By: Holly Golembiewski @KateMossRadio
They’re heavy, and it’s physically demanding to handle them, especially with the pressure of completing a fast pit stop. She doesn’t only change one of them, she changes a pair – the rear tires. Liz Snyder is a pit crew member for the No. 62 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car of Brendan Gaughan, No. 70 NASCAR Xfinity Series car with Derrike Cope, and the No. 94 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series truck with Wendell Chavous.
Snyder, 25, was always interested in racing since a young girl. She would watch her father, a huge influence in her life, work with a race team. She was hooked. In 2007, she moved from California to North Carolina, only three months after her 18th birthday. She didn’t immediately have any luck, so she worked at various oil change businesses as a stepping stone to achieve her dream.
The racing world isn’t an easy one to get into, and that in itself demands patience. Liz was patient for five years, when in 2012 she started her racing career.
Snyder landed an internship at Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing. It wasn’t long before she worked her way up to being a full time employee in the shop and at the track (this girl knows her stuff).
Snyder began changing rear tires for JJCR at the fall Kentucky truck race in 2012. The team made budget cuts in 2013 (very common in the sport of racing), and Snyder left JJCR at that time. She then did some freelance work the rest of the season with a few teams in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series.
Snyder also went to the Xcalibur pit school to perfect her abilities as a pit crew member. Her goal was to improve her over the wall speed and accuracy.
Her actual job description from NASCAR is “Removes and replaces the right rear tire, using an air-powered impact wrench on the five lug nuts. She then moves to the opposite side of the car to change the left rear tire.”
Snyder was introduced to Jay Robinson while working over the wall for a couple races with Cope when she was asked to pit for his No. 66 Cup team in Bristol, and she did. It was the first Cup race that she did so, and since then, has been over the wall as a rear change in all of NASCAR’s major series.
Snyder’s best finishes are 19th in Cup with Michael Waltrip in 2014, 13th in Xfinity (Nationwide) with Cope in 2014, and 13th in the NCWTS with Bryan Silas in 2013.
Snyder also understands that because the job is so physically demanding, that it’s something that she can’t do forever, even if she wanted to. Also, she notes that an injury could change everything.
So what does Snyder plan on doing? After her career as a rear tire changer, she said she may want to be a pit coach (I can see her as a crew chief, too), continue working on cars in some capacity, and my most favorite – designing women’s clothing for mechanics and pit crew members. Liz told me that the shirts just don’t fit properly, and I am sure that sometimes can be quite uncomfortable.
Snyder is married, and in her spare time likes to travel and hike. Of course, she loves working on cars and is building a ’34 Chevy.
“Watch me because I can do it (change a rear tire) better than most of them (men),” and I have. I watched her do her thing at both Pocono races this past summer, and she’s right on. With her small size and being quick on her feet, Snyder really DOES do it “better than most.”