WHY IS BEING DALE EARNHARDT JR.’S CREW CHIEF SO DIFFICULT?

Steve Letarte became Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s third crew chief since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, which begs the question, "Why is it so difficult to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief?" Junior seems like an affable guy, he's backed by one of the strongest owners in NASCAR, he's got his own theme song and the team works side-by-side with five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. So why is there more turnover here than a McDonalds short order cook? Here are the top five challenges to ...

//more

NEW CREW CHIEF FOR EARNHARDT?

Look for a major shakeup soon on the No. 88 team. Dale Earnhardt Jr. endured another disappointing run at Michigan, and with the dust settled on the Kasey Kahne deal, Rick Hendrick can once again focus on righting the 88 team. One possible outcome: grab Kenny Francis and put him on the No. 5 car and slide Alan Gustafson over to the 88. This is much more probable than the other logical solution -- finding a new driver. Time for another shake-up to Earnhardt's team (SI.com)  ...

//more

LATE RACE PIT DECISIONS CAN BE AGONIZING

When caution flags wave late in an event, crucial decisions need to be made, and in a hurry.A flow chart runs through a crew chief’s mind to make a call that the team, fans and sponsors hope is correct. A lot of weight is put on one man’s shoulders very quickly and he needs to be choosing correctly. This is what he signed up for and why some make healthy paychecks. And why some can gain gray hair.A series of questions need to be answered fast. Where are we running? Late in the Su ...

//more

PATRICK TO DRIVE NO. 7 CAR FOR JR MOTORSPORTS IN NATIONWIDE SERIES

Danica Patrick is coming to NASCAR. On Tuesday Patrick said that she will race the No. 7 car for JR Motorsports part-time next season in the Nationwide Series. At a press conference that was streamed live to the Internet, Patrick made the announcement alongside JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt and Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy.com, which will be her primary sponsor. Tony Eury Jr. will be Patrick's crew chief. And now we'll never have to write about Danica Patrick ever again. Other detai ...

//more

REPLACING CREW CHIEF DID NOT HELP JUNIOR

(Editor's note: This piece was somehow deleted in the last few days. Personally, I blame Gremlins. And Brian France. And the Car of Tomorrow. In any case, I am reposting it, along with your comments, which I copied from a cached version of the original article.)In early September I compared Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first 12 races of the season with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. (pictured above) to his second 12 races of the season with replacement crew chief Lance McGrew. My conclusion: it was uncl ...

//more

MCGREW EARNHARDT’S CREW CHIEF IN 2010

Hendrick Motorsports announced today that Lance McGrew will remain crew chief for the No. 88 team with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2010. McGrew took over the team on an interim basis from Tony Eury Jr. on May 28. Said owner Rick Hendrick, "I have total faith in Lance and what he's capable of accomplishing with Dale Jr. There was a lot of pressure with how he came into this deal, and the way he's handled it has been extremely impressive. Lance is confident in himself and in his decisions, a ...

//more

WHO IS DAVE ROGERS?

A quick personal note: My editor sent me an e-mail asking me to do a story on Dave Rogers. Normally I have a decent memory, but I had to go back to my e-mail twice to remember the name Dave Rogers. Then, like many of you, I asked the same question. Who in the blue hell is Dave Rogers? Turns out he might be the most important person in Kyle Busch’s career. And he was a focal point in one of racing’s biggest scandals last year. Dave Rogers will take over as Busch’s crew chief ...

//more

REPLACING CREW CHIEF HAS NOT IMPROVED EARNHARDT’S PERFORMANCE

Has changing crew chiefs made a difference for Dale Earnhardt Jr.?Tony Eury Jr. lasted 12 races this season with Earnhardt.  Since then, we’ve run another 12 races, making this the perfect time to take a snapshot of replacement Lance McGrew’s performance.  Have the driver's results improved at all?First, consider his performance all year in the table below. Remember that Watermills, as I determined earlier this week, are the best way to determine the probability of winni ...

//more