do you feel have been the most memorable moments in NASCAR history?
Of course, Dale Sr winning the Daytona 500, and then his death. I cried for a week!
What would you like to see occur in the future of NASCAR?
Dale Jr to win a bunch of championships!
Tell us what races you have been to and when:
NONE YET!! Hoping to attend the Charlotte race in October.
***Thank you for your time, Holly! We appreciate everything you do for the TMSFanCrew***
What track/race would YOU like to attend a TMSFanCrew meet-up at? Any that works for you guys!! Not picky, just don’t know too much about the tracks!! Want folks to let me know about Charlotte before we go!
Tell us something about you that is randomly unrelated to this questionnaire: I am a princess..heehee
Tell us one thing you take special pride in sharing: I have four Grandchildren, 3 girls and 1 boy!! I love food and cooking! I am the best Italian cook around!!
Recently I was fortunate enough to attend the Super Weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My first time visiting Indy – I recommend every fan put this track on their bucket list. It is awesome to see the pagoda and the yard of bricks!
Check out my Facebook page for all of my pictures from the weekend, and congratulations to Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson for taking the checkers.
Two of the Turner Motorsports drivers stopped by the Team Chevy stage for a Q&A, below are some of the highlights of their visit:
Justin Allgaier at the Team Chevy Stage
• Justin revealed to the crowd that he likes to bake because he loves to eat the product that comes from baking
• Apparently he and wife Ashley had a baking competition, taking the finished products into the TMS shop for voting
~ Ashley won on taste
~ Justin won on appearance
~ I don’t know about you, but I think they should have another bake-off at the October #TMSFanCrew event and we can judge the winners!
• Justin tells the crowd that if he’s in a street car he has to be either driving or sleeping – he does not ride well
• Justin misses racing the short track at Lucas Oil Raceway
• The Brandt Racing team uses 2 spotters at IMS – one on each side of the pagoda
James Buescher at the Team Chevy Stage
• Indy is one of the race tracks that makes you want to be a race car driver
• Indy is difficult for a lot of drivers because of the shape and lack of banking
• James talked with Kasey Kahne to get pointers for IMS
• James has 4 dogs and just put in a pool
• He loves to race, when he’s not racing he wants to be racing or spending time with family
• He would love to run the 24 Hours of Daytona, but does not know who he would pick for teammates
• James said the MC at the Team Chevy stage is asking him questions he has never even thought about before, including what celebrity he would like to give hot lap rides too:
~ He finally decided on Betty White, because he thought she would be funny and probably tell him to move over she was going to drive
Both Justin and James had a good time throwing out Team Chevy items to the fans, and stuck around afterwards to sign some autographs and take photos with their fans.
Crew Cheif of Revenue
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolled out into the “Irish Hills” Saturday, August 18th, with plenty in store to whet the appetites of race fans looking for an exciting race. It began with the NCWTS Qualifying session, which kept qualifiers on their toes as the final fastest drivers from practice vied for the pole and track record at Michigan International Speedway Saturday morning.
Although James Buescher, Miguel Paludo, and Johnny Sauter, among others, broke the track record one-by-one; out-doing each other as they did, the pole and official race record was seized by recent race winner and rookie, Joey Coulter, with a speed of 184.101 miles per hour. Coulter had a starting position of 2nd five times in his thirty-seven previous career starts, but claimed the right to lead the field off the grid for this Saturday afternoon’s stroll.
Qualifying wrapped up with all three Turner Motorsports drivers fast enough to sit in the top ten for the wave of the green flag after strong practice runs. Miguel Paludo in the #32 Duroline Chevy was pleased with the performance of his Silverado in practice and claimed a 3rd place starting spot just behind teammate Nelson Piquet Jr., who had a qualifying time of 184.011 miles per hour. The #18 driven by Kurt Busch, claimed 4th in his first NCWTS race in 11 years for brother and team owner, Kyle Busch. Ty Dillon was 5th. Johnny Sauter, Justin Lofton, Tim George Jr., James Buescher, Timothy Peters and Brad Kesowloski rounded out the top ten.
