At a NASCAR race there can seem to be a large number of employees at the track. However, these are just a handful of people employed by teams. When you wonder how many people there are in a NASCAR team, you need to consider the people that don’t appear on camera too.
There could be over 100 people in a NASCAR team. While you may know about the driver, pit crew, crew chief, and spotter, NASCAR teams also employ mechanics, engineers, specialists, and public relations personnel. While they are not all prominent positions, every team member is still important.
Below, we will break down how many employees NASCAR teams have, and we will also outline their roles. We will then discuss the number of people on NASCAR pit crews, spotters, and even drivers for NASCAR teams.
How Many Employees Do NASCAR Teams Have?
A NASCAR team can employ 50 to 100+ people, depending on the size of the team. This number includes the pit crew members, a crew chief, spotter, and driver you see during a NASCAR event. However, teams employ many more people that work behind the scenes on and between the race weekends.
NASCAR was once a ‘who you know not a what you know’ series. But as times changed, NASCAR teams realized that they needed people known more for their athleticism than their knowledge under the hood to act as a pit crew.
They also realized how important it was to hire specialists who focused solely on components like engines and tires. Enter public relations specialists as the age of mass media grew, and before NASCAR teams knew it, they were employing more people than they ever thought necessary.
But if they hadn’t made those investments, NASCAR never would have grown so quickly in popularity. And while in the 2020s, the sport is not as popular as it once was, NASCAR’s well-rounded rosters are still in a good position to turn the tide. Starting with that lightning-fast pit crew.
The Pit Crew
The pit crew fills 6 positions on a NASCAR team’s roster, 7 if you count the crew chief. They were once the car’s mechanics, and if you watch videos of pit stops in NASCAR’s past, they were substantially slower than today.
Former NFL player Tim Goad helped revolutionize the pit crew when he became the jack man for Wood Brothers Racing in 1998. Goad also worked for Petty Enterprises and Kevin Harvick Incorporated. As NASCAR employed athletes into the pit crew, the pit stops became much more efficient, which is why you routinely see stops that last between 13 and 15 seconds in the 21st century.
NASCAR is not possible without a team owner, and often, the owner will have multiple teams under them. Prominent owners in the sport include NASCAR icons like Rick Hendrick, Richard Petty, and Jack Roush.
Other NASCAR owners came from other sports organizations, like the NBA’s Michael Jordan, best known for his time with the Chicago Bulls. Former NFL coach Joe Gibbs owns one of NASCAR’s most iconic teams. Even celebrities like Pitbull have gotten in on owning Cup teams.
So, what is the owner’s role? Think of them as the president or CEO of the team. They handle the staffing and securing sponsorship. NASCAR owners must be business-savvy and form strong relationships with these sponsors in hopes their ties will continue for years to come.
Some teams have multiple owners. For example, Hendrick Motorsports has Rick and Linda Hendrick listed as owners. Jeff Gordon is also listed as owner and vice chairman.
Think of the team manager as the general manager of a sports team. They often have had experience in NASCAR for a while, and it is likely they worked in high-pressure positions in the past, such as a crew chief or a spotter. Chad Knaus is a good example of this.
Since it is impossible for the owner to oversee all operations of their teams, they employ the team manager to do this for them. Sometimes, the team manager’s job is synonymous with the team president or vice president.
Specialists And Mechanics
NASCAR teams employ specialists, one of whom often deals with the engine and another, the tires. They may only have 1 job, but those jobs are complex, as the engine specialist must ensure the engine for each race is always running at its best.
Tire specialists deal with things like tire wear and tire pressure. Each race, they measure these variables and present their findings to the team, which tells them how they can tweak their tire situation at each race track.
NASCAR teams also bring on a small number of general mechanics. However, they tend to hire engineers that specialize in specific car components in today’s NASCAR landscape.
NASCAR teams may also hire a truck driver tasked with hauling the car to the site of the next race. However, this is not always the case, as a member of the general mechanic team may take over driving duties and meet the crew once they complete their trip.
Public Relations Specialists
In the age of social media, hiring public relations specialists and even those who optimize in search engine optimization (SEO) is a must for NASCAR teams. PR specialists build brand awareness to retain current fans and acquire new fans with varying marketing strategies. They also help set up driver appearances and fan events throughout both the NASCAR season and its short offseason.
A NASCAR team is not complete without its drivers. Each team will typically employ just 1 driver. However, lower-funded organizations may use multiple drivers depending on the type of tracks those drivers specialize in.
An identical strategy may be employed for 2-car teams that field a primary car and a secondary car. Kaulig Racing serves as a good example here, as they hired Justin Haley to drive the 31 car in 2022. But between February and June, the 16 car used 3 drivers.
Rick Ware Racing employed 7 drivers to drive its number 15 car. But for most organizations, like Hendrick Motorsports, you will see 1 driver man the cockpit for each of its multiple teams.
Number Of People On A NASCAR Team
It really depends on how you define the word team. Some will consider all 4 cars in a larger-funded organization as 1 NASCAR team. And if this is you, then you will define them as having over 100 employees.
