NASCAR Cup Series
Why Not? Inside Trackhouse and Ross Chastain's Martinsville Pass
Oct 31, 2022
With a solid beat, and soulful lyrics carrying his just-released song and video "99 Problems But the Pits Ain’t One" Trackhouse Racing pit crew member Kenyatta “Kap” Houston picked a great time to debut his newest musical creation – just as he and the Trackhouse team are headed to Phoenix Raceway to contest the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series championship on Sunday.
Dressed in the familiar Trackhouse-blue logo shirts wearing sunglasses and swapping out a cowboy hat and a Trackhouse Racing cap, the 44-year old Houston – with fellow pit crew members Josh Bush and Breanna O’Leary - reference the song’s title throughout the video, "I got 99 problems but the pits ain’t one."
"I'm still on my grind probably cause I get it done," the lyrics continue, "Opportunity hits, if you blink then it’s gone. We gon get this party started, 4-3-2-1."
The song’s words reference different aspects of the team’s championship-caliber work this season, from a nod to the unique Project 91 and driver Marco Andretti to pit stops and pace laps.
With Houston dressed in cowboy hat and sunglasses with shots inside and outside the No. 1 and No. 99 Trackhouse team haulers, the video even includes a close-up of Houston wearing his “Trackhouse First Win” ring.
Clearly, this popular veteran pit crew member is living his best life. And the Bronx, New York-born, North Carolina-raised, NASCAR convert couldn’t be happier professionally or personally as the second-year Trackhouse Racing team heads to Phoenix with driver Ross Chastain a legitimate favorite to bring home the organization’s first championship trophy.
"People are surprised, like 'I didn’t know you made music,'" Houston says of the reception he sometimes gets. "And some people that I know don’t like rap - maybe country or hard rock is their favorite - when they hear a song that relates to what they do, they are like, 'I like this' because it’s talking about pit stops, it’s talking about NASCAR. So they really relate to it. I get a lot of great feedback from the garage all around."
This is actually the second song Houston has created with lyrics centered around his NASCAR experience. A song he wrote back in 1996 - “Life in the Pits” - was even featured on the former SPEED Channel.
"I remember walking around and out of 30 pit boxes, at least half of them were playing my song, 'Life in the Pits,'" he said.
"I do [have a lot of material]," Houston concedes, "Because it’s about the experience and each race something is going on and I’m like, I could write a song about that. You could write a song about any NASCAR race at any given time."
Houston does concede, however, that early in his life, NASCAR may not have been such a strong theme. Born in the Bronx, he spent summers in North Carolina before moving there fulltime as a teenager. He played defensive back for the Catawba College football team in Salisbury, N.C. After graduation he was working fulltime for Freightliner and playing semi-pro ball when he met a recruiter for the NASCAR Diversity Program’s pit crew program.
"One of the recruits came out and introduced us to the NASCAR experience,’’ Houston recalled. “I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll give it a try. It sounds competitive and that you could make a living doing it.’
"And that was that."
Houston started his racing career working fulltime – the third shift, no less - at Freightliner and spending his weekends traveling the country with an ARCA team.
"I would get off work from Freightliner at 7 a.m. and some of the other developmental guys would be in a van waiting on me to drive eight hours to an ARCA race," he recalled with a laugh.
"They called me the ‘secret weapon’ because of course, I worked my third shift there and just hopped in the van and slept. After these ARCA races I was wide-awake. I would be the one driving from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. whatever it took. It was a tradeoff."
That was 17 years ago, and Houston says he’s proud to have been a part of the sport through such important and evolutionary times. His longevity, positivity and talent have now landed him with a team that could be hoisting the most cherished trophy in the sport.
"They’re surprised I’m still doing me at the age I am now," Houston said. "You see people come and go and you know the lifespan of a pit crew member, so me to still be doing it, is a blessing.
"My friends and family are not surprised, they are just like, 'Keep doing you.’ And I hope I can inspire the next person to keep digging, keep doing and don’t let age hinder you from doing what you want to do."
Right now, it’s the ultimate “do.” That rare chance to accomplish something so personally-gratifying as releasing a song – the very same week when you are part of a team racing for a major sports’ championship.
Ironically, Houston is reaching this high-mark with a team whose co-owners include Justin Marks and Grammy-award winning worldwide music superstar, Pitbull.
"Take care brother and keep writing," Houston recalls of his first meeting with Pitbull at the team’s shop.
With the championship opportunities in front of his Trackhouse Racing team this week, Houston concedes, he’s already following the advice.
“Sounds like I may need to make another song,’’ Houston said.