NASCAR Pit Crews Train Marines

April 28, 2004 -- Some of NASCAR's fastest pit crews are using their expertise to help out with the war on terror.

Pit crews at the Twentynine Palms racetrack in California are working with Marine combat helicopter crews on speeding up their refueling and rearming procedures. The auto specialists have the ideal training for this job.

"Every little second counts toward losing and winning, and it's the same in battlefield," said trainer Al Shuford.

Speed Specialists

In the world of auto racing, if a pit crew can save even hundredths of a second, it could mean a first-place finish at the racetrack.

For combat helicopter crews, speed is equally critical, so they are learning efficiency tips from the very people who make their living on quickness and efficiency.

"We have pit crews who service our car on the track, and everything is done for speed," said Rob Winchester of Team Rensi Racing. "And the same thing is true here for combat helicopters for arming and refueling."

Most Marine Corps helicopters have a range of 100 to 300 miles, making pit stops a necessity when in enemy territory. Every second wasted could bring helicopter crews closer to disaster, as helicopters refueling on the battlefield are literally sitting targets.

While the stakes are higher for Marines, the need for speed remains the same.

"Our pit stops rely on winning or losing the race," said NASCAR analyst Benny Parsons. "[Helicopter] pit stops are a little more critical than that."

ABCNEWS's Rob McMillan contributed to this report.