Day in Life of Lepp 2.0 Day 1

Posted: April 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

Many of my followers and readers come here from getting to know me via my role as athletic director and coach at Joe Gibbs Racing. Yesterday one of those followers sent me an email saying I was too serious lately. (FYI, I post my email addresses, so I invite anyone to “invade” Lepp world”) All of this health stuff, eating right, medical scares, physiology etc you are boring us! Through my posts on Twitter, many follow me because I was “amusing” and shared some behind the scenes information about my most recent primary sandbox, – NASCAR.

Well, sorry to disappoint! Earlier this month, I turned 55 years old. 55 seemed like a good age to reflect a bit, and during this process I realized 2011 was also my 30th year as a “professional” at something! I finished grad school in 1981 , and since then I have worked/played in medicine (cardiology), health and fitness, professional soccer, NBA, pro cycling/endurance, own my own company, and now motor-sports, specifically NASCAR. I drove my father, who grew up during the depression, and worked for one company his whole life, absolutely crazy. Dad was not a risk taker. “Michael, you have to do one thing good and stick with it, find a career and company and stick with it.” Sorry dad. Its kind of funny, I still deal with this perplexing paradox. When I came to JGR, many in my endurance coaching sandbox wanted to know why I would move to that “blue-collar” world of driving cars in a circle. Snobs. What could my eccentric, quirky constantly innovating (or trying to) mind contribute to making 7 guys fill a race car with 18 gallons of fuel and change 4 tires in less than 13 seconds? You make people pedal and run fast. What the hell are you doing with your life?  As you would expect, racing people wanted to know the same thing. One pit crew coach, who still goes “over the wall” for another team and posts a popular blog, actually said he would never pit a race car for a coach who had never actually competed in a race.
I still love you Trent. 5 years into this phase, I still face many in this sport who think that I can’t do this job. I am over it and let our results at JGR speak for themselves. We have some of the best crews in the sport and I am proud of Paul and all of our support staff who have made this a fun adventure.

So, that said, a little deviation for the next few days. I am going to make my emailing friend happy. Not sure if its going to be funny. Beginning with this post I will give you and idea what 7 days is like for me, the good, the bad and ugly. Not a ton of detail. Most of you who know me personally realize I can talk for hours (I think my phone # is still on my FB account, but don’t call me, I hate talking on phones.) These posts will integrate my continuing journey of health improvement and my current role as JGR athletic director and coach. 7 days in the life. One post a day.

This link will give some of my followers who don’t realize what I currently do and/or do not follow racing a general framework of JGR and racing.

Day 1
This week is atypical  for me because we did not race in the cup series and had last week “off”. One of 3 during the marathon season lasting from Valentines Day to Thanksgiving.  Off meant I still worked 5 days and put together contingency/development pit crews for our 3 Nationwide series cars that raced at Nashville.
6-8 am – Wake, read the news on iPad, and head for work. I decided to park my car this week and walk to work (about 1.225 miles) Starbucks is on way, so I get my grande Red Eye with heavy cream, eat a handful of macadamia nuts, drink a bottle of Dasani (NASCAR people plug their sponsors)

8am – Usually take about 30 minutes to review my notes from earlier in the week or previous race. (I keep tons of notes. I write everything down, mostly ideas, random thoughts, but also specifics on my athletes, competitors, previous race observations. Basically anything to get a potential advantage over the competition or make my athletes better.
I met with my assistant and partner Paul to go over yesterdays practice and what was on the practice plan for today. Since all of our cup teams will pit the Nationwide cars this weekend, that’s 3 practices in the afternoon. We are also providing a pit crew of our development team to Inception Motorsports – David Streme. This loan program gives us the ability to develop talent and give live “reps” to our young talent.

10 am – Travel is huge part of this sport. Took an hour to work on travel schedule for our crews along with hotel etc. and reviewed projected rosters for races in June.

11 am – We get new talent from 3 sources. Athletes (often from other pro sports) that we teach and develop, free agency (yes, we track talent on other teams via various methods – top-secret) and training guys who are currently “unemployed”. We have a relationship with Kyle Busch Motorsports and use this team as a “minor league” development opportunity. This morning, I looked at our talent pool for KBM and the arrival of Kimi Raikkonen at the Charlotte race at the end of May. May seems like it would be easy since we are racing at “home” in Charlotte, but it is the hardest month of the year. Reviewed appearances schedule etc; for teams related to Pit Crew Competition. Ordered some new top-secret stuff. I am Dr. Evil.

Lunch – Walked home. Lunch of some scrambled eggs, spinach and bacon. Enough said. Dasani water with Nuun tab.

1-3 pm – Worked on human resource paperwork, looked at new shoe prototype from HiTec (our shoe sponsor), reviewed some new hi-definition helmet cams that can possibly be live blue toothed to iPad (very cool), more travel issues for Richmond.

3-5:30 pm – Watched some of practice, final details for 4th crew (Streme), met with engineering department on miscellaneous issues and special projects, developed protocols for new heart rate monitors being worn this weekend and protocols on how to use Zeo Sleep monitors on crew starting in June. Got ride home with my best friend and colleague Paul.

7-10pm Watched DVR replay of Champions Cup Soccer. I am a fan of Manchester United and we won. Grilled burger, guacamole, homemade slaw, bowl of strawberries with cream. Corona. Reading. I read all the time. See my previous blog. Briefly scanned DVR for Nascar Now. I typically avoid Nascar media, and specifically just look for human performance recon on other teams. I look for information on other crews anywhere I can. One of our number one recruits for next year was discovered by me seeing a pit crew practice shown on Inside NASCAR on Showtime. My favorite. Keep up the good work NASCAR Media Group. Shhh. 10-midnight – Goodnight.


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