Ingersoll Rand’s History in Racing

Over fifty years of Ingersoll-Rand Impacts in the PITS

Ingersoll Rand has a long history in auto racing. The association surrounds the use of air tools in building and maintaining cars and more importantly, transitioning cars through the pits at races as fast as possible. The most prominent tool used is Ingersoll Rand’s classic impact wrench. Known as Impactools™, or “Impact Guns,” these wrenches enable the quick removal and refastening of lugnuts that secure the wheels on racecars. What follows is a crew chief’s explanation of what occurs in a pit stop.

A typical pit stop requires changing four tires and filling the car with 22 gallons of racing fuel. In order to do that we use IR Thunderguns to remove 20 lugnuts, pull off four hot 75-pound Goodyear Eagles, slam four new Eagles onto the hubs and reinstall 20 lugnuts while a guy empties two 11-gallon cans of fuel weighing 100 pounds apiece into the fuel cell. Our challenge is to accomplish this task in 14 seconds or less. If you lose 1/10th of a second in a pit stop, you lose two places on the racetrack. If you lose 2/10ths, that’s 60 feet on the racetrack and you’re out of the lead draft. That can cost you a race and a championship.”

Ingersoll Rand Impactools™ provide the power, speed, and durability necessary to perform pit changeovers in winning times under the pressure just described. The fact that practically every NASCAR team uses Ingersoll Rand Impacts is widely known. Ingersoll Rand has worked with the drivers, mechanics, engineers, and pit crewmembers to earn the confidence of racing teams through a long and illustrious history of air tool excellence.

Beginning in 1959, Howard Hurd Pit Tools and Equipment (Ingersoll-Rand’s exclusive racing tool distributor and service center) was at Daytona International Speedway for it’s grand opening. By the following year the late Howard Hurd (died in 2000) was working out of the garage area selling and servicing the Ingersoll Rand 405, the Impactool that revolutionized NASCAR pit stop tire changing. Throughout the 1960’s Hurd’s mobile home was a familiar sight at racing events. In the meantime, Ingersoll Rand engineers were working on the next generation of wrenches. They added the famed “twin hammer” impact mechanism to the Impactool design in 1972.

The Ingersoll Rand 231 was the first Impactool released with the twin hammer impact mechanism, and has become the best selling impact wrench of all time. Ingersoll Rand’s 231 is used by more professional mechanics than any other around the world.

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An Ingersoll Rand 231 was adapted to honor the legendary Cale Yarborough in 1980, and generally every major Winston Cup crew embraced a modified version of the 231, known as the “fastest gun around,” to give them ultra performance throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1995, Ingersoll Rand entered into a relationship with Ray Evernham, Crew Chief for Jeff Gordon and the “Rainbow Warriors” pit crew, made famous as Gordon’s Dupont car took the checkered flag time and again during an unparalleled period of victories in the mid-1990’s.

Ray helped Ingersoll Rand introduce the Thunder Gun, the latest generation of pit stop tire changing tools in 1998. The Thunder Gun offers the highest performance available on the racing circuit today.

Ingersoll Rand continues to invest in racing and recently announced a sponsorship agreement with JR Motorsports #88 car driven by Cole Whitt for the 2012 Nationwide Series. In addition, a new hauler will be supporting the Thundergun at every NASCAR race this year. Customers will have the opportunity to win the “Thundergun Experience”, a unique race day experience, through a variety of promotional contests in 2012.

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