July 28, 2008 — Bryan White is the new face of NASCAR’s over-the-wall gang. A former linebacker at the University of Virginia, where he earned an undergraduate degree in religious studies and a graduate teaching degree, White got a training-camp look from the New York Jets in 2006. Hours after he was cut, he received a call from Trent Cherry, pit crew coach at Penske Racing.
“I was sitting in a New York airport wondering what I was going to do with my life when the phone rang,” White said. “I knew nothing about NASCAR. I can’t even change my own oil — couldn’t name more than three or four parts on a car.”
No matter. White, at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, was just the athlete Cherry was looking to recruit.
After six months of training, White was going over the pit wall in NASCAR events.
Last May, White was the "catch can man" (responsible for catching fuel overflow and making track-bar adjustments) on Ryan Newman’s pit crew that captured the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge. This year, White has swapped positions with jack man Britt Goodrich — also a former linebacker, but at the University of North Carolina.
In many cases, pit crew members perform double duty in the shop with titles such as sheet metal fabricator or tire specialist. But in today’s NASCAR, where split seconds can mean megabucks, athleticism is taking priority in the pits.