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Cocopah Speedway hosts The Pit Crew Challenge

Pit Crews and drivers compete in the Pit Crew Challenge at the IMCA Winter Nationals.

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Week two of the IMCA Winter Nationals kicked off on Tuesday with the Pit Crew Challenge at Cocopah Speedway.

"It is something completely different," Cocopah Speedway promoter Brad Whitfield said. "You aren't just coming to the race track and racing your race. This gets the pit crews involved that doesn't normally happen. The crews do their jobs up in the pits. This here they are on the wall, they get to come over the wall, get to the car, tvs are on them. It gets them involved and it gets them pysched up."

The challenge featured pit crews changing tires, then having a driver complete one lap around the race track. The crew with the fastest time was the winner. 

"It doesn't sound complicated, but when you are under pressure it adds a lot of mental game. Normally we have all kinds of time to do it. So, you never think about it. You just have to be smooth. No mistakes, just like racing a car."

Whitfield created this event five years ago to honor the memory of his brother, Gene Freeman.

"In 2016 my brother gene passed away with glioblastoma and i raced with him for about 27 years," Whitfield said. "There is a lot of memorial races out there and i didn't want to do that. I wanted to do something a little bit different. I woke up real early one morning and thought of a way in the racing industry to honor my brother and that was the Pit Crew Challenge:" 

"It is just a great deal for everyone to get together and remember him and have fun," Gene's other brother Ted Freeman said. "My brother was a long time racer and just lived for competition and this is a good deal for him." 

Vo: the competition has grown over the years with more and more crews getting involved 

Sot (grey ferrando): "It's a good time. I enjoy getting in the pits and changing tires, helping people the whole time. This was a good challenge and it was a good time."

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Chas Messman

Chas Messman joined KYMA in July 2023 as News 11’s Sports Director. If you have any sports story ideas, send them to


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