KEVIN HAMLIN - 6/17/1959 - Hamlin began his racing career by accident when he had a lawn care business in Kalamazoo, Mi. Another Michigan racer named Butch Miller was a client of his. One day Butch was working on his race car. Hamlin stopped his mower and started up a conversation with Miller as he was working. Miller needed some help so Hamlin lent a hand. That was the beginning Hamlin's racing career. Miller and Hamlin worked together racing in the ASA series winning two series championships as driver and crew chief. In 1990, Miller and Hamlin moved south to the hotbed of auto racing, Charlotte, North Carolina. Hamlin worked for Travis Carter's race team and immediately showed he had what it took to be in NASCAR. Hamlin took over full time crew chief duties working for Richard Jackson and driver Rick Mast in 1994. The
duo didn't post a win, but Mast did drive his way to a second and three third place finishes; with four Top 5 and 18 Top 10 finishes during a three year span. Hamlin joined Richard Childress Racing in 1997 after Richard Jackson closed his shop. Hamlin was the leader of RCR's second team with Rookie driver Mike Skinner. RCR's first team was the famous #3 Chevrolet that Dale Earnhardt took to six NASCAR championships. After experiencing a disappointing start to both RCR's team in 1998, owner Richard Childress knew he had to do something. Childress decided he needed to swap his two crew chiefs in hopes that the chemistry between the two chiefs and drivers would help the teams turn the corner towards success. Hamlin went from working with a rookie driver to calling the shoots for the man known as the "Intimidator". The teams didn't produce any wins, but they turned the corner and showed promise as the season came to a close. In 1999 Earnhardt would get three wins including both races at Talladega, and one one at Bristol. 2000 produced two more victories, and a second place finish in the Cup points. Things were looking bright for 2001. But on the final lap at Daytona; Dale Earnhardt crashed and suffered fatal injuries. Kevin Harvick was immediately brought up from the Xfinity series to fill the seat of Earnhardts car, and Harvick would win with Hamlin at the helm in Harvick's third start. He would also win again at Chicagoland that season. Hamlin and Harvick paired up again in 2002, but mid-season was moved to be crew chief for Robby Gordon who also drove for Childress. In 2003 the Gordon/Hamlin duo clicked and Gordon got two wins; sweeping the road course events that season. The pair split and Hamlin found himself as crew chief for four different drivers in 2004. He headed up Jeff Burtons team in 2005, and the team of Dave Blaney in 2006 and part of 2007. His final season as a crew chief was in 2008 as head wrench for Brian Vickers. For his career Hamlin had 9 CUP wins; five with Earnhardt and two each with Gordon and Harvick.
JEFF HAMMOND - 9/9/1956 - was a Cup series crew chief and is a commentator for NASCAR's coverage on Fox Sports, as well as a partial owner of Red Horse Racing. While attending high school at North Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, he was named a 1973-74 High School Prep Football All-American as a cornerback. He played college football at East Carolina University for Pat Dye until he suffered a career-ending injury in 1975. Hammond's NASCAR career began in 1974 as a tire changer for Walter Ballard, but soon moved to the jack man position. He served on the crew for three championship seasons between Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip. In 1982, Hammond was promoted to the crew chief position at Junior Johnson Motorsports for Darrell Waltrip and Waltrip won his second consecutive championship. Hammond and Waltrip became the top driver-crew chief combination in NASCAR, winning 40 races during the eighties. During their time together; Waltrip nicknamed Hammond "Hollywood". Hammond followed Waltrip to Hendrick Motorsports, where they won the 1989 Daytona 500. In 1991, Waltrip and Hammond formed Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, where the combination clicked again, but in mid-1992, Hammond left after a win at Pocono Raceway when car owner Felix Sabates named him to work with Kenny Wallace for the 1993 season. Hammond teamed up again with Waltrip in 1996, but the two were unable to recapture the magic of
the '80's. In 1998, Hammond joined Roush Racing as the crew chief for Chad Little. The combination was an immediate success. Despite failing to qualify for the spring race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Little finished second at the Texas 500. Hammond stayed at Roush Racing until the end of the 2000 season, including a stint where he was crew chief for the first six races for Kurt Busch, before leaving after he was hired to work at Fox Sports. In 2001, Hammond and Waltrip were reunited once again, this time as broadcasters for Fox Sports coverage of NASCAR. When the series moved to Rockingham, NC, for the second race of the season, Fox unveiled a new mobile studio for NASCAR pre-race broadcasts to be used at venues where no permanent on-site studio was available. With Hammond's nickname from the past ("Hollywood"), Waltrip remarked "There's Hollywood Hammond inside the Hollywood Hotel," and the nickname for the mobile studio stuck. Hammond's position in the booth is unique. On selected qualifying shows, he will call qualifying from the broadcast booth. On selected qualifying events, he will report from pit road. During the race, he is positioned in the studio but will frequently exit the studio to demonstrate from the cutaway car, and during pit stops will analyse pit stops. Also, because of the long nature of the races, he and Chris Myers will recap the race while there is a break with the main booth (usually during caution flags). Hammond also is able to substitute for a pit reporter if necessary. For his career as a crew chief; Hammond led Waltrip from 1982 through 1992. All Hammond's 43 wins would come in that period. He would also serve in brief stints for drivers; Terry Labonte, Rich Bickle, Greg Sacks, Kurt Busch, etc. His most notable wins include the Cup Championship in 1982 and 1985 and led his drivers to 43 wins. He finished in the Top 5 in points every year from 1982-1987. Major race wins include: Coke 600 (1985, 1988 & 1989); Daytona 500 (1989). The pair were also short track specialist as they combined for 19 wins on those.
STEVE HMIEL - 12/14/? - Was a NASCAR Cup winning crew chief. It is often stated that he is the most successful crew chief to have not won a Cup Championship. His career started as the head wrench in 1985 calling the shots for Terry Labonte. They paired up for one win working for owner Billy Hagan. They won again for Hagan in 1986, but in 1987 Labonte moved on to drive for Junior Johnson. Sterling Marlin was brought in to replace Labonte, but they were unable to produce any results as Marlin only had three top ten finishes. They parted ways and Hmiel didn't crew chief again until 1992 when he paired up with Jack Roush and driver Mark Martin. This would be the heyday of Hmiel's career as he led the versatile Martin to 13 wins over a four year span, and finished second in the Cup championship in 1994; getting beat out by a dominant Dale Earnhardt Sr. From 1992-1996 he would finish no worse than sixth in the series points. Jimmy Fennig would be brought in to lead Martin in 1997 as Hmiel would assume other duties with Roush. In 1998 Steve was named crew chief for Roush driver
Johnny Benson, but they had limited success. Hmiel moved to Dale Earnhardt Inc into a management position in 1999, but was called on to fill in for one race as a crew chief after Steve Parks lead man Phillippe Lopez resigned. After the tragic death of Dale Earnhardt Sr in 2001, DEI was reeling. Once again Hmiel had to come out of his management position to head up Michael Waltrip's team and finish the season, as he assumed the crew chief duties from Scott Eggleston. The same thing occurred in 2002 as Hmiel had to come out of the front office to take over crew chief duties from Paul Andrews for driver Steve Park. At the end of the 2004 season Michael Waltrip and his team mate Dale Earnhardt Jr swapped teams and shops. They struggled all season until Hmiel returned to a crew chief role to lead Earnhardt Jr. Within seven races Hmiel had Earnhardt Jr back in victory lane as he won the race at Chicagoland. For his career, Hmiel had led his drivers to 16 wins as a crew chief. Probably the most notable win is the Southern 500 in 1993 with Mark Martin. In 1993 Hmiel also led Mark Martin who drove part time in the Xfinity Series. They ran 14 races and won an amazing seven of them.
HARRY HYDE - 1/17/1925 - 5/13/1996 - was a leading crew chief in NASCAR stock car racing in the 1960's through the 1980's. Hyde was born in Brownsville, Kentucky on January 17, 1925, he learned to be a mechanic in the Army during WWII. Upon returning home he worked as an auto mechanic and drove race cars for a couple years, then continued racing as a car builder for local competitions in Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. In 1965 he was hired by Nord Krauskopf to be the crew chief of the K&K Insurance team. By 1969 the team began to see considerable success with driver Bobby Isaac, winning 17 races. In 1970 the team won the NASCAR championship and Hyde was named Mechanic of the Year. The K&K team was one of the leaders through most of the 1970s, but in 1977 Krauskopf sold the team to J. D. Stacy. The team continued to win some races, but in 1978 the relationship between Stacy and Hyde deteriorated and Hyde left the team in mid-June. In 1979 Amelio Scott hired Harry Hyde to be the crew chief for his family team in 1979 with his son Tighe Scott as the driver. Their first race together was the 1979 Daytona 500. Scott finished sixth in the race. At the following race at Rockingham Speedway, Scott recorded his best NASCAR result when he finished fourth. In 1980 Hyde opened his own racing engine shop and supplied engines to various teams. In 1984, he was hired by Rick Hendrick to be crew chief for a team he was partner in, All
Star Racing. The partnership did not work out, and Hendrick bought the team out forming Hendrick Motorsports. The team won three races in 1984 with Geoff Bodine driving still with Hyde as crew chief. Hyde was then paired with new driver Tim Richmond, a young open-wheel racer from Ashland, Ohio, as Hendrick went to a two-car operation. The brashness of the new driver from outside the southern stock car circuit did not initially sit well Hyde. However, after a few races they developed a relationship and began to win races. This season was the source of much of the story line for the motion picture Days of Thunder. Hyde's character was portrayed by Robert Duvall and in the film called "Harry Hogge". The team was very successful in 1986. Richmond won 7 races and finished third in points behind legends Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip. Richmond, who was noted for womanizing, was diagnosed with AIDS during 1987 and missed most of the season. Veteran Benny Parsons and owner Rick Hendrick filled in for the #25 team. Richmond still managed to win 2 races in 8 starts but resigned from the team late that year. The combined performance of the three drivers would have been good enough for second in points in the driver standings. Ken Schrader became the driver for the #25 team in 1988 but Hendrick had become a three car operation, and Hyde sometimes felt ignored. He left after the season to become crew chief for Stavola Brothers Racing where he worked through the first half of the 1991 season, before moving to Chad Little's #19 Bullseye BBQ/Tyson Foods Ford. Hyde's race shop is still part of the Hendrick Motorsports facility, and a road within the complex is known as Hyde's Way. Hyde died in 1996 of a heart attack brought on by a blood clot. For his career Harry compiled 55 career wins; the first 36 wins all coming with driver Bobby Isaac. Some of the more notable races he won included the World 600 (with Buddy Baker); and the 1986 Southern 500 with Tim Richmond. As mentioned he won the Cup Championship in 1970 with Isaac; but should also be noted he finished second in points with Dave Marcis in 1975 and also with Isaac in 1968.
DAVID IFFT - 10/13/? - was a crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series for 11 season from 1976-2005. His first season he paired with Darrell Waltrip and owner DiGard Racing. The duo would win a race at Martinsville their first season, and finish eighth in points. Ifft didn't hold the crew chief position again until 1981. He paired with Cale Yarborough to win two races wheeling the MC Anderson owned Valvoline sponsored Buick. They teamed to win races in the Spring race at Atlanta and the Summer event at Daytona while only running 18 races. He again was away from the Cup series until 1984 when he headed up Ron Bouchard's team for two season. While not getting a win, the two did have a second place finish each year. The rest of his career he headed a team sporadically. Out until 1992, he returned to lead Rick Carelli for two events, and Jimmy Horton for nine. He again teamed with Carelli for three events in 1993. From 1997-2005 he only crew chiefed 26 times. Those drivers included Kenny Wallace, Bobby Hamilton, Robby Gordon and others. None of his attempts after 1985 produced a Top 5 finish. Ifft also led various drivers from 1995 to 2004 in the Xfinity series. He was the full time wrench in 1995 for Phil Parsons and they posted three Top 5 finishes, and an eighth in points. In 1997 Glenn Allen Jr was his driver with a best finish of fourth. The rest of his career he was the chief for lesser known drivers such as Gary Laton, David Blankenship, Jeff Finley, Jeff Spraker
and others. After 1977 his drivers only posted a total of three top five finishes. His final start was with Stanton Barrett in 2005 in the Cup Series at Phoenix. For his career he had 10 wins and 64 Top 5 finishes and finished third in the points with Benny Parsons in 1980.
JAMES INCE - 11/24/1969 - was an American NASCAR crew chief. He has served as crew chief for various teams such as Roush Racing, Tyler Jet Motorsports, MB2 Motorsports, and MBV Racing. His career started in 1991 in the Winston Racing Series with Larry Phillips, and the following two seasons, the two won 70 of 80 races, and won two consecutive championships. (the Winston Racing series was made up of 92 short tracks across the nation. Winston offered regional and national prizes to drivers totaling about $1.4 million.) In 1993, Ince worked with Mark Martin in the Xfinity Series, helping him win seven races. In late 1996, Ince became the crew chief for Cup driver Ted Musgrave of Roush Racing beginning at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He held the position until he was replaced by Joey Knuckles in the 1998 race at Michigan. In 1999, Ince remained with Roush Racing when he became the crew chief for Kevin Lepage, but subsequently left the team. In 2000, Ince became the crew chief for Johnny Benson, Jr. of MB2 Motorsports. The duo recorded 13 Top 5 finishes and a
win atRockingham Speedway in 2002, the first Cup victory for Ince. Also in 2002, Ince served as crew chief in the Xfinity Series for Jerry Nadeau. In 2003, Ince was fined $1,000 for violations at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and later in the year, Ince missed the Banquet 400 due to personal reasons, and eventually requested for his release from the team. In 2004, Ince joined Peak Fitness Racing with Hermie Sadler as the driver. In 2005, it was reported that Ince will serve as crew chief for PPI Motorsports driver Bobby Hamilton, Jr., and Ince remained with the team the following season when Hamilton was replaced by Travis Kvapil. For his career Ince was a crew chief from 1996 through 2006. He only served as crew chief for the same driver in five seasons; 1996 with Ted Musgrave, and 2000-2003 with Johnny Benson. He got the one lone with with Benson at Rockingham NC.
BILLY INGLE - 4/21/1956 - Ingle states that he could "pull an engine apart and put it together" at the age of ten. He began his career in NASCAR in 1983 as a mechanic with Junior Johnson & Associates; he remained with the team until the 1987 season, before moving to join AK Racing and Alan Kulwicki. Ingle joined Bahari Racing late in the 1989 season, remaining with the team through 1992. During those years he was head wrench for Michael Waltrip. He would have a best finish of third (twice) in those seasons. After taking a hiatus from the sport in 1993, Ingle was named crew chief for Rudd Performance Motorsports, where he helped Ricky Rudd establish his team as an owner-driver. The duo would win once at Loudon NH (1994) and add one more win at Phoenix (1995). In 1996 Ingle moved to Diamond Ridge Motorsports, becoming crew chief for the #29 Chevrolet and driver Steve Grissom. They were only able to post one Top 5 and two Top 10 results. He remained with the team through the first half of the 1997 season, before moving to Stavola Brothers Racing, then rejoining Rudd in 1998 following the Stavola team's failing to qualify for the 1998 Daytona 500. That season he managed to claim his final win; coming at Martinsville. After the first four races of the 1999 season, Ingle left the team; shortly afterwards he joined Tyler Jet Motorsports and driver Rich Bickle as crew chief, but left the team after only three races. In 2000, Ingle joined Morgan-Dollar Motorsports as crew chief of the #46 truck in the Craftsman Truck Series; he started the 2001 season with team, before leaving
after two races. Ingle then joined Fox Sports as a commentator on NASCAR Today, as well as serving as team manager for Haas CNC Racing; however halfway through the 2004 season, he returned to crew chief duties as crew chief for the team's #0 and driver Ward Burton. With four races left in the season Ingle moved to being crew chief for the team's No. 00 Xfinity Series team; after the 2006 season he resumed his role as team manager, but was released by the team in December. In addition to his crew chief duties, Ingle twice attempted to break into the ranks of NASCAR drivers, competing in the second-tier Xfinity Series. His debut in the series came in 1987 at Rockingham Speedway in the AC Delco 200 where he finished 26th; Ingle's second attempt at a driving career came in 1996, when he attempted three races in the #29 Chevrolet for Diamond Ridge Motorsports; he failed to qualify at Hickory Motor Speedway, but made races at South Boston Speedway and New Hampshire International Speedway, with a best finish at South Boston of 22nd
DALE INMAN - 8/19/1936 - is a retired NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief ; best know for being the crew chief of his first cousins Richard and Maurice Petty. He spent most of his career working at Petty Enterprises. The teenage boys would attend some races and work on Richard Petty's father Lee's car after school and on weekends. Richard started racing in the late 1950s with Maurice and Inman as part of his pit crew, as they were too young to be his crew chief. In 1960, Petty won his first NASCAR race. By this time Maurice and Inman had become NASCAR mechanics. Maurice had been the mechanic and crew chief at the races. Petty Enterprises had him start concentrating on engine building for the team, and Inman became the crew chief. In 1967, Petty won a NASCAR-record ten straight races and 27 races during that season with Inman. All 27 victories were in the same car that they built in 1966. He departed the team days after winning the 1981 Daytona 500. While being interviewed after winning the race, he told CBS reporter Ned Jarrett that would soon be leaving the team. Inman had been crew chief for 192 of Petty's 193 victories. He was hired by Rod Osterlund to be the crew chief for 1980 champion Dale Earnhardt. That June, Osterlund sold the team to J. D. Stacy and Earnhardt quit Stacy's team in August. He stayed with the team until he was hired by Billy Hagan to join Terry Labonte's team. Together they won the 1984 Cup championship. He returned to Petty Enterprises in 1986 to oversee the business side. In an interview, he said, "This is my homecoming and this is where I belong. Damn, I am happy." He continued in his role helping Richard Petty until Petty retired in 1992. After his retirement
Inman helped Petty Enterprises drivers Rick Wilson, John Andretti, and Bobby Hamilton. Inman retired from NASCAR in 1998. He continued as a consultant for Petty Enterprises for a while afterward. Away from racing, Inman has helped the Victory Junction Gang Camp get started. Inman has an impressive resume'. In his career he was the crew chief for eight Cup Championships; Seven with Petty, and one with Labonte. He was the crew chief for 171 wins; 166 of those with Petty. In total he was with the Petty team for 198 race wins. Notable race wins include the following: Daytona 500 (1964, 1966, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1979 & 1981); Southern 500 (1967); World 600 (1975, & 1977). In 2006, a national motor sports media group poll named Ray Evernham as the top NASCAR crew chief of all-time and Inman placed a close second even though he had more first place votes than Evernham. Inman said that the best crew chief that he ever saw was Leonard Wood from the Wood Brothers and Waddell Wilson was good. His contributions to racing led to him receiving the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame's first Golden Wrench award on May 25, 2000. In 2008, he was received the Smokey Yunick Award. On June 14, 2011, he was selected to the 2012 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
GREG IVES - 9/13/1979 - graduated from Michigan Technological University in 2003, and was employed at Hendrick Motorsports as a mechanic in 2004. In addition, he was a lead engineer of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports car during the team's five consecutive championships between 2006 and 2010. In 2013, Ives moved to JR Motorsports as crew chief for Regan Smith. In his first season as a crew chief he would lead Smith to two wins, and a third place finish in the points. He would take Chase Elliott under his wing in 2014 and the pair would garner four wins and claim the Xfinity Series title. In 2015 Rick Hendrick moved him up to the Cup level to head up Dale Earnhardt Jr's race team. They showed immediate success as they visited victory circle three times and had 16 Top 5 finishes. These three wins would be the final three wins of Earnhardt's career. Earnhardt crashed hard mid-
season and received a concussion. He sat out the rest of the season as Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman split time in the car. Before Earnhardt's crash they had posted five Top 5 results; all were second place finishes. 2017 would be Earnhardt's final season but it was a difficult one as they were only able to grab one Top 5 finish the entire season. When Dale Earnhardt Jr retired at the end of 2017, Alex Bowman assumed the seat of the #88 car. Greg Ives had led Earnhardt and when Bowman was brought on board; Ives was tapped to head up his efforts. Bowman had a rough season as he only had three Top 5 finishes and eleven Top 10's. Bowman made the Chase via points and advance through the first round; but poor finishes in the second round eliminated him. He is expected to be back with Ives in 2019. So far in his career Ives has three wins.
CHAD JOHNSTON - ?/?/? - a NASCAR Cup series crew chief since 2011; grew up racing open wheel midget cars on the paved and dirt short tracks in Indiana. He most recently worked for Michael Waltrip Racing as Martin Truex Jr.’s crew chief. Following a stint with Evernham Motorsports, he joined MWR in 2009 and became Pat Tryson’s engineer the following season. At the June Pocono race, Johnston was promoted to crew chief. In their first full season together (2012), Truex and the No. 56 team qualified for the Chase. In 2013 Truex was in a tight battle to make the chase. At Richmond (the cut off race to get into the Chase) controversy erupted. Michael Waltrip Racing was busted after Richmond for actions detrimental to the sport in what was deemed manipulating the outcome of the event. In the waning
laps of the race with Truex just outside making the Chase, it was deemed his Waltrip Racing team-mate spun himself out intentionally to create a yellow flag and thus bunch up the field. NASCAR intercepted team radio communications that seemed to indicate this was an intentional attempt to help Truex make the Chase. Brian Vickers was also ordered to pit (for no reason) to help to allow Truex to make the Chase. Truex qualified for the Chase taking the final position. All three MWR teams were penalized 50 points Waltrip Racing was also hit with a $300,000 fine (the largest in racing history. The 50 point penalty moved Truex out of the final Chase position down to 17th in the points at the cut-off, and thus he missed the Chase. This gave Ryan Newman the final Chase spot. In addition with all the controversy, NASCAR made an unprecedented move and added a 13th car to the Chase (Jeff Gordon). It was determined Truex's team was an innocent victim of the rules infractions, but since the issues was caused by his team mates and to benefit him; he was also penalized. Johnston remained with Truex through the 2013 season, but with seven races to go in the season he asked for his release from Waltrip Racing. Johnston replaced Steve Addington on the No. 14 Chevy driven by Tony Stewart for 2014; Addington had been the crew chief for the past two seasons. The duo struggled and only posted three Top 5 finishes in two season. In 2016 he was hired by Chip Ganassi to call the shots for Kyle Larson. Larson his first race that season under the leadership of Johnston and made the Chase; eventually finishing ninth in the points. The following season Larson and Johnston pair to win on four occasions and post 14 Top 5 finishes. Ganassi had the pair together again for the 2018 season, and after a good 2017 Chad Johnston had expected to lead his driver to another successful season and a possible Championship. But after four wins the previous season, 2018 proved to be a disappointment. The pair wasn't able to get a win but had six second place finishes, and 12 Top 5's. They made the Chase on points; but was eliminated after the second round. They ended the season ninth in points. They are expected to be back in 2019.
FRANK KERR - ?/?/? - Kerr started his career in quarter midgets when he was six. At 15, he moved to big block Modifieds and toured through his native Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware for the next seven years until he discovered Sprint Cars. For Kerr, it was love at first ride. He won four track championships at Eldora Speedway, four All-Star championships and five Ohio Speed Week championships. He collected over 250 trophies and been inducted into the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Hall of Fame. After Kerr’s children were born, his search for stability led him to the NASCAR Cup Series where he has been a crew chief since 2005. Kerr's first start as a Cup crew chief was with Shane Hmiel (son of crew chief Steve Hmiel). In 2007 he led the crew chief position for David Reutimann for owner Michael Waltrip; however he did head
up PJ Jones, who started the two road course events that season instead of Reutimann. The following season he moved over to help Robby Gordon for ten races, and also worked with Marcus Ambrose who drove for the Wood Brothers in six events. Ambrose took a full time Cup ride in 2009 with JTG-Daugherty Racing, and Kerr went with him. The duo posted six Top 5 finished in two seasons. 2011 saw Ambrose go to Richard Petty Motorsports, and JTG-Daugherty hired Bobby Labonte to replace him. The pair kicked off the season with a fourth place finish in the Daytona 500, but it would be all downhill from there as it would be their only top five finish. In 2012 Kerr only had one race as crew chief as he led David Reutimann at Phoenix. 2013 saw him hired by Bob Jenkins to head up the full time efforts of David Gilliland. Gilliland would finish second at Talladega as he and team mate David Ragan paired up to push to the front and get Ragan an upset win in the Aaron's 499. The following season Gilliland had a best finish of 17th, coming at Pocono. Kerr moved to work for Richard Petty Motorsports in 2015 and driver Dakota Armstrong in the Xfinity series. They had a best finish of 6th in the July Daytona race. 2016 saw Kerr moved to work for owner Mark Smith and TriStar Motorsports; and he started off the season with driver David Starr for the first seven races. He had a best finish of 17th before Smith made a crew chief swap and moved Kerr over to his other drivers JJ Yeley for the remainder of the season. They posted three Top 10 finishes and finished 14th in the points. Smith moved Kerr back up to the Cup Series in 2017 and paired him with driver Cole Whitt. They posted a best finish of twelfth at Indianapolis; but mostly due to 18 starters crashing out. The only other two finishes they had better than 20th came at Daytona and Talladega. To make matters worse; while the Cup series was at Bristol Kerr had the race car fall on him and it fractured his sternum. Less than 24 hours later Kerr was back at the track ready to call the shots for that nights race. They had four Top 20 finishes. Tragically Mark Smith would die during the 2017 season from cancer. His son Bryan assumed ownership of TriStar Motorsports. The team acquired a NASCAR Charter and raced full time in 2018. Kerr split duties calling shots from Cole Whitt and Corey LaJoie as they both wheeled the #72 car. Whitt had a season best finish of 19th at Texas, while Lajoie had a best of 16th at Las Vegas.It was the only two results better than 20th all year.
JOHN KLAUSMEIER - ?/?/1981 -grew up as a kid in the Baltimore area as a massive NASCAR fan. His family always got all-access passes for the races at Dover International Speedway; he was brought up around cars; the whole sport was in his blood. His family had a repair shop (Klausmeier & Sons) there on Bel Air Road in Perry Hall and cars had always been an interest to him. As he got older he would help out some guys up at Lincoln Speedway and at local tracks. All this is taking place during the evolution of technology in NASCAR, where engineering was becoming more and more important. So he decided to go to University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and get his mechanical engineering degree; hoping to get a job in the NASCAR industry as a race engineer. Jay Gerst had worked at the family's auto shop, and Klausmeier had helped him with his cars on weekends. Gerst was about 6 years older than Klausmeier, but he was already working in the business with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Gerst was able to help Klausmeier get his own start in the sport. He started interning at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. while going to UMBC, In 2002, he would do a semester at school, then a semester down in Mooresville, North Carolina, at their headquarters. He just bounced back and forth until he graduated. When he graduated, they offered him a full-time position, so he worked there for six years. Then when Dale Earnhardt Jr. left to go to Hendrick Motorsports, he saw the end was near for that company, so
he moved over to Stewart-Haas Racing, Tony Stewart's team, when they started in 2009. So here he sat, atop the pit box calling the shots for the first time ever as a crew chief for SHR driver Kurt Busch. A week prior Busch's regular chief had been suspended for one race due to rules violations. So Klausmeier was called upon to lead the efforts for the race at Pocono. When they made their final pit stop they knew they were five laps short on having enough fuel to make it to the end. As the race wound down; he decided to gamble and see if they could stretch the fuel to get a much needed win. Busch would often cut the car off and coast to help save fuel. In the end Kurt was able to get the win, giving Klausmeier his first win as a crew chief, in his first ever attempt. It was the only race he called in 2016. Then in 2017 he was again called upon to lead up Kurt Busch's team when the regular crew chief was again suspended. Busch would go on to finish sixth in this race held at Watkins Glen. Then in 2018 Klausmeier would be called on to lead the efforts for a full season for driver Aric Almirola. Aric had several times when he almost won; but some unfortunate incident prevented him visiting victory lane. Finally at Talladega Almirola was able to get Klausmeier back in victory lane. They were a formidable pair and they posted 17 Top 10 results. 2019 looks to see the due again paired together again.
CHAD KNAUS - 8/5/1971 - an American NASCAR crew chief. He has worked in NASCAR since 1991. Over this time, he has worked for four teams: Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, Melling Racing, Tyler Jet Motorsports, and Hendrick Motorsports. He has been a crew chief in NASCAR for 12 years. Knaus grew up around the racetracks of the Midwest helping his father, John, race against the likes of Mark Martin, Alan Kulwicki, Rusty Wallace and Dick Trickle. By the time he was 14, Knaus served as crew chief during his father's Rockford Speedway championship season. A few years and seven track championships later, Knaus moved to North Carolina in 1991 to pursue a job in national stock car racing. After working with Stanley Smith's stock car team, Knaus became employed on the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team led by crew chief Ray Evernham and raced by driver Jeff Gordon. From 1993 to 1997, Knaus advanced from being a general fabricator to managing the entire chassis and body construction program for the No. 24 team. Serving as a tire changer on the original Rainbow Warriors pit crew, Knaus was a part of the 1995 and 1997 championship teams. Following the 1997 season, Knaus joined Dale Earnhardt, Inc. as car chief, where he worked with Steve Park. During the 1998 season, he moved to Tyler
Jet Motorsports, and in 1999, the call came that would lead Knaus to Dodge, Melling Racing. Ray Evernham wanted Knaus to lead the Dodge development team, an opportunity he quickly accepted. During two Dodge test sessions, Knaus worked with Melling Racing driver, Stacy Compton. The two worked well together, resulting in Knaus' hire as crew chief for Stacy Compton in 2001. After being hired as crew chief for Stacy Compton at Melling Racing, the combination swept the poles at Talladega in 2001 after starting on the front row for the Daytona 500 and qualifying 3rd at Daytona in July. Despite restrictor plate track qualifying prowess, Compton and Knaus scored just one Top 10 (Daytona 500) and five Top 15 finishes. Knaus returned to Hendrick Motorsports for the 2002 season, becoming crew chief of the No. 48 car driven by rookie driver Jimmie Johnson. Knaus and Johnson finished the season fifth in the Driver's Championship. In 2003, the No. 48 team finished second in the Driver's Championship. In 2004, the season began with some early disappointments in weeks two and three at Rockingham and Las Vegas. However, the team quickly rebounded with a week five win at the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. Subsequent victories at the Coca-Cola 600 and the Pocono 500 helped solidify their place in the NASCAR Chase for the Cup towards the end of the season. The second victory at the Subway 500 in Martinsville on October 24, 2004, was marred by tragedy when Rick Hendrick's son, Ricky, nieces and brother were killed in an airplane crash en route to the race. All eight passengers and both pilots died in the incident. The team eventually finished second in the Cup Series points, losing to Kurt Busch by eight points. Knaus and Johnson finished the 2005 season ranked fifth in the standings after a crash in the season ending race at Homestead. In 2006, Johnson and Knaus won their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with 5 wins. In 2007 Knaus and Johnson took home their second straight championship with a series best 10 wins. Hendrick Motorsports was the dominant team in 2007, amassing 18 wins in 36 races. In 2008 Knaus and Johnson tied NASCAR history with three straight championships set by Cale Yarborough. The Lowe's Racing team had seven wins. In 2009 Knaus shared 13 top-fives, 20 top-tens, 6 wins, and only one DNF with his driver Jimmie Johnson; and their fourth straight Cup Championship. 2010 brought a fifth straight Cup championship as the duo recorded six additional wins. Johnson struggled in 2011 and finished eighth in the points Chase. Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards tied for the points; but Stewart won in the tie breaker. In 2012 Johnson was again in the middle of the championship hunt. Entering the final race it was a toss up who would win between he and Brad Keselowski. Johnson burnt up a rear gear early in the race relegating him to a 36th place finish, and gave the Championship to Keselowski. 2012 saw the duo return to championship form as Johnson won his sixth Cup Championship. But once again it was a dog fight. This time between he and Matt Kenseth. Johnson managed to win the championship by 19 points. As 2014 rolled around the duo of Knaus and Johnson are still at the top of the heap, and look to be the team to beat once again. They were now just one championship behind the record of seven set by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. The season saw Johnson claim four wins; but when the Chase rolled around he struggled in the second round. The pair posted finishes of 40th, 17th and 24th; knocking them out of contention for the Championship. In 2015 Johnson once again posted multiple wins; but in the second stage of the Chase poor finishes knocked him from contention for the Championship. The following season Johnson would again win five races; but this season was different because three of those wins would come in the Chase and he would advance to the season final at Homestead. During that race his car wasn't competitive all day long. He never even led a lap and was rarely inside the top ten in the running order. A yellow with just a couple laps remaining flew and crew chief Knaus took a gamble and only put on two tires and got out of the pits first. When the green hankie flew for the final time Johnson got a good restart and managed to grab the win garnering himself his seventh Cup Championship; tying him with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. In 2017, looked early to be a season where they might break that record as Johnson won at Texas, and then the next week at Bristol; and added a third win at Dover. But from there things took a major down turn as the team would only post one Top 5 the rest of the season. He managed to progress through the Chase; but missed making the final round at Homestead. He ended up 10th in the points standings. Johnson and Knaus was together searching for that elusive eighth Championship. 2018 proved to be a disappointing season for the duo. After 16 consecutive season with a win; they went winless. In fact they only posted two Top 5'd and eleven Top 10 results. Johnson did make the Chase via points; but was eliminated after the first round. In response to such a bad season owner Rick Hendrick did the unthinkable and split the seven time championship winning pair up. Knaus will spend 2019 leading the efforts of young driver William Byron. Kevin Meendering will now become the crew chief for Johnson. Meendering had previously been an Xfinity series crew chief from 2016-2018. To date Knaus has garnered 81 wins. Prior to 2018 in no year had he had less than two wins with Johnson. He also has won major races including: Daytona 500 (2013); Coke 600 (2003, 2004, 2005 & 2014); Southern 500 (2004 & 2012); and Brick Yard 400 (2006, 2008, 2009 & 2012). Knaus has found himself in the middle of controversy on several occasions. His first suspension, for two races, came in March 2001 for a seat belt violation at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was notable because of the first safety violation in the wake of Dale Earnhardt's death. Knaus appealed, but lost, returning at Texas three weeks later. While working for Hendrick Motorsports, Knaus was accused of cheating after Jimmie Johnson's 2006 Daytona 500 qualifying run. He made an illegal adjustment to the rear window, which resulted in his suspension from Cup events until March 22. Despite the loss of his crew chief (and having to start from the rear of the field in a backup car), Johnson won the Daytona 500, and two of the first three races overall, with interim crew chief, Darian Grubb. Knaus again found himself at the center of controversy during the road race debut of NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow. On June 23, 2007. Knaus and team mate of the #24 crew (chiefed by Steve Letarte) and the #48 crew entered the inspection line for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway with the newest body style out of the Hendrick shop. While both cars fit the templates, NASCAR officials questioned the shape of the fenders in between the template points. Johnson was not allowed to qualify the car, and he started at the back of the field. Knaus was fined $100,000 and was suspended for six races. In February 2012 Knaus was once again accused by NASCAR officials of a rules violation involving the #48 car of Jimmie Johnson after it failed pre-race inspection for the Daytona 500. NASCAR issued penalties: Knaus and #48 car chief Ron Malec suspended six races each, Knaus fined $100,000, driver Jimmie Johnson docked 25 driver points. On March 20, 2012, the chief appellate officer of NASCAR rescinded the suspensions and docked drivers points but left the financial penalty in place.
DANIEL KNOST - 12/21/1978 - becaose a crew chief for the first time in 2014 as he led Kurt Busch driving for the Stewart-Haas Race team. They won a race in only the sixth start for Knost as Busch won at Martinsville. They would post five more Top 5 finishes; but Knost would be moved to lead Danica Patrick with three races to go in the season as Stewart-Haas swapped Knost and Tony Gibson. 2015 saw Knost go from "interim" crew chief to permanent crew chief as he would remain with Patrick. Though Patrick was comfortable working with Gibson, an old-school crew chief and stock-car veteran, Knost’s engineering background and technical expertise were supposed to help her. She had two Top 10 finishes as many of her finishes came inside the Top 20. Knost lasted just one year, his guidance and smarts making very little difference in Patrick’s on-track performance. He was replaced by Billy Scott, another former engineer. Knost did lead Kevin Harvick for one race in 2017 as Rodney Childers served a one race suspension due to a rules infraction.
RICHARD "SLUGGER" LABBE - 6/14/1968 - an American NASCAR crew chief and as the start of 2014 is currently employed by Richard Childress Racing and working on the #27 Menards Chevrolet Impala driven by Paul Menard. He introduced to racing at a young age. His father, Ray, worked on cars in the NASCAR Busch North Series and often brought his son to the events. In 1984 at the age of 15, Labbe began work on the crew of a Late Model stock car team. Two years later he began working in the NASCAR Busch North Series. In 1991, Labbe moved into the NASCAR Xfinity Series, working with driver Terry Labonte. In three seasons the team captured five victories. When Labonte made the move to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup in 1994, Labbe joined assuming the duties of front tire changer and mechanic for his #5 team with Hendrick Motorsports. Labbe became the car chief in his second year with the organization and helped them win the Unocal pit crew championship and the NASCAR Cup Series championship in 1996. In 1998, Labbe joined Robert Yates Racing (RYR) when he was offered the crew chief position for the #28 car driven by Kenny Irwin, Jr. He led the team for 29 races. Irwin, Jr. earned the NASCAR Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year that year. Labbe remained at RYR through 2000. In September 2001, Labbe accepted a position with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. becoming the crew chief for the #15 car driven by Michael Waltrip. The two year union produced three wins. In 2005, Labbe moved to Evernham Motorsports and served as crew chief for Jeremy Mayfield. The team won the race at Michigan International Speedway that
year and qualified for a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Returning to Yates Racing in 2006, Labbe worked with NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett for the first 20 races of the season. Labbe missed 4 races that season due to a suspension handed down by NASCAR for an illegal sway bar mount. Labbe spent the first half of 2007 with Sterling Marlin at MB2 Motorsports but then headed to High Point, North Carolina and Bill Davis Racing for the second. Labbe began the 2008 season working with Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve helping him with the switch from open wheel to NASCAR before sponsorship fell through. In 2009, Labbe moved to TRG Motorsports leading David Gilliland in the team’s first season in NASCAR Cup series. In 2010, he was crew chief for the Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) car driven by Paul Menard in his fourth full-season of Cup. In 2011, Paul and Slugger departed the financially struggling RPM team to go race at Richard Childress Racing as a fourth team with the number being 27 and the sponsor being Menard's. On July 31, 2011, Paul Menard won his first career CUP race at the Brickyard 400. Labbe would remain at RCR as Menards crew chief through 2014. They would only be able to achieve 12 Top 5's in that span and added 38 Top 10's. Menard and Labbe was split up in 2015 and he worked with three drivers in the RCR stable. The drivers combined could only muster one Top 5 finish. Labbe worked with Austin Dillon for all of 2016 and had four Top 5 finishes, with a best of third at Talladega. Labbe and Dillon started 2017 together; but Labbe was released after just ten races. Labbe has five wins and two major wins. One in the Daytona 500 (2003) and the other at Indianapolis (2011)
LUKE LAMBERT - 10/2/? - began as a crew chief in 2011 when he took over calling the shots for driver Jeff Burton at Richard Childress Racing. Lambert / Burton would combine for two Top 5's and five Top 10's the second half of the season. 2012 saw him have his first full time job working with Elliott Sadler in the Xfinity Series. The pair made a great showing that season as they posted four wins and just missed out on winning the Championship. He was again paired back up with Jeff Burton in the Cup Series in 2013. They had a tough season and only had two Top 5 and five Top 10 finishes. Childress moved Lambert over to work with Ryan Newman in 2014 and the two gelled nicely. Although they didn't post any wins, they did have five Top 5 and 16 Top 10 finishes. Newman qualified for the Chase and finished second to Kevin Harvick in the season finale' and lost the Championship by one point. Newman posted five Top 5 and 12 Top 10 finishes in 2015 but only finished 11th in the points after being eliminated in the second round of the Chase. He was eliminated even though he posted finishes of 15th, 11th and 12th. 2016 the duo had an even worse season as they were only able o post a season best finish of third with ten Top 10's. The following
seasonsaw Lambert break through and get his first win at the Cup Level. Newman had been a Top 10 car most of the day; never contending for the win. A yellow flew with just a hand full of laps to go and Lambert decided to gamble and only take two tires. The move got Newman out of the pits first and Newman was able to hold off a snarling pack of cars who took four tires and get the win. Newman and Lambert remained together at RCR for the 2018 season. But, the entire RCR organization had a disappointing season. Austin Dillon won the season opening Daytona 500 and it would be the only win for either driver. Newman didn't even post a Top 5 and only had nine Top 10's. Lambert has been paired wit Newman since 2014 and they have only visited victory lane once in that time. Disappointed with the seasons lack of performance, Newman decided to leave RCR at the end of the year and go drive for Jack Roush in 2019. Lambert will remain at RCR and head the efforts of rookie Daniel Hemric.
BEN LESLIE - ?/?/? - Leslie joined NASCAR in 1994 as a mechanic and tire changer on Ted Musgrave's car owned by Roush Racing. Later he would go on to hold the same position on Mark Martin's car. In 1998, he moved to Roush's new team, the #26 Ford driven by Johnny Benson. Originally serving as the team's car chief, he was promoted to interim crew chief midway through the season and had a pair of ninth-place finishes with Benson. After spending the first part of the 1999 season with Benson, he became the car chief of Matt Kenseth's car, and the team won Rookie of the Year honors in 2000. After several races in 2001, Leslie was moved to the crew chief position of the #97 team driven by rookie Kurt Busch. Leslie and Busch won the pole at the Mountain Dew Southern 500 and had five top-ten finishes. At the end of the season, he was moved again to Mark Martin's team. They won the Coca-Cola 600 but lost the championship by 38 points. He was moved again at the end of the season to the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford driven by Ricky Rudd, but the team struggled with only five top-tens and dropped to twenty-third in points. After winning one pole and garnering two top-ten finishes with Rudd in 2004 NASCAR Cup Series, Leslie left the Wood Brothers to take a position as field director for Ford
Racing. Leslie stayed with Ford for several years; but in 2009 he returned to pit road as crew chief of the #28 Yates Racing Ford driven by Travis Kvapil. They had two Top 20 finishes but the team was shut down after five races due to a lack of sponsorship. Afterwards, he joined Yates' affiliate team, Hall of Fame Racing as crew chief for Bobby Labonte and eventually Erik Darnell for the rest of the season. In 2010 he moved to Roush Fenway's #6 team to be crew chief for rookie Ricky Stenhouse, Jr in the Xfinity Series. In 2013 he led various drivers for owner Archie St Hilaire. None had a finish inside the Top 10. They following season St Hilaire hired Leslie to wrench for eight different drivers for a total of 19 races. Terry Labonte posted a team best finished of 11th at Daytona. 2015 Leslie was sidelines and the following season, he took over as the crew chief for Cole Whitt at Premium Motorsports midway through the season.
