CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Jeff Burton's wife was behind the wheel. The rear tire changer joined the team only a day earlier and wasn't sure of his coach's name.
Then makeshift, unique lineup turned out to be perfect, producing an error-free, record performance in the final round to give owner Richard Childress' team the title on Thursday night in NASCAR's Pit Crew Challenge.
The No. 31 Chevrolet's seven-member team changed four tires, put in gas and pushed the car - steered by the petite Kim Burton - 40 yards in an event-best 22.115 seconds. They edged Reed Sorenson's crew to collect $70,000.
Burton's team, which beat Denny Hamlin's crew in the semifinals, will get to make the first pit-row selection for Saturday's All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"These guys work so hard," Jeff Burton said. "I told somebody earlier that 99 percent of the people could not do the fitness program that they do."
Or improvise, either.
In a season where pit-road mishaps have been a recurring theme, Burton's team had been making changes in an up-and-down season. Terry Spalding, formerly of Michael Waltrip Racing, was brought in for a tryout as a tire changer Wednesday after the crew struggled last weekend at Darlington.
Spalding soon was spraying champagne with his new teammates.
"You talk about winning a job," pit crew coach Matt Clark said.
Soon after, Spalding mistakenly called his new coach Mark, producing laughs on the stage as his teammates celebrated.
The rest of the crew included gas man Curt Bowman, catch-can man Andrew Childers, front tire changer Daniel Blizzard, front tire carrier Jon Wallace, rear tire carrier Chris Martin and jackman Adam North
Martin Truex Jr.'s team won three of the four individual categories timed in the first round, worth $10,000 apiece.
Jeff Kerr was the top jackman, lifting both sides of the car in 5.666 seconds; gas man Preston Cordell and catch-can man Eric Hoyle filled the car in 10.072 seconds and front tire changer Dennis Terry and carrier Shannon Keys took 14.855 seconds.
Kyle Busch's team prevented a No. 1 team sweep when rear tire changer Jake Seminara and rear tire carrier Kenny Barber posted a time of 14.900 seconds.
In its fifth year, NASCAR's only sanctioned indoor competition included 24 crews, with the top eight in the Sprint Cup owners standings getting a bye into the second round. Teams faced each other in head-to-head, single-elimination stops.
Held inside at Time Warner Cable Arena, it was far from pit stops you'd see during a race.
There were eight unmarked cars on each side of the arena floor. Teams changed tires on two cars, filled the gas tank with water on another and a jackman lifted the fourth car.
The jackmen then ran to the team's regular cars, lined up side-by-side and pushed it to the finish line as his teammates joined to help after they finished their tasks.
While someone has to steer the car to keep it straight, the lighter that person is the better.
Enter Kim Burton.
"I was just honored that they asked me," she said. "I was really nervous and wanted to make sure I didn't screw that up."
She didn't, and the team was able to avoid time penalties for violations in the final four rounds - a rare sight Thursday and throughout the Sprint Cup season.
From a problem with a tire change for Carl Edwards at Texas to a lug nut mishap with Jeff Gordon at Phoenix to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s series of problems, pit crews have received unusual scrutiny.
None was bigger than when Marcos Ambrose's gas man, Jimmy Watts, chased after a runaway tire at Atlanta, bring out a race-changing caution.
Back from his four-race suspension, Watts cleanly filled his car with gas in the first round, but his No. 47 team was eliminated by Truex's crew.
Earnhardt's pit woes continued when his team just beat 2008 champion Brian Vickers' crew to the finish line, but then lost because of a 5-second penalty for spilled gas.
Busch's team was eliminated in the second round also because of a gas penalty, while Vickers' No. 83 crew knocked out points leader Gordon's team in round two.
The No. 83 team's repeat title hopes ended in the quarterfinals because of two gas penalties. Stewart's team beat Sorenson's car to the finish line in the semifinals, but lost because of a 3-second rear tire penalty.
The steady, mistake-free team was Burton's crew, with a newcomer changing tires and Kim Burton holding the wheel straight.
"We're going to make sure Kim gets a firesuit and a helmet," Clark said. "And if he can't get it done on the track, we'll have to make a driver change."