Friday, February 20, 2009

Vickers' gas man young at heart and body

Doug Newell, the gas man for the Brian Vickers' No. 83 Toyota for Red Bull Racing, is one of the oldest crew members, if not the oldest crew members in NASCAR.
He turned 50 in May. Part of the reason he has been able to work on a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pit crew at such a seasoned age is because he started working for Cup team pit crews in his late 30s. He spent much of his early days in NASCAR working for teams in the old Southwest Series and Winston West.
Another reason for Newell's ability to stay in NASCAR into his 50s is because he been active and fit since he was attending Hueneme High School.
"I’ve always played sports and done sports," said Newell, who grew up in Oxnard and was M.K. Kanke's crew chief in the Southwest Series. "All the years I did Southwest Tour racing, I would run or ride bikes for myself. Our races were short. We ran maybe two or three races a year where we actually did pit stops. Back then I was a tire changer. There’s a definite wear and tear factor there, but we didn’t do enough of it to really abuse me."
Newell ran track and cross country in high school. He played a little football and was on his college lacrosse team at Oregon State. He was also on the rowing team at Oregon State. Those low impact sports kept him in good shape and didn't wear down his body like some other sports would.
"Talking to our coach now -- we have a strength and conditioning coach that works with us at Red Bull -- one of the advantages that I’ve had is that all the sports I have played in my life I haven’t played contact sports," Newell said. "The second one is I’m not one of those fanatic workout guys that measure every gram of fat that they eat. For the most part I’ve tried to stay relatively healthy and eat well. I never really went over the wall until I turned 40, as for doing it every week. The fact that I’m doing it at 50, I’ve only been really doing it for 10 years."

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