NASCAR is racing on dirt today. Their trucks are running at the high-speed Eldora Speedway tonight and it's not quite a dirt track so much as a mud track.
It rained last night, so what was a lightly dusty, tacky clay yesterday has become a thick, muddy mess. That means that these cars are sliding all the way through turns, and it means that huge clumps of dirt end up filling every crevice in these faux-pickups.
"It's not the mud you used to play with when you were a kid," one mechanic tells me, shovel full of dirt in hand. I ask him how much he takes off the car. "A lot. Maybe 60 pounds. I feel like I'm shoveling elephant shit."
You think of how engineers try and shave ounces from different components, but these mechanics can take off huge amounts of weight just pulling mud clumps from wheel wells.
Every crew member is splattered in mud and each time a truck pulls back into the pits, they swarm the thing with picks and scrapers. Mud fills up handfuls, shovels, trash bins, buckets.
It's a physical tie to the track, kind of an old school twist to the maintenance on these racecars.
Photo Credits: Raphael Orlove