Pre-Race: Race to the Sprint Cup

The clock struck noon on Thursday, and a horde of itinerant crew chiefs, engineers, and mechanics mobbed the row of semitruck trailers lining Kentucky Speedway’s infield. They were focused, ready to get to work on their respective cars for the Quaker State 400, part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

I’m here to document the race and tell the story of a growing relationship between Furniture Row Racing and World Vision. In the process, I’m learning more than I ever expected to learn about NASCAR and racing culture. I was responsible for making a follow up video for Youtube. I ended up using Final Cut, the Best Video Editing Software for YouTube in my opinion . You can look up the video on youtube by searching Sprint Cup #72.

Race day is two days away. Car and team have to be perfect if they want to compete. While the tone is mellow across the sprawling landscape of campers, RVs, parking lots, and team memorabilia trailers, it’s all business in the garage.This is the first of three races for which the owner of Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 78 car, Barney Visser, is wrapping the car in a different design to highlight World Vision’s work to help children and families in need in the United States and around the world. While the team could make big money from sticking other sponsors’ colors on the car, Visser, a longtime partner with World Vision, is giving it all up to raise the profile of a cause dear to his heart.

First order: get the 3,500-pound racing machine safely from the top shelf of the team’s 53-foot trailer onto the ground 12 feet below and roll it into the garage to prep for the official inspection.

“You always get a little knot in your throat until it hits those chalks, there [on the lift],” says Jim “Jungle” Gilbert, who operates the lift that lowers Furniture Row Racing’s No. 78 car to the ground.

“Jungle” hauls the cars and equipment from race to race. A weekend racing habit in his youth turned into a full-time gig 27 years ago. He has since worked just about every possible job on crews for drivers, such as Bobby Labonte, Joe Gibbs, Tony Stewart, and Kurt Busch. A mechanic to the core, he’s full of stories.

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