STEVE LETARTE - 5/14/1979 - an American NASCAR crew chief. Letarte began working for Hendrick Motorsports part time in 1995. In 1996, at the age of 16, he joined the group full-time. From 1997 to 1999, he worked as a tire specialist for the #24 team. He then became a mechanic and finally car chief in 2002. He first began as crew chief for Jeff Gordon when he took over the job of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet from Robbie Loomis in September 2005. In Letarte's sixth race as crew chief with Gordon, he visited victory lane for the first time in October 2005, winning the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Entering the 2006 season, Hendrick Motorsports made wholesale changes to the #24 team. Gordon fought major handling issues at almost all of the intermediate racetracks, which relegated Gordon to run outside of the top-ten and even outside of the top-fifteen. When the series reached the 2-mile racetrack of Michigan International Speedway, near Brooklyn, Michigan, in mid-June, Gordon experienced a huge turnaround at a track that he had struggled at in previous season. Gordon led the most laps and
finished eighth in a rain-shortened event; showing an instant improvement in Gordon's down-force program. For the first time since 2004, the #24 DuPont Chevrolet made the Chase for the Cup. Gordon experienced an up-and-down postseason in 2006. In 2007, Gordon finished the year with six wins, Gordon's highest total since 2001. The #24 team also finished with 30 Top 10s, setting a new NASCAR modern era record for most top 10's in a single season. They dominated the points standings throughout much of the year, earning, in total, 353 more points than Jimmie Johnson's #48 team, and 706 more points than Tony Stewart's #20 team (who earned the third most points). However, due to NASCAR's "Chase for the Cup" playoff system, in which the points are reset based on the number of wins each team accumulates throughout the "regular" season (the first 26 races), Gordon lost the championship. Their performance in the Chase was exceptionally good however, winning two races and scoring an average finish of 5.1, but it was not enough to outperform teammate Jimmie Johnson. 2008 would be a brutal reminder of how difficult racing in NASCAR's top series can be. Astonishingly, Gordon went win-less for the first time since his rookie year in 1993. Despite being the target of blame from many critics for the team's failures, Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick stood by the longtime Hendrick Motorsports employee and Letarte returned at the helm for 2009. Gordon snapped his career-high 47-race win less streak with a victory in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but alas, it would be Gordon's only win of the 2009 season. The team had a strong year however, finishing 3rd in the final standings. As an organization, Hendrick Motorsports finished an impressive 1-2-3 in the standings as Gordon finished third, Mark Martin finished second and Jimmie Johnson won his record-setting fourth-straight championship. On November 23, 2010, Letarte was named the crew chief for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. beginning in the 2011 season. The pairing of Letarte and Earnhardt, Jr. showed strong results early in the 2011 season. On April 3, 2011, Earnhardt, Jr. held the lead late in the race at Martinsville Speedway, but was passed with less than 5 laps to go by Kevin Harvick who would drive on to victory. During the Coca-Cola 600, Earnhardt, Jr. held the lead on the final lap, but was forced to surrender the lead to Harvick when he ran out of fuel. In the very next race at Kansas Speedway, Letarte had called Earnhardt to pit road thinking that no drivers would be able to make it to the end on fuel. Unfortunately for Letarte and Earnhardt, Jr. Brad Keselowski was able to make it to the checkered flag and relegated the #88 to a 2nd place finish. Letarte led Earnhardt, Jr. back into the Cup Chase for the Championship for the first time since the 2008 season. Despite failing to win a race during the course of the season, Earnhardt, Jr. scored 4 top five finishes. Letarte and Earnhardt, Jr. continued together into the start of the 2012 season. The season started off strong with a 2nd place finish in the Gatorade Duel, followed by a second place finish in the Daytona 500. Earnhardt, Jr. finally broke into victory lane on June 17, 2012 by winning the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway, snapping Earnhardt, Jr.'s 143 race win less streak. Earnhardt failed to win a race again in 2013 but the duo posted a strong year as they posted ten top five finishes; and finished fifth in points. His best since 2009. As 2014 kicked off Letarte and Earnhardt Jr paired up for one final season. They kicked off the season in grand style; winning the Daytona 500. They added three additional wins before seasons end and finished eighth in the points. Starting in 2015 Letarte crawled off the pit box and retired leaving Hendrick Motorsports to become an analyst for NBC Sports. For his career Letarte had 15 wins; the most notable were: Southern 500 2007 and the Daytona 2014.
ROBBIE LOOMIS - 6/7/1964 - is a former NASCAR crew chief who worked for Petty Enterprises and Hendrick Motorsports during his time as a crew chief, working most notably with Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon. Loomis's first professional crew chief position came with Petty Enterprises in 1990, when he replaced Dale Inman as Richard Petty's crew chief. The pair only posted one Top 10 finish in 1991 and none in 1992. Richard Petty retired at the end of the 1992 season and he worked with Petty’s replacement, Rick Wilson the following season and posted one Top 10 finish. 1994 started with Loomis heading up the efforts of Wally Dallenbach Jr and they posted a best finish of fourth at the road course of Sonoma, before Loomis was moved to lead John Andretti the second half of the season. That pairing posted a best finish of 11th. Bobby Hamilton was brought on board at Petty Enterprises and the team saw improvement. Hamilton
posted four Top 5 finishes in 1995 including a second at Dover. 1996 saw Loomis win his first race. It was also the first win for Hamilton who edged Mark Martin at Phoenix by one second. The next season they won for a second time; this win coming at Rockingham. The following season saw Loomis swap over to be the leader of a car driven by John Andretti. They posted three Top 5 finishes that season, but in 1999 Andretti piloted the car to a win at Martinsville. He worked with Petty Enterprises as crew chief for a total of nine years. In 2000, Loomis went to work at Hendrick Motorsports as Jeff Gordon's crew chief. Robbie Loomis's greatest success came as crew chief for NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon. The pair's first season in 2000 was a struggle. Despite winning three races and finishing 9th in the season standings, performance was well-short of the high standards set by the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team. However, in the final five races of the year, the team posted five Top 10's and three Top 5's: a clear indication of the improving communication between Loomis and Gordon. The momentum carried into 2001 and the #24 team reached the pinnacle of the sport by winning the NASCAR Cup Championship. In addition, the team won 6 races, including the prestigious Brickyard 400. The following years, in 2002 and 2003, the team performed respectably, ranking 4th in the standings and winning 3 races in both years, but their performance was not quite of the championship caliber expected from the #24 team. Loomis and the team almost returned to championship glory in 2004, but finished 3rd in NASCAR's first "Chase for the Championship" by a heartbreaking 16 points to winner Kurt Busch. They won 5 races that year. 2005 began in thrilling fashion as Loomis won his very first Daytona 500: NASCAR's crown jewel event. The #24 team also went on to win at Martinsville and Talladega early in the year, but the rest of the season would be a nightmare. The team shockingly missed NASCAR's "Chase for the Championship," and Loomis was replaced by 26-year old Steve Letarte for the final 10 races to prepare the young crew chief for 2006. Loomis had been grooming Letarte, the team's car chief since 2002, to take over the position. Loomis had already planned on leaving the stressful job after 2005 due to a reorganization of priorities. Loomis served as vice president for racing operations at Petty Enterprises, returning there in 2006. With the team that emerged from the merger of Gillette Evernham Motorsports and Petty Holdings, Loomis serves as the executive director of racing operations. Crew chiefs of all four racing teams report to him, and as well as the race teams, he oversees pit crews, team management and team transport. In January 2012, Loomis was released of his duties as Chief Operating Officer for Richard Petty Motorsports. For his career Loomis collected 26 wins. All but three with Gordon. His most notable accomplishments include winning the 2001 Cup Championship; Brickyard 400 (2001 & 2004); Southern 500 (2002); and Daytona 500 (2005).
JIMMY MAKAR – 3/24/1956 - In 1976, at the age of 20 years, Makar began his NASCAR career after being chosen to take his father's NASCAR Cup Series car to Robert Gee, where he helped with the repairs. After two weeks, he was offered a job at Gee's shop. Makar accepted the job, and moved from New Jersey to North Carolina. He continued to work at Gee's shop until he was offered a job as a mechanic from Harry Hyde in 1979. Two years later, he was hired by Ron Benfield and Buddy Parrott. Makar spent three years with Benfield and Parrott before he was hired by Junior Johnson. However, after one season, he moved to Blue Max Racing, where he continued to work to 1990. During Rusty Wallace's 1989 championship, Makar was the team's chassis specialist. In 1990, he became a crew chief for the first time. He was the crew chief for Wallace in seven races as the duo posted three Top 10 finishes. During the 1991 season, Makar joined Penske Racing South, where he continued being Wallace's crew chief for 17 races. The combination recorded their first win at Bristol Motor Speedway in the spring. Midway through the season, Makar left Penske to work for Joe Gibbs, who was building a new team around Dale Jarrett, Makar's brother in law. He was Jarrett's crew chief from 1992 to 1994, winning two races together, one of which was Joe Gibbs Racing's first win, the 1993 Daytona 500. After Jarrett left following the 1994 season, Makar remained at Joe Gibbs Racing to become Bobby Labonte's crew chief. Their first season together they won three events including the Coke 600. They added one additional win in 1996 and 1997. Labonte piloted their Pontiac to
two wins in 1998 before ripping off five wins in 1999 and a runner up finish in the points standings. 2000 saw them win the Brickyard 400, along with three other wins, and claim the Cup Championship. He remained Labonte's crew chief through 2002 adding three more wins. At the end of 2002 he was assigned to his current position, the team's Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. He also assists the team's engineering and aerodynamic departments. For his career his drivers made 23 visits to victory lane. They won such notable races as: Daytona 500 (1993); Coke 600 (1995); Brickyard 400 (2000); along with the 2000 Cup Championship.
