LIFTMASTER HOSTS SKILLS COMPETITION
Albemarle Fire Department Wins LiftMaster Skills Competition
Charlotte-area fire departments went head-to-head in the LiftMaster® Skills Competition at Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday, battling for bragging rights and a garage door system overhaul for their department as part of an event highlighting similarities between firefighting and motorsports.
Four-man teams from Charlotte, Kannapolis, Albemarle and Mt. Holly fire departments competed in two timed skills competitions – a 75-foot aerial climb in full turnout gear and a 150-foot hose drag – as NASCAR motorsports analyst Jeff Hammond emceed the day’s event. After the timed competitions, teams went head-to-head in two elimination rounds, executing NASCAR pit stops with instruction from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray and his Earnhardt Ganassi Racing pit crew.
In the final elimination round, the Albemarle Fire Department completed its pit stop one second faster than second-place Kannapolis, to win the inaugural LiftMaster® Skills Challenge.
“It’s an honor just to be invited out here today,” said Tony Russell, Battalion Chief with the City of Albemarle Fire Department. “We’re really excited to win. What LiftMaster’s® doing here today is a great thing.”
LiftMaster® also invited the winning team to watch the Coca-Cola 600 on May 27 in the LiftMaster® suite and announced that McMurray, who drives the No. 1 LiftMaster® Chevrolet, and his pit crew will wear the winning team’s firehouse number and logo on their helmets during the race.
“I think it’s very cool to let them be in the spotlight, to let us see what they do and then to let them experience a little bit of the pit crew side,” McMurray said. “It looks easy on TV, but when you actually get out there, it’s a lot harder than it looks.”
Also during the event, LiftMaster® announced plans to recognize firefighters across the Charlotte region during LiftMaster® Pole Day on May 24, with a special parade lap showcasing some of the departments’ finest trucks. In addition, more than 4,500 regional firefighters will be given complimentary tickets to Pole Day.
“I think we share something in common with fire departments, and that’s safety and community,” said Neal Villarian, corporate sponsorship and event marketing manager for LiftMaster®. “This is our outreach to recognize what they do and tie in not only the racing, but the business end of our venture here.”