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Optimizing the Physical Conditioning of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Pit Crew Athlete: 236 Board #74 May 28, 930 AM - 1100 AM

Ferguson, David P.1; Davis, Adam2; Lightfoot, J. Timothy FACSM3

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 5S - p 52
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000493321.00428.b2
A-37 Free Communication/Poster - Characterizing the Competitive Athlete Wednesday, May 28, 2014, 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM Room: WB1
Free

1Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. 2Stewart-Haas Racing, Charlotte, NC. 3Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.

(No relationships reported)

PURPOSE: Stock car racing is the largest spectator sport in the United States. As a result, NASCAR Sprint Cup teams have begun to invest in strength and conditioning programs for their pit crew athletes. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the physical characteristics of elite NASCAR pit crew athletes, how the NASCAR Sprint Cup season affects basic physiological parameters such as body composition, and what is the most appropriate physical training program that meets the needs of a pit crew athlete.

METHODS: We conducted several experiments involving Sprint Cup motorsports athletes to determine predictors of success at the elite level, seasonal physiological changes, and appropriate physical training programs.

RESULTS: Our results showed that hamstring flexibility (p=0.015) and the score on the two tire front run test (p=0.012) were significant predictors of NASCAR Sprint Cup Pit Crew athlete performance. Additionally, the athletes at the beginning (75.16 ± 5.51% lean body mass; mean ± SD) and off-season (74.1 ± 5.2 % lean body mass) time points had lower percent lean body mass values then at the middle (80.83 ± 6.7 % lean body mass) and end-season (79.6 ± 4.62 % lean body mass) time points (p=0.0005).

CONCLUSIONS: Therefore, a strength and conditioning program was developed to prevent the strength loss associated with the off-season while maintaining power output throughout the season. Implementation of this strength and conditioning program in one NASCAR Sprint Cup team demonstrated that pit crew athletes were able to prevent lean body mass loss and have 147% increase in muscle power output from the start of the season to the end of the season (p=0.006).

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine