The 'A Team' helps Hendrick Motorsports see the world more clearly

Friday, Nov 21 1700


In the high stakes world of professional sports, being able to see what is coming towards you clearly and easily is essential. Whether it is a hockey puck, baseball, or speeding race car, the ability to act quickly without having to worry about your eyes can be the difference between winning and losing.

On Thursday, November 20, Alcon visited the sprawling campus of Hendrick Motorsports in Concord, North Carolina to subject the crewmen as well as assembled media to a litany of tests designed to help determine visual acuity. These tests included state of the art computer diagnosis as well as physical challenges that challenged even the most athletic individuals and demonstrated the importance of hand eye coordination in the world of auto racing.

The team of optometrists, also known as the A Team, was put together by Florida based Dr. Don Teig. He and his colleagues hope to revolutionize the fast growing field of athletic vision testing. They currently work with professional golfers, hockey teams, and football teams, but Hendrick is their first foray into the world of Motorsports. This shouldn't surprise anyone, as the team has always been on the cutting edge of racing.

Crew members whose vision was less than perfect were fitted with the latest in contact lens technology - Alcon Dailies Total 1. These lenses have been proven to help athletes improve vision skills while executing their sport.

Since the days of Ray Everham and the rainbow warriors, Hendrick Motorsports has approached the sport a little differently. They were the first team to recruit upper echelon athletes from college as well as professional teams to join their pit crews. The fact that they have decreased the amount of time a car is on pit road from more than a minute in the late 1980s to just over 10 seconds today shows that they must be doing something right!

Anyone who doubts the athleticism of the over the wall crew will think twice after they see them in action first hand. One of the main activities of the day was a pit stop competition that pitted two teams of assembled media and corporate representatives against each other in a test to see who could change a tire the fastest. The Winning time was just over 20 seconds, which doesn't sound too bad until you compare it to the pit crew time of 14 seconds for all 4 tires AND fuel!

The group was also given a tour of the teams' headquarters by pit coach Andy Papathanassiou. Following the guided tour, we visited the museum and gift shop, which has something for every race fan. From the winning cars to trophies and other memorabilia, the facility is a shrine to the best of NASCAR past and present.

The day ended with a ride-along at the Charlotte Motor Speedway with the Richard Petty Experience. It is truly amazing to feel how more than 600 horsepower machines travel around the mile and a half banked oval at top speeds of 165 MPH. 

Speedway Digest would like to thank Cohn and Wolfe, Alcon, and Hendrick Motorsports for allowing me to cover this event. I would also like to offer a special thank you to the more than 100000 readers who have shared in my love of Motorsports this year. I look forward to bigger and better things in 2015!

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

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