This excerpt is from Chapter 6: Star Gazing of
 A Little Bit Sideways by Scott Huler. The book takes you behind the scenes of NASCAR racing in 1997. In this short piece, the author is describing the masterful mechanics who quickly make repairs behind the scenes. 

The mechanics coming in the door to work are the mechanics who have something extra to do, like Newt Moore, who’s performing a little liposuction on that hippy right front fender on the number 81 car. Kenny [Wallace] pleaded with him to cut the entire front end off and move it 1/2 inch to the left, but Newt did little more than issue a disapproving stare. If the driver needs the right front to catch a little less air, he can do something about that. He takes out a reciprocating saw powered by an air hose and has at it, making angled slices into the fender like it’s a pizza.

Busch cars are practicing, roaring around out on the track, but in the garage Newt focuses on that fender like it’s the only thing in the world. He makes the cuts, then uses ball-peen hammers to make sure the remaining pieces are set just how he wants them. He clamps them, hooks up the welder from the crash cart, then spot-welds the fender back together a little tighter. Next comes a sander, then some body filler, which causes a moment of joking about how much body filler mechanics run across. “Stirred it, applied it, ate it, snorted it,” Newt laughs. “That’s why we’re here in the first place.” The Bondo gets sanded, reapplied, sanded again. It’s a little late in the game for painting, so blue duct tape the exact color of the car finish will do the trick. Then comes a layer of wide, clear tape. Then a fresh new Goodyear decal, and then the car has a right front fender that’s a little closer to what the driver wants.

It’s almost poetic. Watching Newt address that fender, the economy of motion, the volume of intention visible behind his actions, you can feel like you suddenly recognize him. Not him personally, or any of the mechanics personally, but like you suddenly understand who they are.

They’re guys who know how to make things work. Guys who took shop in high school and meant it. Guys who built those little electrical buzzers in science class and then took them home and turned them into doorbells. Guys who learned how to weld. Guys who could rebuild lawnmower engines or construct garages. Guys who can make things happen.