Dale Earnhardt Jr's pit crew made a late-season charge to capture the 2003 McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fuelled by POWERade.

For winning the championship, Earnhardt's pit crew will collect a $200,000 bonus. The check presentation will take place on Friday December 5th in New York during the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria.

With five McDonald's/POWERade race victories that paid $20,000 each, Earnhardt's pit crew earned a total of $300,000 in the season-long championship.

Earnhardt's crew edged Michael Waltrip's pit crew to claim the inaugural championship that recognized and honoured the unsung heroes in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Earnhardt's team collected 1,243 points while Waltrip's team totalled 1,230.

The two DEI crews waged an impressive battle with both teams entering last week's season finale in Homestead tied in points.

"At the first of the year when we found out about the McDonald's/POWERade program, everybody got pumped up and had something to shoot for," said Tony Eury, crew for Earnhardt's team. "We never dreamed that it was going to come down to a battle with our own teammate. Both teams put a lot effort into this and it was sure nice of McDonald's and POWERade to recognize their efforts. We are proud to be the first champions of the program."

Earnhardt's over-the-wall crew consists of: Jeff Clark (gasman), Kevin Pennell (jackman), Phil Drye (front tire changer), Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier), Jay Guarneri (rear tire changer), Troy Prince (rear tire carrier), Bill Snyder (catch can). Assisting Eury with the crew chief duties is the team's car chief Tony Eury Jr. Walt Smith is the pit crew coach at DEI.

In Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Sterling Marlin's pit crew won the McDonald's/POWERade championship.

Marlin's No. 40 Dodge spent the least amount of time on pit road - 220.757 seconds. Bill Elliott's Dodge was second at 229.941and Jamie McMurray's Dodge was third at 246.539.

Marlin's over-the-wall pit crew consists of: Steven Wolfe (front tire changer), Trent Davis (front tire carrier), Mike Atwell (rear tire changer), Tim Shore (rear tire carrier), Greg Pasi (jackman), Jerry Schweitz (gasman) and Rick Reling (catch can). The crew chief is Lee McCall and the team trainer is Al Shuford.