NASCAR's downsized pit crews leaves crew members searching for work

- In NASCAR this year the number of pit crew members allowed over the wall has been downsized from six to five. The change, designed for a safer pit road, has actually left some crew members questioning their future in motorsports.

Dan Koozer, who currently is a part-time pit crew member for a variety of teams, opened his own auto repair shop about a year ago. The days of moving your tool box from one team to another is long gone, according to Koozer.

With Koozer's new business he goes from pit road on Sunday to the shop on Monday.

"The fact that I have the repair shop now it has really opened my eyes to what life is like outside of racing," said Koozer.

A life without racing is something Koozer never thought would be possible.

In 2009 his motorsports dreams came true. After attending a local pit crew school, he worked his way up through the CARS Tour and soon after NASCAR came calling.

Today, he's a tire carrier in the ARCA Racing Series as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Xfinity Series and Monster Energy Cup Series.

"It was tough. Now-a-days, like the way I got into it, that's pretty much not heard of anymore," said Koozer.

But even Koozer admits his time on pit road may soon come to an end because there are only five crew members allowed over the wall. NASCAR says it's designed to save teams money and improve safety.

"With the 5 guys you have one less person controlling tires, so there is a tire can get hit by another race car," said Koozer.

Koozer considers himself one of the lucky ones. He is still traveling every weekend working for several teams part-time. but he knows that can only last for so long.

It's one of the reasons why he started Koozer Repair, located just outside downtown Mooresville. You can consider the business his full time job during the week when he's not pitting race cars on the weekend.

The two jobs can create long hours, especially those late Sunday afternoon NASCAR races.

"Most likely we will get no sleep and come straight to work," explained Koozer.

Like every small business owner, Koozer knows long hours are just part of life as a entrepreneur. He also spends hundreds of dollars every week buying new tools for his business to keep up to date with the latest and greatest cars on the road. That aspect of owning a business is something he admits he wasn't expecting.

"We take pride in our work and we treat it like a 200 MPH race car," said Koozer.

Which is why some consider him the best mechanic in town. After all, who wouldn't want their car treated like what we all watch on Sunday.
 

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