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Earlier tonight during the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip said that Lance McGrew deserved the award for the thickest skin in the garage area for being Dale Earnhardt Jr’s crew chief.
That statement got me thinking as to who really is the crew chiefs with the thickest skin in the garage area consider especially in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, there are some aggressive drivers that are really hard on their crew chiefs. And when I say aggressive, I mean brutal at times.
Now before I continue, I believe that while Chad Knaus in my opinion is the best crew chief in the garage area, he is not on this list, why? Jimmie Johnson doesn’t even make the top 20 list of drivers that yell or are really aggressive with being hard on their crew chiefs. I believe that that’s one of the reasons why this #48 team is so good, communication especially in marriage is key to success and 4 Cup Series Championships and 50 wins is success.
Anyway, I would have to say that the top 5 drivers in the garage area that are the most aggressively hard on their crew chief are:
1. Kurt Busch
2. Kyle Busch
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Juan Montoya
In looking at that list, I would say that the top 5 crew chiefs with the thickest skin in the garage area would have to be:
1. Steve Addington hands-down. Consider this, Addington has worked with first Kyle Busch and now his brother Kurt Busch. I believe that the Busch Brothers are the most aggressively hard on their crew chiefs period, not even Dale Jr. comes close to these two. The two drivers demand perfection and if they don’t get it, they let their crew chiefs know. I never could understand why drivers go off on their crew chiefs, but hay everybody gets mad.
2. Lance McGrew. McGrew has been crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for several races dating back into 2009 when Hendrick made the call to move Tony Eury Jr. to research and development at Hendrick. Also consider this, Dale Jr’s crew chief has to take crap from the media and NASCAR fans too. Of course I will mention that the best crew chief for Dale Jr. is Tony Eury Sr., he’s family and he doesn’t just take it, he fights back.
3. Steve Latarte. Latarte is currently Jeff Gordon’s crew chief. Being Jeff Gordon’s crew chief along doesn’t qualify you for this list, however the crap that he has taken for all of the media and the fans makes him number 3 on this list. As a matter of fact, some NASCAR fans are calling for Latarte to be fired, however I’m not. Latarte is the only active crew chief for Gordon period. Gordon is known for many things, but being so aggressively hard on his crew chief isn’t one of them.
4. Todd Berrier. Berrier was Kevin Harvick’s crew chiefs and if you have ever listed to Harvick on the radio, he is brutal at times. Of course, the entire #29 team should all have a hand in this award considering Harvick doesn’t just go off on his crew chief, but he goes off on his pit crew too. I think Kevin Harvick is a very talented driver, a championship caliber driver, but he needs his crew behind him and how you treat them is one key to success.
5. Greg Zipadelli. Zippy made this list because he was crew chief for Tony Stewart from 1999-2008. And in that time, he took a lot from Tony Stewart, the media and the Smoke fans.
Bottom line, this was a different type of article for me to write, but I had fun with this. It’s sort of like the article I wrote back in late March called “Who are the top 5 Heroes, Villains, and Underdogs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series?”, they are both the prospective of a NASCAR fan who has been watching NASCAR for almost two-decades now.
So what do you think, do you have a crew chief for this list, comment below.