NASCAR

Working smart in the Race to the Chase

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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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Not only are there 16 races in a row coming after this final off-weekend of the season, but it's been 14 races in a row to get to this point. The last time these teams had an off-weekend was Easter weekend. If I were still a crew chief, I would evaluate where my program is and make sure my cars are prepared for the upcoming events at a bunch of different race tracks. We go to Indy, a road course at Watkins Glen, back to a track similar to Indy at Michigan and then a short track at Bristol. While you want to make sure all of your equipment and cars are prepared, the biggest difference maker is making sure that your people are prepared. My team would have worked hard on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then I would have given them a long weekend. Crew chief Mike Ford gave all of the road guys on his No. 11 car at Joe Gibbs Racing a week's vacation. As long as you're ready, that's phenomenal because Denny Hamlin and his team are trying to stay in the Chase.

Speed Mail Larry McReynolds

Most of these teams are so deep at the shop that the road crews play less of a role at the shop. For the most part, teams are trying to give their guys a couple of days off a week. A lot of them have off on Tuesday, and a lot of them have off on Thursday until it's time to travel to the track. Before they head to Indianapolis next week, a lot of teams are going up to Virginia International Raceway and down to Kershaw, S.C. to shake down their cars on a road course one more time before Watkins Glen. From Kasey Kahne back through Kurt Busch, these teams don't want Watkins Glen to end their Chase hopes. You've got to work hard, but you've also got to work smart. Giving your people some time off could be the smartest thing you can do.


FOX race analyst Larry McReynolds has more than 25 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, crew chief and broadcaster. He and his fellow Crew Chief Club members take you behind the wall at www.crewchiefclub.com.

"How to Become a Winning Crew Chief" is on bookstore shelves, or you may order your own autographed copy from www.DWStore.com.

Tagged: Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne

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