Professional Sports

North Carolina Athletic Trainer a NASCAR Pioneer


Professional Sports

North Carolina Athletic Trainer a NASCAR Pioneer

Phil Horton isn’t your average coach. In fact, you could call him a pioneer in NASCAR. Before him, there was no such thing as a Pit Crew Coach. Now every major NASCAR team has one.

Horton began working in NASCAR as an athletic trainer in the late 90’s after working as an athletic trainer for several colleges and with the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA.

He was a huge NASCAR fan as a kid, and after leaving the Bucks and moving back to North Carolina, where he grew up, he decided to give a career in racing a shot.

“I wanted to take everything I knew as an athletic trainer and sports medicine, and strength coach to the public,” said Horton. “I got into NASCAR as Ernie Irvan’s personal trainer and athletic trainer and strength coach.”

After a couple years, Horton saw an opportunity to add something new to the sport, a Pit Crew Coach.

As a Pit Crew Coach he brought a philosophy of focusing on the fundamentals for pit crew members.

His philosophy and reputation quickly grew. He became the Pit Crew Coach for several notable drivers including Juan Pablo Montoya, Dale Jarrett, and Elliot Sadler.

Horton earned 38 NASCAR wins and a Camping World Truck Series Championship in 2010.

After about 15 years, Horton decided it was time to leave the circuit, but not the sport. He is currently the Director of Athletic Performance at Rev Racing, and the Pit Crew Coach for Drive for Diversity.

“Everyone should have to be a part of this sport,” said Horton.

So three days a week, for several hours a night, Horton is right around the corner from the Charlotte Motor Speedway, in Concord, North Carolina, teaching his philosophy to the next generation of pit crew members and drivers in hopes it will help them break into the sport that took him on the ride of a lifetime.