The pit crew for Michael Waltrip's #15 NAPA Auto Parts Dale Earnhardt Incorporated Chevrolet team moved one step closer to claiming the inaugural McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fuelled by POWERade and the $200,000 bonus that goes to the season champion.

The No. 15 crew, which has led in the point standings the entire season, captured its fourth McDonald's/POWERade win of the year with a resounding victory in last Sunday's Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

The victory, worth $20,000, lifted the No. 15 crew's season prize money total to $80,000.

With four NASCAR Winston Cup races remaining, Waltrip's pit crew holds a 38-point lead over DEI teammate - the No. 8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"It's getting personal here - a downright grudge match between the No. 15 and the No. 8 teams," said DEI pit crew coach Walt Smith. "Both teams are really fired up about the McDonald's/POWERade championship. I tell the (No.) 15 team to stay focused and then go over to the (No.) 8 team and tell them don't give up - you're not out of the championship. This program is great for everyone. The drivers are even talking about it during the race."

By winning in Martinsville, Waltrip's team gained only one point on Earnhardt's team, which finished second. Waltrip's NAPA Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road - 229.765 seconds. Earnhardt's Chevy was clocked at 283.984. Tony's Stewart's team finished third with a time of 291.004.

The over-the-wall pit crew for Waltrip's team consists of: Brian Chase (jackman), Jeff Opal (gasman), Chris Crumley (front tire changer), Greg Osborne (rear tire changer), Shawn Ward (front tire carrier), Chad Walter (rear tire carrier) and Pete Rondeau (catch can). The team's crew chief is Richard "Slugger" Labbe.

During each 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup points event, the participating team whose car spends the least amount of aggregate time off the race track will be named the weekly winner of the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fuelled by POWERADE, provided the team's driver takes the green flag at the beginning of the event. A timing line at the entrance and exit of pit road triggers the car's transponder and records the total time spent off the racetrack.

The point distribution per race is: 43 for first place, descending in increments of one.

The McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fuelled by POWERADE is the largest monetary contingency program in NASCAR history.

 

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