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First Chance For Gas

Today, at 8 a.m., the gates to the Winston Cup garage at New Hampshire...

Today, at 8 a.m., the gates to the Winston Cup garage at New Hampshire International Speedway will be unlocked and crew members for 43 Winston Cup cars will pour in and begin preparations for the New England 300.

It's the start of a 10-hour workday for most of them.

When the race is over and the cars and equipment are loaded back onto the trucks, the crews will hop on chartered planes and be back in North Carolina, maybe before dark. Well, most them.

The first 10 hours are just the first shift for Stafford native Peter Jellen, the gasman and truck driver for defending Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte.

When everything is loaded onto the massive, bright green 18-wheeler that hauls Labonte's cars around the country, the crew will head for the airport - except for Jellen.

By the time his teammates are pulling into their driveways at home, Jellen will be lucky if he's out of Connecticut. He'll be happy to be home before lunch on Monday.

After a day pouring fuel into Labonte's car, Jellen will get behind the wheel of the truck for the ride back to Joe Gibbs Racing in Huntersville, N.C.