By: Joe Piette

Back in May I wrote about how the #17 team won Talladega even though their pit crew had been dealing with injuries and had to use some back-up crew guys. Well guess what, they won Daytona last Saturday night and low and behold minutes before the race they had to adjust the roster again!
The day of the race, veteran front tire changer Mike Lingerfelt fell ill and it became a game time decision that Lingerfelt would not change tires that race. Thirty minutes before the race, the coaching staff called upon veteran changer Kale Uphoff who is the primary front changer on the #6 car but has been inactive since the Dover race due to an injury that happened on the last pit stop. Uphoff has been doing rehab and is close to rejoining his #6 crew guys so the plan was to have him at Daytona and only use him if someone got hurt. He was able to suit up and get it done the entire race with the #17 crew and ended up in Victory Lane!
This wasn’t the only drama the #17 crew had in this race. With 8 laps to go, a big wreck occurred coming off turn 4 and Jamie McMurray turned left to avoid spinning cars and went down pit road…mind you he was going around 180 miles per hour! As drivers get on the brakes the nose of their car dips, putting the splitter practically dragging the ground. This late in the race there are many lug nuts scattered on pit road. When a car hits a lug nut with the splitter that nut becomes a bullet! Justin Fiedler, the rear changer on the #17 crew was sitting on pit wall minding his own business and as McMurray blasted by, Fiedler took a rogue lug nut to his left forearm! Medics were worried Fiedler had a fracture but after further diagnosis they determined it was bruised really bad. Either way, the coaching staff rounded up Raphael Diaz to fill in for Fiedler in case there was another pit stop.
It was definitely an eventful race day for the pit crews and coaches at Roush Fenway Racing. Congrats to everyone in that organization on two wins this season. The challenge I see for them is to have all their crew guys healthy and buttoned up when we reach the PlayOff races in September. That’s when the Big Trophy is up for grabs!


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