KEVIN "BONO" MANION – 6/24/1972 - Manion was born in Boylston, Massachusetts, United States. He helped Bobby Fuller in the NASCAR Winston Modified Series at the age of 14. His first job was cleaning the car plus general mechanic work. Eventually he was promoted to tire changer. Between 1988 and 1992 he worked as a crew chief for Chris Woods on Late Models at Riverside Park. In 1995, Manion and friend Tommy Baldwin, moved to North Carolina to further their racing career landing the job of general mechanics for the #41 car of Larry Hedrick Motorsports. The team had Ricky Craven as the driver and a crew chief of Charley Pressley. During this time, Manion and Baldwin shared a house and were later, in 1997, joined by Steve Park. Park's move coincided with his becoming the driver of the #3 Xfinity Series car owned by Dale and Teresa Earnhardt. Manion would join Dale Earnhardt Inc. shortly after Park's move. Manion’s first full time gig as a NASCAR crew chief in the Xfinity Series as he led up the efforts of Martin Truex in 2004. They won six races their first year together and claimed the Xfinity Championship. 2005 was a repeat of 2004 as they again won six times and another Championship. In 2006 DEI moved both Truex and Manion up to the Cup Series to compete full time. They posted only two Top 5 finishes. 2007 saw improvement as Truex wheeled his #1 DEI Chevy to his and Manio’s first Cup victory. Things took a downturn the next couple years as they would only post three Top 5 finishes during the span of 2008 and 2009. DEI and Chip Ganassi had merged to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Manion was put in charge of driver Jamie McMurray. Their first season together
(2010) they won on three occasions; but they would not win again until 2013. He was hired by Tommy Baldwin Racing to lead driver Michael Annett in 2014. They had a best finish of 16th. The following year Manion would move to work for Richard Petty Motorsports after the first seven races of the season; they had posted a best of 9th at Watkins Glen. On December 10, Manion announced that he had left RPM. On January 6, 2016, it was announced Manion would become crew chief for a Kyle Busch Motorsports truck shared by Daniel Suárez and Cody Coughlin in the Truck Series. Suarez won a race that season; and in 2017 Kyle Busch added two more wins. In 2018 Manion went to work for owners David Gilliland and the Crosley Sports group. Manion headed up eighth different drivers that season. Bo LeMastus drove the majority of the races (11); while Gilliland and four other drivers drove twice. The group of drivers compiled five Top 5 finishes with Kyle Benjamin finishing second at Martinsville. To date he has won five Cup races and the major races won include: Daytona 500 (2010); Brickyard 400 (2010) and Coke 600 (2010). He has also claimed 15 Xfinity Series wins and two Championships; in addition to three Truck Series victories.
GIL MARTIN – 9/17/1960 - an American NASCAR crew chief. He is the first crew chief to win in all three divisions of Cup, Xfinity, and Truck Series. He first was a crew chief in the Xfinity Series for Jeff Burton in 1993 and they won at Myrtle Beach SC. Kenny Wallace was brought in to drive in 1994 and Martin led Wallace to three wins and a fourth place finish in the points. In 1995 they ran a part time schedule in both the Xfinity Series and the Cup Series. They posted a win in the Xfinity Series but had no success in the Cup series. 1996 saw Martin get his first crack at being a full time chief in the Cup Series – still working with Wallace. They ran the whole season with a best finish of seventh at Darlington. The next three season he headed up part time efforts for Wallace, Lance Hooper, and Dave Blaney. In 2000 Blaney ran full time, and posted back to back top
tens finishes; their only Top 10’s of the year. The next year saw Martin only crew chief four Cup events; but he ran the full Xfinity series with a multitude of drivers. Mike Skinner make the most starts and had six Top 5 results. Jeff Purvis only ran three times but he won at Pikes Peak. In 2002 he was back for a full time gig with Richard Childress Racing. Robby Gordon was led by Martin; but they didn't click, so after 12 races Childress swapped crew chiefs. Martin went to driver Kevin Harvick, and Gordon got crew chief Kevin Hamlin. The Harvick / Martin duo finished out the season well with a win and six top tens. But in 2003 after just five races with Harvick, Martin was replaced by Todd Barrier. He spent the rest of 2003 and 2004 without a full time job. Childress hired Clint Bowyer to drive for him in 2005 in the Xfinity series; and Martin was once again atop the war wagon. They won twice; posted 16 Top 5 runs and finished second in the points. In 2006 the duo moved to full time in the Cup Series. They finishes with four Top 5 finishes that season; but the next two years won once each year. He split duties leading Kevin Harvick most of the next season while having three Top 5’s. Harvick made major improvement in 2010 as he won three times and finished third in points. The following season he again finished third in points while claiming four wins. For the 2014 season Martin would remain Childress Racings crew chief, but swapped over to head up driver Austin Dillon (Childress' grandson). They posted one Top 5 finish that season and none the next before being replaced mid-season by Slugger Labbe. To date Martin has won 16 races, including the Coke 600 twice with Harvick. He led his drivers to be in the Chase six of the last ten seasons; finishing third four times.
MATT MCCALL - 7/3/1981 - currently a NASCAR crew chief, McCall first got involved as a driver. McCall began racing at the age of nine, running go-karts. At the age of thirteen, he moved to the adult leagues, collecting over 150 wins, before moving to the World Karting Association Dirt Series. During that time, McCall collected the WKA's Most Improved Driver and Grand National Champion awards. McCall's major racing debut came in 1999, when began running Super Sport races at Hickory Motor Speedway, finishing fourth in points. The next year, he won Rookie of the Year and Mechanic of the Year awards. In 2006, he made his debut in the ARCA Re/MAX Series at Daytona, where he started and finished second. He also ran five Busch races for Yates, his best finish being a 24th at Bristol Motor Speedway. He was released after the season; he then joined Richard Childress Racing as an engineer, while racing in regional events and graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2003 with a degree in engineering. In 2013, McCall acted as interim crew chief for Jeff Burton in the Brickyard 400; later in the year he returned to on-track competition, driving the
#92 Chevrolet for RBR Enterprises in the NASCAR Truck Series' UNOH 200 at Bristol, finishing 22nd in the event. After the 2014 season with Richard Childress Racing, he left to become the crew chief for Jamie McMurray starting in 2015. The duo posted four Top 5 finishes, with two of those being second place results. They qualified for the Chase but were eliminated after the first round. 2016 was worse than the previous year as McMurry had a best finish of fourth and only two Top 5's. Again he made the Chase; but once again was eliminated in the first round. Chip Ganassi kept the pair together again for 2017; and although they only had three Top 5 finishes; they did put together 17 results where they finished in the Top 10. On the strength of all those top 10 results they again made the Chase. This time they made it through the first round; but was eliminated at the end of the second round. 2018 proved to be the worst season for the duo yet. McMurray only had two Top 5 finishes and eight Top 10's. This year the failed to make it to
theChase. Chip Ganassi released McMurray at the end of 2018; and offered him a ride for the 2019 Daytona 500; and a job with Chip Ganassi Racing after that. Still with his job as a full time crew chief; McCall still makes time to get behind the wheel and race on occasion. On November 25th, 2018 McCall traded in his pit box for a seat behind a Late Model stock car; and won the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park. After getting caught up in a multi-car incident toward the midway point of the 200-lap event, McCall worked his way up from the rear of the field, passing Deac McCaskill with three laps to go to take the victory. This was the second year in a row that McCall had some this race. For 2019 Kurt Busch will be brought in to drive the #1 car and be paired up with McCall.
LANCE MCGREW - 12/15/1967 - In 1999, McGrew joined Hendrick Motorsports as a crew member of the #24 Xfinity Series team with driver Jeff Gordon, and it wasn’t long before McGrew became a crew chief within the organization. McGrew was named the Xfinity Series crew chief for the #24 Chevrolet, shared by Jeff Gordon and Ricky Hendrick during a limited schedule. Gordon captured the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2000, giving McGrew his first career win as a crew chief. McGrew and Ricky Hendrick developed a good relationship during the 2000 season, and the duo was paired up again – this time for a full season in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2001. In 2002, McGrew moved from the Truck Series to the Xfinity Series and became the crew chief for the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, which was to be driven by Hendrick. After only three years of experience as a crew chief, McGrew led Brian Vickers and the #5 Hendrick Motorsports team to win the 2003 Xfinity Series championship. The title was the first-ever in the Xfinity Series for Hendrick Motorsports. The #5 team finished the season with three wins, one pole position. McGrew’s Xfinity Series success as crew chief continued in 2004 with Kyle Busch, who drove the #5 Chevy full-time for Hendrick Motorsports. The team ended the season with five wins and five poles but ended second in the points race. At the end of the 2004 season, McGrew was named crew chief of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, and
was once again paired up with Vickers in the NASCAR Cup Series. McGrew, then a rookie in the Cup scene, helped lead the #25 Hendrick Motorsports team to its best season since 2001. In 2006, McGrew and the #25 team improved on their previous Cup season by recording a 15th-place finish in the championship standings with one win, one pole, five top-five finishes and nine top-10s. In 2007, McGrew transitioned into a new role at Hendrick Motorsports. McGrew became the crew chief for Hendrick Motorsports research and development team, which played a major role in the organization’s development of its Impala SS. McGrew continued this role in 2008. Later in the 2008 season, McGrew once again played the crew chief role. This time it was for the young, up-and-coming driver Brad Keselowski, who made his first two career Cup Series starts in the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. On May 28, 2009, it was announced he would replace Tony Eury, Jr. as crew chief on an interim basis for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. beginning at the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. On October 30, 2009, McGrew was selected as Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s full-time crew chief for the 2010 season. In 2011 McGrew transitioned to the #5 car to be Mark Martins crew chief. The two posted two top five finishes. In 2012 McGrew moved to the K&N series to be crew chief for up and coming Chase Elliott (son of Sprint Cup Champion Bill Elliott). The duo won a race, and Elliott finished fourth in point. In 2013 Elliott raced part time in the Camping World Truck series with McGrew at the helm. They ran nine events, won one race, posted five top fives, and seven top ten finishes. Elliott went on to race full time in the Xfinity Series in 2014; while McGrew stepped down as crew chief and took over the Hendrick organization’s research and development department.
