This week SSM launched #PitCrewWisdom from the team’s twitter handle @SSMIndy and encouraged fans to tweet in questions for the crew to answer. Selected questions and answers from SSM team members range from serious to ridiculous. @SSMIndy followers who had their questions answered will all receive SSM swag. Stay tuned for more #PitCrewWisdom in the future!
@SSMIndy OK, this may be obvious but do you guys use tire heating jackets? If not, why? I never see them during broadcasts #PitCrewWisdom
Answered by Frank Camacho, Lead Truck Driver: Tire warmers are not allowed by Indy Car, to keep budgets down I suppose. We use the old yellow thing in the sky to help keep the tires warm.
Answered by Ben Bretzman, Lead Engineer: As an advocate of fine ice cream I find my selection of flavor to really set the tone for the weekend. If we are going to a track that we have great confidence in doing well it is normally something playful or fun like Cookies and Cream. On the other hand, if we are going to a track that needs more focus to really perform it is good to buckle down with a strong Dark Chocolate. The ice cream “staple” to really make sure we go fast is a Peanut Butter/Chocolate combination. If there is even a sniff of that around the SHM pit area the rest of the IndyCar field in trouble!
Answered by Don Oldenburg, Crew Chief: Any smell you put in would be better than what the cockpit currently smells like.
@SSMIndy My son wants to be a race engineer. Any suggestions for colleges? #PitCrewWisdom
Answered by Nick Snyder, Lead Engineer:
Fun Answer: Any college which offers an engineering degree.
Serious Answer: I graduated from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Our engineering staff also represents Clemson University and University of Central Florida, so all three of those are excellent choices. Any college with a Formula SAE program would also be great option. You can find a list of school websites at http://students.sae.org/competitions/formulaseries/fsae/teamsites/
Answered by Matey: If I make it back from Brazil, yes, but I’m having a whole-lotta fun down here. I’m not sure I really want to come back…
@SSMIndy Are crew members cross-trained in case of sickness or injury, and where do replacements come from? Temps or staff? #PitCrewWisdom
Answered by Kiwi Beck, Gear Box and former inside rear tire changer: We all train three times a week together, but we’re not really “cross-trained.” We’re more like seasoned vetrans. We have a lot of guys on the team that could take over any spot over-the-wall on a race weekend so we don’t hire in temps like some of the other teams do.
@SSMIndy #PitCrewWisdom in addition to the Anti-Stall Technology, is there any talk of using on board starters for Road/Street Circuit races
Answer from Craig Luba, Electronics Engineer: We hope that they do not allow onboard starters because Simon is always losing his car keys. The DW-12 that we have now was never designed to have an onboard starter put on. The old ChampCar was originally designed with that option.
@SSMIndy What’s considered the coolest over the wall job to doduring a pit stop? And how do you get it? LOL #PitCrewWisdom
Answered by Matt Dove, Fabricator and Outside Rear Tire Changer: Well, you’re kind of putting me in a tough position. I am going to be biased and say my position, outside rear, is the coolest over the wall position, because it’s mine. With outside rear, you have the most movement, the heaviest tire and you’re in the most dangerous position as you’re so exposed on that part of pit lane. When it comes down to a fast pit stop, outside rear is where everyone is looking.
As for how you get that position, hmmm, that’s a good one… To start you need to be in the gym all the time practicing regularly to make sure you’re in the best physical condition and your form is perfect for the best time possible.
In the end, no one position is no more or less important than any other, because it takes us all. That’s one of the reasons why SSM has such a great over-the-wall team. We all understand what it takes and we’re willing to do it.
@SSMIndy When will you guys start working on the 2013 cars and what will be the focus of the engineers? #PitCrewWisdom
Answered by Rob Edwards, General Manager: For the team, 2013 began the minute the checkered flag fell at Fontana. We took a week off but from when we came back in to work on September 24th the focus has been entirely on next season. The engineers have spent the first two weeks analyzing areas of weakness from last season and the focus is to improve each and every one of these. The list is prioritized and the work is scheduled to ensure everything is completed before St. Petersburg.
@SSMIndy How fast do you think you could do a pitstop with the old spinner/rubber mallet setup on Indycars? #PitCrewWisdom
Answered by Brendon Cleave, damper engineer, outside front tire changer: I have no idea how long it would take me to change one of those wheels but any day I need a hammer to remove a wheel is a bad day in my book…
SSM swag will be mailed the week of October 31 to fans who had their questions selected and answered in #PitCrewWisdom. Follow @SSMIndy to make sure you see when the next contest starts!