A shift from “over the wall” to raising the walls
In the morning, a concrete slab stood awaiting a two-story frame on a Habitat for Humanity Charlotte build site. A few short hours later, the first level of Yasin Mohamed’s new Habitat house had been framed out by Kyle Busch and members of his No. 18 M&M’S® Toyota team, in true NASCAR fashion: with speed, accuracy and precision.
“You know, there are no cut corners here; their attention to detail is immaculate,” Busch said of his crew, led by Crew Chief Dave Rogers. “When we go to the race track together, we each have our specific jobs; but we try to help out and overlap each other wherever we can and really pay attention to detail to make sure we’re not missing anything.”
The No. 18 M&M’S® Toyota team was building with Habitat Charlotte as part of M&M’S M’Prove America™ campaign, a year-long partnership with Habitat designed to fund construction of new Habitat homes across the United States.
“To us, racing is everything,” said Rogers. “We do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s so important to work with a sponsor like M&M’S who says ‘Hey guys, put that on the back burner for a day and let’s go down there and help another family out that needs help.’”
Fans can join Busch and M&M’S by pledging to volunteer their time and talents at Habitat for Humanity build sites across the country at www.mproveamerica.com. This year, M&M’S hopes its associates and fans log an ambitious 1.5 million minutes – or 25,000 hours – of volunteer time with Habitat. Fans can also watch for a new paint scheme on Kyle Busch’s car, as the familiar M&M’S characters will don construction gear to help draw attention to M&M’S M’Prove America campaign with Habitat for Humanity. The car made its first appearance in the May 26, 2013, Coca-Cola 600 and will run again at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28, 2013.
“We all come from different backgrounds,” Rogers said. “Some of us grew up doing side projects at home, a couple of our guys have built houses and some of the guys have never held a hammer before. It’s really neat to see the different skill levels coming together and the camaraderie from people picking on each other and giving each other a hard time.”
While both Busch and Rogers are veterans on the NASCAR track, on this mid-May day in Charlotte, they were both rookies on a Habitat build site.
Homeowner Yasin Mohamed, on the site helping raise the first walls on his home, was very pleased with the first-time builders’ efforts.
“Yes!” Mohamed said. “Number 18 – Kyle Busch – He’s building my house! And they are all very nice, so very kind.”
“He’s pretty proud and excited,” Busch said of Mohamed. “He’s in there working and digging with my guys, and they’re having a good time together.”
Rogers came to his first Habitat build with the perspective of a crew chief who oversees clock-busting pit stops during practice and high-pressure race days. He wondered how a volunteer construction crew would manage a house build.
“When you pit a car, you have six guys going over the wall and you know the work flow; you know what each guy is going to do,” Rogers said. “But when you say, ‘Hey guys, let’s go down here and build a house,’ you have no clue where they’re going to go. They didn’t either. We really had to count on the Habitat staff here to point us in the right direction, and they did a really good job. They had the site laid out and it flowed. The bottom floor was pretty near all framed in less than a half a day, so I think things were flowing fairly smoothly.”
“It feels great to help local families fulfill their dreams of homeownership,” said Busch. “I encourage all race fans to join M&M’S in the effort to M’Prove America in their own hometowns, as there are few things in life as rewarding as helping a neighbor.”