05/18/11 10:00AM Busch Pit Crew Most Valuable, Kyle Busch, NASCAR

No. 18 pit crew 'Most Valuable' of the first quarter

By Official Release
May 18, 2011 11:07 AM, EDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For their efforts on pit road during the first quarter of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the No. 18 M&M's Toyota over-the-wall team for Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing has earned first-quarter honors in the 2011 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award competition.

The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award, which is determined by a vote of each team's crew chief, is given quarterly to the top-performing pit crew in the Cup Series. The four quarterly winners are eligible for the year-end Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award presented during Champion's Week in Las Vegas.

I say it every week -- those guys win me a lot of races and get me a lot of good finishes.


This year, Busch and the No. 18 team have posted two wins and six top-five finishes and currently sit in third place in the standings. While Busch is turning fast laps behind the wheel, his over-the-wall gang has been on their game as well, performing consistent, quick pit stops all year.

The award is part of the NASCAR Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the contingency program, which provides teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories. Mechanix Wear is the Official Glove of NASCAR.

Created ten years ago, the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award is one of the most sought-after titles for pit crews.

"We work with pit crews every week to jointly develop products that help them do their job better," said Ted Abdon, director of racing for Mechanix Wear. "We look at the changes in the cars and the pit stops, and create products that make them safer on the job and help them do it more effectively. We've worked hard to reward them for being the best in their sport."

Members of the No. 18 pit crew include: Nick O'Dell (front-tire changer), Brad Donaghy (front-tire carrier), Jake Seminara (rear-tire changer), Kenny Barber (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Fender (jackman), Tom Lampe (gasman). The team's pit crew coordinator is Paul Alepa and JGR's athletic director is Michael Lepp.

"I think that our M&M's/Interstate Batteries team is the best week in and week out on pit road," Busch said. "It's great to see them get the credit they deserve. I say it every week -- those guys win me a lot of races and get me a lot of good finishes. A big thanks to Mechanix Wear for honoring all of their hard work."

"We're proud of everyone on this No. 18 M&M's/Interstate Batteries team and the job they do each week," Lepp said. "All of our teams put so much time and effort into being the best they can be and giving our drivers the opportunity to win races that it is nice to have them recognized with an honor like this from Mechanix Wear."