Because when you think about it, that makes 4 crew chiefs per team, 24 pit crew members total, 4 drivers, and you are already up to 32 team members not counting the builders, mechanics, and public relations people.
Others consider each car as its own unique team within an organizational umbrella. So that would make 1 crew chief, 6 pit crew members, and a driver among other role players. Of course, this number sits at just 8 before you count the behind-the-scenes employees.
How Many Pit Crew Members Are On A NASCAR Team?
NASCAR teams employ 6 pit crew members, but only 5 can go over the wall. These pit crew members comprise 2 tire changers, 1 tire carrier, a jack man, and a fuel man. The 6th man is known as the utility, and they provide the driver with water and occasionally food during an event.
The number of NASCAR pit crew members has varied in recent seasons. At one time, NASCAR allowed 7 crew members to climb over the wall. 2 positions no longer in use include a catch can man and a rear tire carrier.
The crew chief is sometimes considered the 7th man in the pit crew. However, they may not hop over the wall at any time to provide service to the car.
Think of the crew chief as the head coach of a NASCAR team, all of which employ just one. Top organizations like Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing have 1 crew chief for each team they own.
The crew chief calls the plays, often relaying race and pit strategies to the spotter or the driver, depending on whose voice they want the driver to hear. Sometimes, the crew chief wants only 1 voice in the driver’s ear during green flag laps, which is why they relay instructions to the spotter.
Not only do crew chiefs decide when a driver pits, but they also determine whether the driver will take a 2 or 4-tire stop, how much fuel their driver’s car will receive, and if they need to make any adjustments to the car.
The jack man often has the toughest job of the 6 pit crew members. They must accurately time when to lift the car and when to set it down. If they set the car down before the tire changers finish screwing on the lug nuts, they will slow the entire pit stop.
They must also double as a tire carrier since the rear tire carrier position no longer exists. Jack men must also be responsible for knowing the locations of all the old tires, as drivers may not leave their pit box until their old tires are contacting the pit wall.
Once the jack man ensures the old tires are accounted for, they raise their hand and signal the driver to leave the pit box.
Tire Changers And Carriers
NASCAR teams employ a front and rear tire changer, whose job is to remove and replace the lug nut from their assigned set of tires. The tire carrier will carry tires to either the car’s front or rear, while the jack man handles the other end.
The gas man’s job may look easy, but it is actually one of the tougher jobs on a NASCAR pit crew. They are responsible for carrying full gas cans of flammable racing fuel, and these can weigh 95 lbs (43 kg). Not the most desirable job by a long shot, but the cars aren’t moving without them.
Further, there are times when a pit stop’s length hinges on how fast the gas man can fill the fuel cell. If the gas man takes even tenths of seconds longer than usual, unfortunately, they will cost their driver precious track position.
They can only climb over the wall for the second half of the race, but the 6th man is responsible for helping his driver stay hydrated and fueled (with food), as the race nears its conclusion. You will often miss the utility man if you don’t have a quick eye. They just hop over the wall, hand the driver what they need, and disappear until the next pit stop.
How Many Drivers Are There In A NASCAR Team?
NASCAR teams typically have just 1 driver. However, there are instances where NASCAR teams may employ a backup driver. If a driver falls ill or if they sustain an injury during a previous NASCAR event, the backup driver will take over. Teams may have 3+ drivers depending on how many cars they have.
A good example occurred in 1992, when Davey Allison crashed hard at Pocono and suffered minor-to-severe injuries. Determined to remain in the run for the championship, Allison started the next week at Talladega to take the green flag before he relinquished the ride to Bobby Hillin Jr.
Other times, teams that are looking to break into NASCAR will employ drivers that specialize in specific tracks. They may hire a road course ringer to drive at road courses, a driver who has experience with success at short tracks, and even drivers who specialize in driving at superspeedways.
If a driver needs to miss time, a NASCAR team may employ multiple drivers to replace them. Such an event occurred in 2016, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed the second half of the season with injuries, prompting Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman to share duties driving the number 88 car.
How Many Spotters Do NASCAR Teams Have?
NASCAR teams typically employ just 1 spotter. Unlike most positions in NASCAR where team members are separated by pit boxes, all 36 to 40 NASCAR spotters stand shoulder to shoulder, often at the track’s highest vantage point. NASCAR teams will have more spotters if they have more cars.
While teams hire just 1 spotter, some tracks, like road courses, can make things difficult for one spotter and in rare cases, NASCAR teams will use a 2nd member as an additional spotter on an as-needed basis.
So how do spotters manage to follow their drivers all race long? They often use a pair of binoculars when their driver is cruising along the backstretch of larger tracks. But they must also focus on opposing drivers that are coming up fast from behind, and even drivers who are riding high or low.
Spotters must have phenomenal concentration skills as they cannot lose sight of their driver in any circumstances. They also need to communicate clearly and relay all instructions in a calm, determined manner.
There may be over 100 people in a NASCAR team, but this number can vary. NASCAR teams can employ multiple drivers, especially newer teams or teams adding another car to their roster. Other employees include engineers, specialists, mechanics, managers, public relations specialists, and pit crews.