Gas 'N' Go: Who Is Best Crew Chief?
By: MRN Staff on August 21, 2014 | 7:46 A.M. EST
Who is the best crew chief atop the pit box? Pete Pistone and Dustin Long debate. (Photo: Getty Images)
The pits are open again and, MRN.com's Pete Pistone and Dustin Long each answer this week's featured question in "Gas 'N' Go."
Who is your No. 1 crew chief?
Look beyond the three wins that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has garnered this year for why Letarte is the best crew chief in the garage right now. Sure it's all about winning races, but in the case of the Junior-Letarte relationship it's more about how they feel when things don't go as well.
Earnhardt shows disappointment when he finishes in the top five or top 10, which is a far cry from how things were only a year or two ago when those performances were considered solid. Letarte has instilled so much confidence in his driver and team that just being OK isn't really acceptable.
It's a performance-based business for sure and ultimately teams (and drivers) are judged by the number of wins they put on the board. However in order to even be in that impact player category, relationships and intangibles have to work. No duo works better right now than Earnhardt-Letarte and both the driver and crew chief are at the top of their games.
I like the speed with Brad Keselowski’s car and speed gives a crew chief many options in a race. That’s a potent combination for Wolfe, who is among the more creative crew chiefs on pit road. His decisions played a key role in Keselowski winning the Sprint Cup title in 2012.
Wolfe also has helped Keselowski to three wins this season. While the team has had its ups and downs, only one driver has led more miles than Keselowski (Kevin Harvick).
When the Chase begins, I’d keep my eye on the No. 2 car and what the crew chief does.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Netwo