SI Vault
 
THEIR LIVES ARE THE PITS
Adam Duerson
December 24, 2009
What happens between one checkered flag and the next green? In the case of Jeff Gordon's perfectionist pit crew, plenty
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
December 24, 2009

Their Lives Are The Pits

What happens between one checkered flag and the next green? In the case of Jeff Gordon's perfectionist pit crew, plenty

AND YOU THOUGHT PIT CREWS DIDN'T get enough respect? Meet Mark Morrison: The man behind the men behind the Man. As the strength and conditioning coach for Hendrick Motorsports, the 38-year-old Morrison (right), has been responsible the past seven years for getting the pit crew members on Jeff Gordon's Chevy Impala up to top speed in-season and keeping their motors warm in the off-season. (Go ahead, you try designing a workout to maximize tire-changing speed and gas-pouring efficiency.)

Morrison, who refined his craft in the weight rooms of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Florida State Seminoles, drills Gordon's crew for an hour every day, 12 months a year, but he doubts racing fans know that. "I don't think people truly realize the training that some of these guys do," he says. "It really shocks people, but working on a NASCAR pit crew is just like playing in any other professional sports program. There's really no downtime." And we've got the pictures to prove it.

1