CONCORD, N.C. — A bounty hunter, hockey player and football player walk into Hendrick Motorsports.
It’s no joke.
Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports celebrated its eighth pit crew development class. Yes, the five-member class included a former bounty hunter/football player, former hockey player, two former football players, and one who came from another organization.
The five new members are:
T.J. Semke – A part-time bounty hunter before playing for the University of Kansas football team. He was a defensive lineman three years and twice earned Academic All-Big 12 second team honors. He’ll be a jackman/fueler.
Mason Harris – Played four years for the University of South Carolina as a defensive end and linebacker. After graduating, he played a season for Kennesaw State while attending graduate school. He will be a tire carrier.
Timmy Hall – Played hockey. He was a forward for the Alaska Aces, Peoria Rivermen, Wheeling Nailers, Indy Fuel. He will be a tire carrier.
Dylan Intemann – An offensive lineman for Wake Forest University. He was a team captain his senior year and a member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll. He will be a fueler/jackman
Austin Holland – Attended Western Carolina University, focusing on his communications study. After graduating, he landed a job as a behind-the-wall pit support member for Roush Fenway Racing for two months. He will be a tire changer.
There were selected among 100 who came to Hendrick Motorsports. The field was whittled to 35 for a three-day minicamp and then cut to 18, 12 and to five.
Keith Flynn, developmental pit crew director for Hendrick Motorsports, said that Intemann will be the fueler and Semke will be the jackman on the No. 0 car of JD Motorsports for Friday night’s Xfinity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Flynn said that “for most part” it’s two years before a development pit crew member works his way to a Sprint Cup car. Hendrick Motorsports has an affiliation with Premium Motorsports to have Hendrick’s second-year developmental pit crew members service the No. 98 Sprint Cup car.
Want more about the former bounty hunter?
Yes, Semke has a story about that.
He got started when he was 18 years old and his mother was dating a bail bondsman.
“He told me a bunch of stories,’’ Semke said. “I’d watch TV shows about it. Of course, me being young … kind of dumb I guess, (I was like) ‘Let me go with you, let me go with you, let me go with you.’
So one night Semke was called and told “this is your shot.’’
Semke was one of about six people who went to get an individual. He was sent to the back of the home, given a flashlight and told to tackle anyone that came out that way.
While in the back, he could hear the others trying to break down the front door without success, so Semke ran to the front and kicked the door down, running in the with the rest of the group.
“We’re running through this house and we’re trying to find this guy,’’ he said. “All of a sudden I hear something upstairs. I run upstairs and this guy was trying to hop out the window. Me and him had a scuffle and put him in handcuffs. Ever since then (his mom’s boyfriend said), ‘You’re coming with us every time now.’
“From then on out, whenever he needed someone to run or it was going to be a more physical type of thing, he would call me and I would go out with him and get the job done.’’