LARRY MCREYNOLDS - 1/10/1959 - McReynolds was born in Birmingham, Alabama as the eldest of six children. Larry's NASCAR career began in 1975. His first time atop the pit wagon was in 1982 when he led Mark Martin in 1982. He worked his way up the ladder and took his first full time crew chief job in 1986 heading up the efforts of Joe Ruttman for owner Kenny Bernstein. The next season Ruttman was replaced by Morgan Shepherd. In 1988 Ricky Rudd was hired to wheel the Bernstein machine and McReynolds first win as a crew chief came that year at Watkins Glen. He won on at the Somona road course again in 1989, and with Brett Bodine at North Wilkesboro in 1990. In 1991 McReynolds paired up with Davey Allison. The combination in 1991 of McReynolds, Robert Yates and driver Allison was pure magic! From 1991-1993 they brought home 11 wins and 3 pole positions. They won The Winston All-Star race back-to-back in 1991 & 1992. As crew chief, Larry won his first Daytona 500 in 1992 with Davey behind the wheel of the famous #28
Texaco Ford. The pair had also won the World 600 in 1991. Allison was killed in a tragic helicopter accident in July, and Yates finished out the season with various drivers. McReynolds paired with Ernie Irvin to win two races before the end of that season. The duo stayed together in 1994 and posted three wins and 15 Top 5 finishes in the first 20 races. But tragedy would strike once again, as Irvan suffered severe injuries in practice at Michigan in a practice; nearly being killed. Kenny Wallace would finish out the season. In 1995 McReynolds paired with Dale Jarrett, and they won once in 1995. Recovered from his injuries, Irvin returned to Yates with McReynolds once again at the helm. They won two events in 1996. In 1997 McReynolds moved to Richard Childress Racing to lead Dale Earnhardt Sr. 1998 started out with McReyolds leading Earnhardt, and they won the Daytona 500. But after 13 events, Childress swapped McReynolds with Kevin Hamlin as McReynolds would lead Mike Skinner's team. He would finish out his career with Skinner in 2000. In 2001 he ventured into the Fox Sports broadcast booth with Mike Joy and three time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip. Thirteen years later, Larry finds great joy as Race Analyst for the NASCAR Cup races with FOX Sports during the first half of the race season. For his career as a crew chief McReynolds garnered 23 wins, The Coke 600, and two Daytona 500's. His final win coming in the 1998 race with Earnhardt Sr.
MICHAEL 'FATBACK' MCSWAIN - ?/?/? - McSwain started as a Cup crew chief in 1997 for owner Richard Jackson and driver Morgan Shepherd. They started well with a tenth place finish in the second race of the season; and would finish third in the season fourth race at Atlanta. However the team these had a series of 20th and worse place finishes, and several DNQ's. In 1998 McSwain went to work for owner Doug Bawel and his driver Robert Pressley; but the duo only produced one Top 10 finish. In 1999 McSwain got a fresh start with new owner Cale Yarborough, and his driver Rick Mast. They only posted one Top 10 finish, and after ten events McSwain was replaced by Jerry Pitts. Michael then went to work for owner/driver Ricky Rudd. Victory eluded them that season. In 2000 Rudd moved to just a drivers position as he drove for
Roberts Yates Racing, McSwain followed him as his crew chief. Once again they didn't find victory lane. Together they found victory lane twice in 2001; and finished fourth in the points (McSwain's best ever). McSwain led Rudd to another win again in 2002, but the pair split up with three races left in the season, and McSwain went to Joe Gibbs Racing to head up Bobby Labonte's team. 2003 saw Labonte win two races and finish eighth in points. Surprisingly after 18 races in 2004 McSwain was let go from Joe Gibbs, and he returned to being crew chief for Ricky Rudd who was now driving for the Wood Brothers. The pairing produced just five Top 5 finishes in a disappointing season where Rudd finished 21st in points. The Wood Brothers made wholesale changes in 2006 as they replaced driver Rudd with Ken Schrader, and McSwain was replaced by David Hyder. After 20 races Schrader had 13 finishes of 20th or worse, and the Wood Brothers brought back McSwain to finish the season. Their results proved no better as Schrader had nine finishes of 20th or worse in the final 16 races. 2007 saw the Wood Brothers only run part time and used three different drivers. During this time they also used three different crew chiefs; with no driver posting a single Top 10 finish in 18 starts. For his career McSwain posted five wins (three with Rudd, and two with Labonte). He finished in the top five in points twice (both with Rudd). His pairing with Rudd and Labonte proved to be fairly successful because both drivers were low key and laid back; where McSwain was know to be fiery and short tempered. After McSwain was fired from Joe Gibbs Racing, he use to wear the hat of the opposing NFL team that the Redskins played each week, when Gibbs went back coaching.
SCOTT MILLER - ?/?/? - Prior to his focus on the mechanical side of motorsports, Miller got his start as a motorcycle racer, eventually advancing to the national level in AMA Motocross. He made the transition to race cars in 1981 and was competing in NASCAR shortly after. In 1983, he was an owner/driver in the NASCAR Winston West Series. He spent five seasons in IndyCar, where he worked as a chief mechanic before joining Tri-Star Motorsports in 1995, competing weekly on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. He moved into the Cup ranks on a part time basis in 2001. Owner Cal Wells replaced Joe Garone with Miller, as crew chief for driver Andy Houston. The duo missed qualifying for three races and managed a best finish of 18th. In 2002 Miller was on the sidelines; but returned full time in 2003 to lead Ricky Craven. They posted a win at Darlington. It was the first win for Miller; and the last career win for Craven. In 2005 Miller went to work for Richard Childress where he would remain until 2010. He led Dave Blaney in 14 events but they only managed one Top 10 finish. He would lead Jeff Burton
for the next four years. They won their first year together; and would win once the following season. They won twice in 2008 but they went win-less in 2009. In 2010 Miller moved to Michael Waltrip Racing as executive vice president of competition. While there he also called the shots for a few races each year through 2013. He won with Bowyer in 2010 and it would be his final win as a crew chief. After his crew chief responsibilities he was responsible for managing all areas of competition at Michael Waltrip Racing. During his four-year tenure in this position, MWR teams qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2012, 2013 and 2015. In December of 2015, NASCAR Announced that Scott Miller has joined the organization as senior vice president of competition, responsible for managing all competition efforts related to technology, inspection, rule development and officiating across NASCAR’s wide portfolio of racing. Miller replaced Robin Pemberton For his career Miller won six races and had 30 Top 5 finishes in 214 starts.
GENE NEAD - 9/2/? - got his first job in 1996 working for owner / driver Phil Parsons in the Xfinity Series. They failed to win but did post five Top 5 finishes; including four third place finishes. 1998 again saw Parson and Nead pair up and again they posted five Top 5 finishes. For 1999 Nead started the season with Parsons, but went to owner Mike Curb to work with driver Shane Hall. They posted one Top 5 (Myrtle Beach). Curb hired Jay Sauter to drive for him in 2000 and 2001. Sauter posted three Top 5’s and also worked with Ron Hornaday for three events and posted a Top 5. In 2002 Nead headed to the NASCAR Truck Series to work for owner Jim Smith and his driver Ted Musgrave. They had a good first season; posting three wins and 12 Top 5’s; finishing third in points. 2003 was much a repeat of the previous year as Musgrave won three times had 14 Top 5’s and again finished third in the points. The following season the duo only won twice; but had eleven Top 5
finishes; and once again finished third in points. 2005 was a high water mark for Musgrave and Nead. Although they only won once they did manage to beat out Dennis Setzer by 55 points to win the Truck Series Championship. In 2006 Xfinity Series Owner (and Cup Driver) Kevin Harvick hired Nead to lead driver Burney Lamar for the majority of the Xfinity Series events. They paired together top post one Top 5 finish; meanwhile Nead also worked with drivers Bobby Labonte and Jeff Burton for the rest of the series events; but had no luck as Labonte was able to post the only Top 10. In 2007 Nead got his first shot heading up a Cup Series team as he worked with owner / driver Robbie Gordon for 19 events. They managed a best finish if fifth at Watkins Glen. He also went to work with the Wood Brothers the later part of that season with driver Bill Elliott. Nead would only work two events in 2008 calling the shots for Elliott. For 2009 Nead went to work for JTG-Daugherty Racing with driver Michael McDowell. In 17 events they posted three Top 10 finishes. He also work eight races with Michael Waltrip Racing with little results. Nead remained with Gordon in 2010 and he led Gordon to a second place finish at Somona. He also worked with Mike Skinner in the Truck series that season and posted five Top 10 finishes. As 2011 rolled around Nead went to owner Phil Parsons to work with Michael McDowell. They only posted a best finish of 30th. McDowell left Parson the following season and Nead went with him. They remained there through 2013; and posted a best finish of ninth in the 2013 Daytona 500. Josh Wise replaced McDowell in 2014 with Nead still at the helm; but they could only post one Top 20 finish. Wise was able to post one Top 10 finish in 2015. For 2016, Nead went to BK Racing to work with Matt DiBenedetto. They were a seriously under-funded team but still managed to post one Top 10 finish; a sixth at Bristol. DiBenedetto and need moved to drive for GoFas Racing. They too are an under-funded NASCAR team; but managed two Top 10 finishes. Both come in the high paying races at Daytona and Indianapolis. For 2018 the group remained together. (pictured above)
GARY NELSON - 6/5/1953 – Nelson was born in Elgin, Illinois on June 5, 1953, the sixth child and second son of Mildred Ollendorf and Arnold Nelson. Arnold moved his family to Redlands, California one year later to get out of the cold. Nelson left school after completing the 9th grade. Nelson started in the racing business cleaning up the shop for San Bernardino, California driver Ivan Baldwin. Nelson soon became Baldwin's number one asset as crew chief, engine builder and all around mechanic. Ivan Baldwin driving with Gary Nelson as crew chief became the top team for short track racing on the west coast. Baldwin and Nelson raced any time anywhere and seemed to win or crash on a regular basis from 1969 thru 1976. The pair raced NASCAR stock cars winning numerous track championships on the west coast. In 1973, Nelson got his first shot a being a crew chief in NASCAR for a west coast driver named Jack McCoy. The led McCoy for three races in 1973
and three more in 1974. In 1973 they had a best finish of fifth and in all three races they posted finishes of ninth or better. The following year didn’t go well as in all three races they fell out with mechanical issues. In 1976 Nelson took a floor sweeper job at DiGard Racing in the South East with young Darrell Waltrip, driving. The team won Waltrip's first big track race at Darlington in 1977. Nelson moved through the ranks to become DiGard's Chief Mechanic in 1978 as the team won at most NASCAR tracks from 1977-1979. Finishing 2nd to Richard Petty in the 1979 Winston Cup Championship. Nelson took a one-year break to help a friend start a new business, Ron Eaton, of Lakewood Washington. Nelson moved into his first full time crew chiefs position in 1981 working with driver Ricky Rudd and DiGard Racing. The two didn't win a race but finished in the top five 14 times; and sixth in the points. Bobby Allison replaced Rudd in 1982 at DiGard. The duo teamed up to win eight races that season, and finished second in the Cup championship. 1983 and 1984 was also productive. Allison won six more races, and the Cup Championship in 1983; and won twice in 1984; finishing sixth in points. Things began to unravel between Allison and the team owners of DiGard in 1984 and 1985. Frustrated with the internal battle between Allison and DiGard Nelson built a R&D car and took it to Daytona in July 1985 to prove his ideas. Greg Sacks was offered a one race ride to drive the car. The team won what many call the biggest upset in NASCAR history by winning the 400 mile event. Instead of ending the Allison, DiGard dispute as Nelson had hoped, the Sacks victory caused even more internal conflict. When Rick Hendrick called asking Nelson to help start a second team for Hendrick Motorsports Nelson decided to take Rick up on his offer. Nelson was paired with Geoff Bodine and charged with building a complete Cup race team in less than 4 months. The new team's first race together brought another win for Nelson, the 1986 Daytona 500. The team went on to win one more race in 1986 at Dover. Hendrick Motorsports began to struggle with many engine failures and crashes making 1987 a difficult year for all involved. Nelson worked part-time in 1988 for ESPN as a booth announcer alongside Bob Jenkins and Ned Jarrett. Felix Sabates hired Nelson late in 1988 to build a new team called Sabco racing. Kyle Petty became Sabco's driver. Petty had one win and 14 top tens. Nelson finished out his crew chief career working for Sabates; but in 1991 Sabates had four different drivers. Petty ran 18 of those events, with one win. Other drivers were Kenny Wallace, Bobby Hillin, and Tommy Kendall. Nelson was know to be one of the most "innovative" crew chiefs; Having a history of stretching rules, Nelson was hired as chief enforcer for NASCAR in 1992. Seemed the thinking by NASCAR was - "if you want to catch the cheaters, hire one of the best of them." He has held several roles in the organization. He was the NASCAR Sprint Cup series director, Vice President of Competition, and Vice President of Research and Development. Nelson worked for NASCAR as it's Cup Director during its biggest growth period 1992 through 2001. NASCAR promoted Nelson to Vice President of R&D in 2001 giving him the task of building the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC. The first task of the R&D Center, led by Nelson was to improve the safety of racing. NASCAR had lost 10 drivers in its top three National racing series between 1991 and 2001. Of all Nelson's success in racing, Nelson is most proud of the safety improvements. Dale Earnhardt lost his life on February 18, 2001. Since that date to the time of this writing (April 1, 2018) there has not been another life-threatening accident in any of NASCAR's National racing series. Nelson left his position at NASCAR in 2007 to form his own company, Gary Nelson & Associates. NASCAR became the first client for Gary Nelson & Associates. For his crew chief career, Nelson posted 21 wins. His most successful days came with Bobby Allison when he had 16 wins. Most notable wins included Daytona 500 (1980); Southern 500 (1983); World 600 (1984) all with Allison. Also he won the Daytona 500 again in 1986 with Geoff Bodine.
