Welding is an essential skill for a prospective crewman, both in the shop and at the track
Once your resume has been reviewed by Bob, it goes into his database for reference when teams call to announce an opening. Depending on your job classification and experience level, Bob will immediately mentally place you in a particular category. If there are openings he knows about, the process can move quickly. If no positions are open, there will be a waiting period.
Bob has clients who are presently in, or have worked in, professional racing. These are people who, for whatever reason, may need to make a change or have been forced to seek other employment due to a team closing down. These highly qualified workers know that Bob has a great relationship with the team owners and managers and can facilitate a smooth transition.
Members of Yates/Newman/Haas Racing push the M&M's Ford to the starting grid. Photo by Bob
RCR has also represented high-profile persons who need to have a middle man negotiate contracts and terms of employment as well as provide confidential services when surveying the overall employment situation. Sometimes it is just time to make a change with no one at fault. Some teams are better suited for some peoples' personalities than others. A good match up can go a long way toward a team's success, so moves are often encouraging for both parties.
Bob tells us that most of the time teams need well-qualified persons to fill a position. But that doesn't mean a person who is deadly serious about working in this sport cannot start at the bottom "sweeping floors" to begin learning the various skills needed to work his or her way up.
Tony Gibson, who is seen here talking to Dale Jr., is from South Daytona, Florida. He has
If you talk to some of the better-known personalities who have been crew chiefs for championship drivers and winning teams, they probably started as a helper around the shop and learned their trade a step at a time. But there are many more positions available, at all levels in professional racing. If it is the glamour and spotlights you are looking for, there could be some of that too. For the majority, it is the love for the sport of racing that attracts them to work at the top level. Be prepared to work strange hours and weekends in the shop and at the races.
The rewards come in the satisfaction of knowing you can make a difference in how the team performs and, admittedly, in earning a higher level of income in most cases. Most of these people think the tradeoff is worth it.
It is probably best if you live close to this racing mecca. If you are highly skilled, you might be hired before moving, but most of the people I know who went to work for professional stock car teams moved to be within driving distance of the shop. It only makes sense. And, before you pack that station wagon and trek off to Race City USA (the nickname for Mooresville, North Carolina), make darn sure this is what you want.
Nextel Cup driver J.J. Yeley and Peter Jellen enjoy a joke. After moving to Charlotte from
Just in my area around Central Florida, I know of a good many persons who have made that move and it all worked out. Here are a few examples. Robbie Loomis lived in Lake Mary, Florida, and made his way to Petty Enterprises in the late '80s to end up as a crew chief for Richard and Kyle during the '90s before moving to Hendrick to lead the Jeff Gordon team. He is now back with Petty as the executive vice president of racing operations.
Tony Gibson, a recent crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., grew up in South Daytona, Florida, and worked his way up in the sport through short-track and ARCA racing and is now a valuable member of the DEI organization.
More recent transplants are Kyle Busch's crew chief for the past few years at Hendrick, Alan Gustafson, who grew up in Ormond Beach, Florida, my hometown. Then there is Brian Wheeler, a local Late Model crew chief who moved to Mooresville several years ago and is now a master fabricator for Evernham Motorsports.