Name: Jeff Clark

Position: Jack man (16), gas man (4)

How did you get into pitting? I was over at Yates in 1990 and I was painting the walls of the shop to make extra money. I was trying to pay off some debt from college. Davie Allison was the driver. The crew chief asked me if I played high school sports and would I be interested in trying to jack. They took me out in the parking lot and set up the car and they said have at it. Robert Yates was out there and he wore me out with the stop watch. There was no formal training, it was either you could do it or not.

How long did you jack and gas for? Daytona 500 1991 was my first race and I pitted up until 09’ with the 20 car. 7 years with RYR, 2 years with Penske, 9 years with DEI, 1 year with JGR. I jacked for 16 years and pitted the last 4. Something like that.

What was the best team that you pitted for? I would have to say the #8 car in their prime was the best. Probably the 03-04’ season with the #8 car.

What was the best memory from pit road that you can remember? The all star race with Jr. in 01’ was awesome. We pitted with 5 laps to go and had a real good stop. We made a bunch of adjustments and it helped us get him to the front and win the race.

Why did you get out of pitting? I had other job opportunities. The business side of racing has always been interesting to me but the competition of pit road always kept me back. An opportunity at Roushyates came up and I wanted to explore it. It was a good fit for me so I took it.

How did you handle not being able to pit when it was over? It was a challenge for sure. The move from being over the wall to behind it is was very different. People always say you’ll know when it’s time to leave and I think I had that notion when I got out. It was definitely hard but with my job I’m still able to stay involved with the guys on pit road.

What do you do now? I’m VP of sales for Roushyates. I’m responsible for managing our day to day sales operations. It’s all focused around the engine program.

What do you think of the guys pitting cars now? I think there well trained, everything from coaches to studying film and the fitness part. There is so much that goes on now in the pit area. In the beginning of my days we just took the best 7 athletes in the shop and made a pit crew. There were no weekend warriors. Now it’s so different how good and well trained these guys are. They are definitely athletes in my mind.

Where do you see the pitting world in 5 years? I would like to think that innovation would keep evolving. I think equipment has come such a long way over time. I think times can get in the 10 second range. I’ve seen teams do them in practice but I think you’ll see some in the races in the future.

What is something that you are proud of and think people would like to know about your career? Well, first off I was able to work with a ton good drivers and teams and I was very fortunate to have that chance. I guess the one thing that is pretty cool to me is I’ve been a part of 8 Daytona 500 wins in some shape or fashion.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and good luck in the future.

Tagged with: , ,

Readers Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post a comment.