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Who’s the best NASCAR Crew Chief of All Time

Posted by Digory Kirke on July 10, 2009

A large percentage of NASCAR fans know that Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt have Seven Cup Championships. Another Dale has EIGHT. A much smaller percentage know who he is. What Crew Chief has the most Cup Championships?

Crew Chiefs are often the unsung heroes of NASCAR. The drivers get most of the credit for winning races and championships. Crew Chiefs are often compared to caddies who merely hand the driver the proper club. The best “caddy” of all time? Below is the top twelve:

1 Leanord Wood: He invented and or came up with how pit stops are done today. He was, is, and will remain the Father of Pit Stops.

2 Chad Knaus: Three Consecutive Championships going for a fourth (3 with Jimmie Johnson 06, 07, 08)

3 Dale Inman: Eight Championships (7 with Richard Petty 64, 67, 71, 72, 74, 75, 79; 1 with Terry Labonte 84)

4 Kirk Shelmerdine: Four Championships (4 with Dale Earnhardt 86, 87, 90, 91)

5 Ray Evernham: Three Championships (3 with Jeff Gordon 95, 97, 98)

6 Lee Petty: Three Championships (3 with Lee Petty 54, 58, 59)

Bud Moore: Three Championships (2 with Joe Weatherly 62, 63; 1 with Buck Baker 57)

Jeff Hammond: Two Championships (2 with Darrell Waltrip 82, 85)

9  Herb Nab: Two Championships (2 with Cale Yarborough 76, 77)

10 Jake Elder: Two Championships (2 with David Pearson 68, 69)

11 Tim Brewer: Two Championships (1 with Cale Yarborough 78, 1 with Darrell Waltrip 81)

12 Smokey Yunick: Two Championships (2 with Herb Thomas 51, 53)

13 Andy Petree: Two Championships (2 with Dale Earnhardt 93, 94)

14 Carl Kiekhafer: Two Championships (1 with Tim Flock 55; 1 with Buck Baker 56)

Crew Chief Club

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Darrell Waltrip

Posted by Digory Kirke on July 8, 2009

Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip

1981 – DARRELL WALTRIP

Darrell Waltrip rallied from a 341-point deficit to bag his first NASCAR Cup Series championship in 1981, as Bobby Allison finished second for the fourth time in his career.

Waltrip was seemingly out of the title hunt in early June, but he began to whittle away at Allison’s lead with a series of top-five finishes. With six races to go, Waltrip moved into the points lead with a runner-up finish at Dover. In the final six races, Waltrip extended his lead and finished 53 points ahead of Allison.

Waltrip won 12 races during the 1981 season, while Allison won five times. No one else was close in the points race. Harry Gant finished third, 670 points behind Waltrip, and failed to record a single victory. Terry Labonte and Jody Ridley rounded out the top-five finishers.

DW Mt Dew #11

DW Mt Dew #11

1982 – DARRELL WALTRIP

For the second straight season, Darrell Waltrip rallied past Bobby Allison to take the NASCAR Cup Series championship. Driving Buicks for Junior Johnson, Waltrip lagged behind in the points race as Terry Labonte and Allison held the top spots for most of the summer. With four races remaining, Waltrip seized the points lead with an October victory at Martinsville.

For Allison, it was another frustrating end as he finished second in points for the fifth time in his career. Waltrip’s win gave team owner Johnson his fifth NASCAR Cup Series championship in the last seven years.

Waltrip won 12 races along the way to his 72-point victory. Allison won eight races. Labonte, who led the points standings most of the way through early August despite failing to record a victory, faded to third place, 278 points behind Waltrip.

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The Gray Ghost

Posted by Digory Kirke on July 8, 2009

Buddy Baker (The Gray Ghost) 1980 Daytona 500 Winner

Buddy Baker (The Gray Ghost) 1980 Daytona 500 Winner

February 17, 1980

“you really have to do something about Buddy Baker’s car,” the drivers begged NASCAR offcials. “It’s scaring the hell out of everybody.”

Baker’s ride was wicked fast, to be sure, but it was the car’s color scheme that had everyone spooked. The Olds was painted a hue so similar to the Daytona asphalt that it disappeared like a chameleon, materializing out of thin air. Dubbed the Gray Ghost, it proved to be the supernatural force that finally exorcised Baker’s Daytona demons.

In 17 previous starts, Baker won the Daytona 480 more times then he cared to remember. It was the pesky Daytona 500 he had trouble with. Over seven tries between 1973 and 1979, he led six races and more than 330 laps but failed to finish five times.

Finally, in 1980, the Gray Ghost outran Baker’s past, his bad luck, and 41 other cors. Baker led 143 of 200 laps and captured the flag with an average speed of 177.602 mph, the fastest Daytona 500 in history.

“I held down the throttle and held my breath,” Baker said. “I figured the faster I got it over with, maybe I could get done before my luck got me again.”

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