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Most pit crews never get to call their drivers out for mistakes

By admin | May 3, 2011

By Richard Allen


Lately, there have been a number of well documented cases of drivers exposing the mistakes made by other members of their teams. Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick have all been quite well known for pointing out poor performances on pit road, ill handling cars or sour engines. And now, even seemingly mild mannered Martin Truex has gotten into the act by ‘firing’ his pit crew last weekend in Richmond.

Unfortunately for the hapless crew members, they are often put in the position of not only having those humiliating dress downs made public by either television or on sites such as this, but also, they have little recourse. Crew members can’t as easily point out that the driver missed a shift on a restart that gave away positions that were just earned with a good pit stop or when he overdrives the car and wears the tires out well before the pit cycle is complete.

A few of crew chiefs such as Chad Knaus and Greg Zipadeli have earned enough clout that will allow them to call a driver out when he costs the rest of the team, but for the most part, the crew is played as the always-to-blame screw-ups while the drivers are held to lower standards.

Truth is, there are probably more good crew members than drivers in the NASCAR garage area. Without mentioning names one way or the other(that may be a blog for another day) there are more drivers in Sprint Cup racing that I wouldn’t hire than drivers I would hire if I had the money to own a team. But from the driver‘s perspective, they do not seem to believe that is the case.

It’s a competitive business and emotions run high. But at some point there has to be some semblance of teamwork in place. Unfortunately for the crews, many drivers’ beliefs on teamwork are something like, “If I don’t win it’s your fault.”

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7 Responses to “Most pit crews never get to call their drivers out for mistakes”

  1. zhills fan Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 3:25 am

    I really wonder what is really at the base of Truex’s problem. Just doesn’t seem to me like he has progressed since joining MWR. I still havn’t gotten over the 99’s situation. His brother sure hasn’t shown much yet. Just can’t get over Michael letting Bayne get away.

  2. Sue Rarick Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 7:04 am

    I can totally understand Truex’s rant. I am a big fan of MWR but I have had my own rant about their pit crews for a couple years now.

    Ignoring their first couple years when they were pathetic as a team, they have improved to the point of being competitive. But…..Both Truex and Reutiman have had terrible pit crews. I have seen these two drivers scratch and claw through the field only to see them loose 3 or more spots during each pit stop. Then have to start over and claw some more just to get back to where they were when they pitted. And yes I have mentioned this on every MWR site before.

    I personally would get rid of the guy in charge of the pit crews instead of the pit members themselves. If it was just Truex’s crew, get rid of the members. But it’s the same situation with Reutiman’s crew as well. I don’t have the statistics but I would bet those two teams would be rated as two of the slowest and worst crews at each race.

  3. tyler west Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 9:16 am

    MWR did not have sponsor dollars to put Bayne back in their cars. That is why he is not there anymore plus we may never have seen him accomplish what he did in Daytona otherwise. MWR needs better stops from their crewmen. It’s an ugly part of the sport but that goes with the territory. Be competitve or do something else. Plain and simple, drivers get fired and teams lose sponsors because of these things. Everyone is accountable. I agree, maybe they need to change whoever is coaching them. Somethings got to give.

  4. Buffy Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 9:49 am

    If you want to solve the problems at MWR get rid of the owner. Any association with Michale Waltrip will only drag someone down.

  5. Mark Black Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I wonder how many driver actually know their crew members names? I would say not very many,
    How can you have a real team when you don’t even know thier names?

  6. Dan Beasley Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    The reason my wife and I got interested in NASCAR back in the early 90s was because it was a team sport without all the individual antics and “all about me” behavior one sees in stick and ball sports. Unfortunately now there are more and more drivers – both of the Busch Brats, Punky Havoc, Denny Hamlin, etc – who lack the maturity and self discipline to handle themselves or events in a professional manner. Yes, people blow up under stress, but to try to excuse the melt downs, public beratings, and unprofessionalism these people display as simply being because they are under stress is flatly wrong. Everyone on a team is under stress. Any team owner who allows that behavior is abrogating his or her responsibility to the entire team, its fan base, and the sport.

  7. Mike S. Says:
    May 4th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    I still think the crew chief should be able to berate the driver over the radio whenever the driver screws up. Eventually, the driver will get the message that nobody is perfect and everybody makes mistakes. I’ve never really cared one way or another about Truex, Jr., but I hope there are more than a couple of 30th+ place finishes in the near future for him.