Jobs in Sports: Quick Career Change

jobs in sports nascar pit crew

NAME: William (Rowdy) Harrell
JOB: Rear-tire carrier for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Sprint Cup team
WHAT YOU DO: Lug a tire over the wall; place it on the car for the rear-tire changer to secure; swap old tire for a fresh one for the other side. Place it on the car. Make adjustments as necessary.

William Harrell figured his life as a competitor was through when he graduated from college in 2013. A standout linebacker at Hale County High in Alabama, Harrell — better known as Rowdy — had walked on at the University of Alabama, where he was a situational player and a scout team ace. Most NFL scouts considered Harrell (at 6-feet, 221 pounds) too small to survive in the league, so he hoped to be a Bama strength-and-conditioning assistant.
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Exclusive First Look: Jeff Gordon Zooms Onto Disney XD’s “Penn Zero”

  • Jumbotron
  • Dante A. Ciampaglia
  • August 7, 2015, 2:31 PM

jeff gordon nascar disney xd penn zero

NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon is known for his moves on the track. But next week, he’s going to show us what he can do from the broadcast booth. Well, sort of.

On Monday, Gordon lends his voice to Disney XD’s animated show Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero. In the episode “Chuckle City 500,” Penn Zero and a few other characters compete in a clown-style race to see who will become the next mayor of Chuckle City. And calling the race is a rodeo clown announcer, a mustachioed joker in a barrel brought to life by Jeff Gordon.

Check out an exclusive clip from the episode:
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16-Year-Old Cole Custer is NASCAR’s Youngest Winner

  • The Arena
  • Dante A. Ciampaglia
  • September 22, 2014, 10:30 AM

cole custer nascar camping world truck series

Some history was made this weekend on NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series. In Saturday’s UNOH 175 in Loudon, New Hampshire,16-year-old Cole Custer took the checkered flag to become the youngest driver to win a race in Camping World Truck Series history. It was only his seventh start on the tour, and he led for 148 of the race’s 175 laps.

"I've been coming to these races since I was really young," Custer said after his victory. "I've looked up to this series and everybody who races in this series, and I couldn't even imagine racing here and even winning a race. I can't even explain how amazing this is."

One of the drivers Custer defeated was Erik Jones, who had held the youngest-driver-to-win record. (Jones was 17 when he won a race in Phoenix last November.) 

Here’s some footage of this historic final laps:
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Brendan Canning

Ryan Reed’s Race Against Diabetes

ryan reed nascar diabetes

More than 18 million Americans, including 215,000 children, have heard the heartbreaking news that they have diabetes. Diabetes is a lifelong disease that causes high levels of blood sugar in the body and affects everything you do -- from the sports you play, the activities you participate in, even the food you eat.

NASCAR driver Ryan Reed grew up on a racetrack. His dad, Mark, was also a driver and Ryan couldn’t wait to follow in his father’s footsteps. So when he found out he had type 1 diabetes in February 2011, he thought his dream had disappeared. But Ryan was 17 years old and it would take more than diabetes to stop him from getting behind the wheel. He fought back, and now he's a rookie NASCAR driver and showing everyone that nothing can stop hard work and dedication.

SI Kids recently interviewed Ryan about racing, life with diabetes, and how he fought back from diabetes to follow his dream. 
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Racing Phenom Kyle Larson Talks to SI Kids

  • The Arena
  • Dante A. Ciampaglia
  • November 18, 2013, 12:51 PM

kyle larson nascar

Kyle Larson is a rising star in NASCAR. The 21-year-old completed his first full season in the Nationwide Series this weekend, racking up four second-place finishes, nine top-five finishes, and 17 top-10 finishes — which was good enough to earn Larson the Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year award. He's the first Japanese-American to be named Rookie of the Year, as well as the first member of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity Program to win the honor.

Larson has had the attention of the racing world for a few years. He has been compared to racing icons Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, and has been called NASCAR's next great driver. Gordon himself has said he's "blown away" by Larson's talent behind the wheel. "He makes me look like nothing," Gordon said earlier this year. "The kid is really spectacular. I think he's the rawest, most talented race car driver that I know of."

Next season, racing fans will see how good Larson really is. He makes the jump to the Sprint Cup, driving the No. 42 Chevy SS for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. (He's currently a development driver on the team.) And for a sport that has struggled to attract young people, Larson could be the boost NASCAR needs to turn into its next great era.

Sports Illustrated Kids spoke to Larson on November 8, a day after he helped unveil a newly renovated library at Palm Lane Elementary School in Phoenix. He talked about the event, his career in racing, and his excitement for climbing into the No. 42 car next season.
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Darrell Wallace: The First Black Driver to Win a NASCAR Race Since 1963

  • The Arena
  • Dante A. Ciampaglia
  • October 28, 2013, 11:08 AM

darrell wallace nascar

History was made in Virginia on Saturday when NASCAR driver Darrell Wallace, Jr., won the Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200 race at Martinsville Speedway. By claiming the checkered flag, Wallace became only the second black driver to ever win a NASCAR touring series race. The only other black driver to do that was Wendell Scott in 1963.

When Scott won, his victory came in Florida during the days of segregation. That meant he was kept out of Victory Lane. But 50 years later, Wallace celebrated like any other driver who won his first race — alongside his team and with tons of excitement!
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NASCAR Driver Joey Logano's Faves

  • The Arena
  • Dante A. Ciampaglia
  • July 22, 2013, 4:03 PM

joey logano nascar lab rats

NASCAR drive Joey Logano is a champ on the track, but how will he stand up against the demands of a TV show? We'll find out tonight at 9 p.m. when Logano guest stars on the Disney XD show Lab Rats! But before he makes his big Disney debut, Logano took some time to share some of his favorite things with SI Kids. Check out the list below, then watch a preview of his appearance on Lab Rats!
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