With the winter upon us there is no better time than now to catch up with some veteran crew man. This week our “Where are they now” crew man is Keith Mansch. Keith spent many years on pit road and worked for many different drivers including Dale Jr. and Rusty Wallace. We were able to catch up with Keith and see how things were going. Enjoy.
How many years did you spend carrying tires?
I started in 1996 and ended in 04’. I worked for Detroit Gasket, DEI, Penske, and EGR.
How did you learn how to carry?
Back in the day you only had 6 guys that went over the wall. Everyone wanted to go over the wall and everyone had a chance to tryout. I spent a lot of days practicing after hours and I just learned how.
Your style of carrying was different than most, explain it and what made it so unique?
I could see better. I would squat down and stand behind the tire and it helped me see the studs better. I’m a tall guy so it was a better way for me.
What were some of your better memories as a carrier?
Winning the All Star race with JR. in 2000 was a pretty cool achievement as a team member. We went to Indy when Jamie was a rookie and we had a great day on pit road. We stayed up front all day and had great stops, if it weren’t for the caution we had that race in the bag. After the caution we got beat on the restart and never had a chance to pit to get the lead back.
When you got out of carrying, was it the right time?
I had a herniated disk in my neck so I was kind of forced out. It was around July of 2004 so I guess you could say the time was right.
Where are you now and what have you been up to?
I work as a fabricator at EGR and have been their for the last 10 years.
Do ever wish you were still over the wall?
Sometimes, now that I’m almost 40 I realize it’s a young man’s game so it’s not as bad. I got a 4 year old son so it makes it easier to stay at home and not have to travel every weekend. The competition part I will always miss.
When you see races on the weekends, and you see the pit stops, what goes thru your mind when you’re watching them? I pay attention to see what teams are coming up with to improve their stops. I just like to see how pit road has evolved.
If you had some advice for some of the younger carriers coming up in the sport, what would it be?
Work hard and work smart. There’s a lot of good people in this sport and listen to the ones that try and help you.
Last question; do you enjoy what you do now as much as you did carrying tires?
Yeh, I like fabricating. I was fabing back in the day when I was a carrier so I still enjoy my job and probably always will.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us and good luck with the rest of your career in Nascar.