Profiles

My Other Life: Crystal Smith, racing crew chief

A Woman With Drive: “The car is our baby,” says Crystal Smith, owner of Polished & Pampered in New Oxford, Pa., and crew chief for her husband’s race car, a 1979 Chevy Camaro.

“The car is our baby,” says Crystal Smith, owner of Polished & Pampered in New Oxford, Pa., and crew chief for her husband’s race car, a 1979 Chevy Camaro. “I met my husband James at a car show when I was 17. He took me to my first drag race just to watch and I had a blast. We eventually bought our car and slowly built it as our budget allowed and eventually started racing.”

Smith’s duties as crew chief are too numerous to list in full. For starters, she helps get the car ready for each pass down the track by fueling it up and checking tire pressure. “I then tow my husband and the car to the lanes with our four-wheeler,” she says. “As we wait for our turn to make a pass I keep track of the weather conditions. From the lanes I direct him to where he does his ‘burn out’ and help him stage the car by putting him in the beams on the starting line. I then get beside the car and videotape the run.”

Once back at their pit, Smith helps to take off the front end of the car that exposes the motor. “I personally read the spark plugs, change the jetting on the carburetors if necessary, help with clutch maintenance, and I pack the parachute,” she says. “My duties also consist of normal womanly things like packing clothes and making food for each race event, but I like being hands-on and helping with everything. I don’t mind getting dirty and I love that my husband trusts me enough to actually work on the car without supervision.”

“We have won several races, finished in the top 10 in points several years in a row, and the car recently made the cover of an international racing magazine. But to me the great achievement is getting as far as we have by ourselves.”

Check them out at www.jscracing.com.

Keywords:   My Other Life  

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