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It's the Pits!



It's the Pits!
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grade 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.2

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    mid-week, radiator, sunscreen, tear-off, windshield, impressed, sunglasses, saying, tires, actually, chief, jobs, races, technician, guys, exactly
     content words:    NASCAR Race, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt


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It's the Pits!
By Beth Beutler
  

1     "Hi, Mr. Billings," I called to my neighbor across the street. Mr. Billings spent a lot of time outdoors, working on his dirt track car. He raced nearly every weekend.
 
2     I strolled across the street to Mr. Billings' driveway.
 
3     "I'm going to my first NASCAR Race on Sunday," I said.
 
4     "That's great, Benjamin. You'll have a ball. Do you have ear plugs?" Mr. Billings picked up a wrench.
 
5     I grinned and said, "Yes, sir. My uncle says it's much louder than I can imagine."
 
6     "Your uncle is correct. But, with ear plugs, you can enjoy the race without it bothering your ears too much. Who's your favorite driver?"
 
7     "I like several. Jimmie Johnson seems pretty cool. I like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. too."
 
8     "I used to work on a pit crew," Mr. Billings surprised me by saying.
 
9     "Cool!"
 
10     "Yes, it was. But, it was also a lot of work and travel. I stopped after a few years because it was hard on the family. Plus, now I can actually race."
 
11     I leaned against the wall of the garage. "What was it like to be on a pit crew?"
 
12     "Well, we had to leave mid-week to head to the next race location. We set up shop and worked on getting the race car exactly the way we wanted it. At some races, we could only work on the car up until qualifying, and then they took the car into a secure area. That's called ‘impounding' it.
 
13     "On the day of the race, we'd get up early and run through our jobs. Mine was taking care of the windshield and the front radiator. I would either pull off the protective tear-off or do a quick wipe of the windshield, and I'd also wipe down the grill in front of the radiator. Other guys would gas the car, make quick pressure adjustments, and change tires. We did all of that in under 20 seconds, if we did it right."

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