James Buescher rolled off the grid in his #31 Turner Motorsports/Wolfpack Chevrolet, just ahead of points leader Timothy Peters, confident about his truck’s ability to run a strong race and compete for the win. Prior to the VFW 200, Buescher was -15 points in the standings and has been on a terror this season. His strong suit has been the mile-and-a-half, and with an average finish of 9.2 this season, he has positioned himself into legitimate contention for the NCWTS championship.
From the start, the grooves on the track allowed for three-wide racing, which continued throughout the contest, especially on the first few laps of a restart — where the outside line was premium choice. The halfway point of the race presented a restart and caution for the lone #11 truck of Todd Bodine, whose truck had damage too heavy to continue. That was just the beginning of the wild ride ahead for the last half of the race. By the end, seven drivers of the field swapped the lead 11 times, with 17 caution laps resulting from 5 caution flags. One which involved top-runner Nelson Piquet, after a spin nearly jeopardized his quest for his first NCWTS win late in the race. Piquet skillfully kept his #30 Autotrac/Qualcomm Chevy off the wall and other competitors; and after an all-important pit stop, continued on the lead lap.
41 laps to go saw Busch and Sauter battling for the lead, as fervently as Piquet and Busch had for the majority of the race, and Dillon wanted into the equation. Within 5 laps of the restart, Piquet’s #30 was fast-approaching 12th while Paludo and Buescher continued to hold their own in the top ten.
With nearly 30 laps on most trucks since the last stop, and 31 laps still remaining, green flag pit stops began to cycle through. Then-leader Kurt Busch, didn’t make his green flag pit stop until 21 to go, as did Johnny Sauter. Meanwhile, Ty Dillon claimed the lead, good for bonus points, as Piquet Jr. made his way to 7th.
After leading laps for point strategy, Dillon’s crew made the decision to take a green flag pit stop, along with Miguel Paludo, Kesowlowski and just a few others, with 16 laps left to run. Buescher took his turn in the lead for points, with Nelson Piquet 3rd as they approached the final 11 laps of racing. Two short laps later, as Buescher again fought the tight, center-off characteristics his truck had earlier displayed, Piquet was suddenly in the lead. However, he had not made the trip down pit road since his spin much earlier in the race.
In a HUGE gamble, a split-decision audible was called for Piquet to stay out and try to make it on fuel. With images surely going through the minds of the team, as apparent as their calm concern on the radio, Piquet was urged to get a good lead, then back off in attempt to save, at best calculations, a mere 2 seconds of fuel in the final 6 laps. Images of a win slipping out of grasp on the last lap, after absolutely dominating in another very recent race was one heart break that wouldn’t be repeated.
The checkered flag at the Michigan International Speedway flew and it was beautifully captured by Nelson Piquet Jr. in a race weekend worthy of celebration by fans, teammates, Turner Motorsports… and his father, Nelson Piquet Sr.
Not only did the Nelson Piquet Jr. ride don a “Super V” paint scheme on the bed of the #30 Silverado, along with “PIKET” above the driver door in honor of his father and his own championship racing career (a spelling his dad used to keep in his very early racing days a secret from his own parents), but it also became a gift-wrapped victory by his own son, a day after his 60th birthday. Wow!!
Turner Motorsports and their fans had much to celebrate, with Nelson Piquet Jr. outperforming in an edge-of-the-seat win and it wasn’t the only excitement as Miguel Paludo claimed 10th for his own, and James Buescher came home 5th , to put a little more emphasis on his championship run. As Piquet sits in 8th in the points, James Buescher is now -6 points behind in 3rd place for the NCWTS Title.
CONGRATULATIONS, Nelson Piquet Jr.! And, a Happy Birthday to Nelson Piquet, Sr.! Neither can be said enough.
I have watched racing for a long time. The unique and neat experience of seeing this young team at Turner Motorsports develop into a top competitor in both the NNS and NCWTS is remarkable.
Stay tuned…This has been good, and it’s only getting better! Be sure to catch the action this Wednesday, August 22 when the Truck Series hits the track in Bristol for the green flag at 7:30 EST on SPEEDTV. (Yes…THIS Wednesday!)
~ Julie Kuntz
Team Leader, Crew News