CHAD NORRIS - ?/?/? - Norris started out as a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and has done the majority of his work there. He was a Xfinity crew chief from 2005-2013 heading up a team for 11 different drivers. In 2005 he led Matt Kenseth to a win at Darlington; Marcus Ambrose to a win in 2011, and Trevor Bayne to victory lane, also in 2011. Almost all of Norris' early career he was a crew chief for Jack Roush drivers. In 2012 Norris made his debut as a Cup crew chief when Bob Osborne announced his was stepping down for health reasons. He completed the 2012 season leading the team of Carl Edwards. The pair posted only one top five, and Edwards missed the Chase. In 2013 Norris returned to the Xfinity Series as he was the full time crew chief for Travis Pastrana. Pastrana ran competitive in the races, but had several crashes as he tried to get the feel for the heavy stock cars. He was able to post four Top 10 finishes. 2014 Saw him move to lead the efforts of Trevor Bayne. They had five Top 5 finishes; 21 Top 10’s but could only finish sixth in the points. 2015 he split time between drivers Darrell Wallace and Ryan Reed. Wallace posted one Top 5 finish while Reed struggle and did not post any Top 10 results. The following season he left Roush Racing to go to work for owner Chip Ganassi. He worked
with driver Brennan Poole in 2016 and 2017. In each season Poole posted four Top 5 finishes and 17 Top 10’s; but finished outside the Top 10 in points. For 2018 Norris moved to owner Maury Gallagher to work with driver Spencer Gallagher. As it ended up, Chad Norris was the lead wrench for a group of drivers who wheeled the #23 car in 2018. Spencer Gallagher drove selected races that season, and pulled off a win at Talladega. In all eight different drivers drove the car including both Bill and Chase Elliott; AJ Allmendinger, Alex Bowman Johnny Sauter and others. Spencer ran well as he had ten top ten finishes in his 19 starts. It was also nice to see Bill Elliott make his final NASCAR start after being out of a NASCAR race car for six years. Elliott ran on the road course of Elkhart Lake WI to wrap up his career.
BOB OSBORNE - 6/5/1974 - It wasn't until late in his junior year of college at Penn State University that Osborne got the itch to go racing. For six months after he graduated, Osborne spent day and night knocking on doors trying to land a job with a NASCAR team. Finally in January 1998, Osborne was given the opportunity to work for the #96 Sprint Cup team as the tire specialist. Osborne worked for the team for one year, never relying on his engineering degree but knowing that his time and patience would eventually pay off. At the end of the 1998 season the #96 team closed its doors and Osborne went on to work for owner Jack Roush, at then Roush Racing, where he's been working his way up the ladder ever since. Osborne started out as a general R&D data acquisition engineer where he worked at the shop traveling only to tests for the first two years of his Roush Racing career. After two years, Roush Racing decided to employ an engineer with each Cup team. Osborne was assigned to the #6 Valvoline team driven by Mark Martin where he spent the following two years as the team engineer traveling to each race and becoming the right-hand man to the crew chief. All of Osborne's experience with the #6 team lead to him getting promoted to crew chief of the #99. Osborne's first race as crew chief came during the spring Darlington race in 2004 with veteran driver Jeff Burton. In the following 31 races. Although both were rookies, the team never missed a beat and Osborne coached Edwards to a 10th-place finish in his first career Cup start at Michigan. Osborne and Edwards picked up in 2005 where they left off in 2004, breaking into the win column in just the fourth race of the
year in Atlanta. The team would go on to post three more wins, taking checkered flags at Pocono, repeating at Atlanta and winning the inaugural night race at Texas Motor Speedway. The duo also gave the competition a run for their money in the Chase finishing third in the 2005 NASCAR Cup Series points standings. Osborne’s team entered the 2006 season as championship favorites but got off to a slow start. In April, owner Jack Roush made the decision to move Osborne to the #26 Crown Royal/Irwin Tools Ford driven by Jamie McMurray. The move was in an effort to strengthen the overall racing operations. By the second Phoenix race in November, Osborne was back with Edwards and the #99 team and looking ahead to 2007. In 2007 Osborne’s #99 team remained inside the top 12 in point standings for 31 of 36 weeks. Led by Osborne, Edwards also broke a 52-race win less streak at Michigan International Speedway. Osborne led Edward and the #99 team to two more victories in 2007 at Bristol and Dover in the newly introduced Car of Tomorrow. Osborne and Edwards kicked off the 2008 season by taking home the checkered flag in two of the first three races, and continued their winning ways throughout the season. The duo paired to record the most wins. Their quest for the championship came up just short, finishing just 69 points behind champion Jimmie Johnson. In 2009, Edwards entered the season as one of the teams to beat. In a disappointment, Edwards and Osborne did not win a race for the second time in a season together making the chase but finishing 11th in points. The 2010 season wasn't much different than 2009 although the team managed to win the final two races of the year at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami finishing the season with huge momentum and finishing 4th in the chase standings. The #99 team got another win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as well as the NASCAR All-Star Race XXVII. Although having the most top 5's, top 10's, and best average finish than anyone else in 2011, the team fell short again in the championship to surging Tony Stewart, who won five of the ten chase races that year. Although in a actual tie in the points, Stewart owned the tie-breaker with more wins giving him the title. On July 17, 2012, Osborne announced he would step down as crew chief from the #99 team, citing "health reasons" as his concern. At the time, Edwards was running 11th in the Cup points. It was announced that Chad Norris would take over as crew chief for Edwards. With his health issues behind him, On January 6, 2015, Roush Fenway Racing announced that Bob Osborne would be returning to the top of the pit box to be crew chief for 2011 Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne. It was Bayne's first full-time season with the organization in the #6 Ford Fusion. They were only able to have two Top 10 finishes. Osborne departed Roush Racing at the beginning of 2016 to go to work for owner Bob Jenkins and his driver Chris Buescher. They pulled off an upset win at Pocono when pit strategy and weather combined for the surprising win. So for his career, Osborne posted 19 wins, all but one with Edwards; and led Edwards to the top four in points in four seasons. The other was with Buescher as mentioned above.
TRENT OWENS – 1/4/1975 - Owens made his debut in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 2001, running the #49 Ford at Pikes Peak. He started 32nd, but managed a good day, finishing 19th. He then topped that run with an 18th at Texas before finishing 34th at Kansas. He then switched rides, competing in three events for Ware Racing Enterprises. His best run was a 19th, coming in the season finale at California. Owens then got a limited schedule in 2002, racing the #15 Billy Ballew Motorsports Ford in six races. He was solid in that truck, scoring top-20s in all but one of his starts. His best finish of the year was a 14th at Pikes Peak (where he had his best career start of 12th), but he also had a pair of 15ths at Darlington and Dover. Despite the good results, Owens was released after Texas due to funding issues. In 2003, his driving career behind him, Owens worked with a young Clint Bowyer as he made his ARCA debut at Nashville Superspeedway, helping him pull off an eye-opening 2nd-place finish, with Richard Childress in attendance. Starting in 2006, Owens worked for Braun Racing. He would get his first win in that season working with Dave Blaney
and winning at Charlotte. He would lead a variety of drivers at Braun Racing through 2011. Such drivers as Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Brian Vickers all went win-less. It wasn’t until 2011 that he won for the second time. Mark Martin would win at Las Vegas; while Reed Sorenson would grab them a win at Elkhart Lake. In 2012 Owens would move to work for owner Steve Turner who was providing a car for his son-in-law James Buescher. They would win the season opening Xfinity race at Daytona. They also finished second at Michigan while only running 15 races that season. In 2013 Turner hired Kyle Larson to drive for him and they raced the entire Xfinity series schedule. They posted nine Top 5 finishes; including four second place finishes; as they would pair up to win Larson the Xfinity Rookie of the Year title. For 2014 Owens moved up to be a full time Cup crew chief working for Richard Petty Motorsports and driver Aric Almirola. They would win in their first season; grabbing the checkered hankie at the 400 mile race in Daytona. They also had a third place finish at Bristol. In 2015 and 2016 they would only be able to have three Top 5 finishes; and Owens was released from his contract at Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the season. He was then hired to oversee the JTG Daugherty Racing No. 37 team of Chris Buescher, on January 2, 2017. They had four Top 10 finishes that season. This pair remained together for most of 2018. Owens and Buescher only posted two Top 5's; both coming at Daytona. It was also their lone Top 10's. With team mate AJ Allmendinger also struggling; JTG Daugherty Racing decided to swap crew chiefs for the season's final nine races. The results proved to be pretty much the same. Buescher and Owens will be back together for 2019
All Photos copyright and are property of their respective owners