NASCAR

Recharge before return to Race to the Chase

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Jeff Hammond

Jeff Hammond is a former NASCAR crew chief who led Darrell Waltrip to two of his three Sprint Cup championships. The duo also teamed up to win the 1989 Daytona 500. Prior to that, Hammond was the jackman for Cale Yarborough for all three of his Cup championships. He has 43 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief. Follow him on Twitter.

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If their cars and the shop are in good shape, crew chiefs want to do everything possible to give their teams as long a weekend and as easy a week as possible before putting on pressure for the final 16 weeks of the season. Personally, I haven't had a free weekend since late January. During the first Nextel Cup off-weekend, NASCAR on FOX covered the Busch race in Mexico City, and during Easter weekend, we covered the first Nashville Busch race. We've been really busy this season, and I'm looking forward to relaxing and not getting on an airplane. You may say, "You're a broadcaster, Hammond. You don't have the pressure of being in the Race to the Chase." That's exactly right so if I'm tired, you can imagine what it's like for guys who are really busting their butt and working hard every week under the microscope of the media, sponsors, drivers and their own pressures. They need to clear their heads.

Speed Mail Jeff
I've talked to a lot of crew members in the garage area. They're tired, and they're looking forward to this weekend so they can be ready to go to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brickyard weekend is a tough venue because there's so much pressure to run well at Indy. It's our second Daytona, the second-biggest race of the year that brings so much attention and prestige. Everybody wants to enjoy racing there. If you don't have your act together, and you don't make the right decisions, it can be as stressful as any Daytona 500 has been or will be. When you go to the track next weekend, you need to make sure your team is ready. That's another reason why crew chiefs should let their teams take a mental break before continuing the Race to the Chase.


FOX race analyst Jeff Hammond led Darrell Waltrip to two of DW's three Winston Cup championships as his crew chief. They also teamed to win the 1989 Daytona 500.

For autographed copies of Jeff Hammond's new book "Real Men Work in the Pits" plus magnets, hats and more, check out www.dwstore.com.

For photos and appearances, visit Jeff's web site www.jeffhammond.com.

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