I’ve always believed that when you sat in that crew chief seat if you have a little bit of an understanding of what the man behind the wheel is going through, it makes it a lot easier.
I deliberately went to a driving school at Buck Baker’s many years ago to better understand that. Sure I love driving. I used to love to drive, but I knew I was never going to be a Cale Yarborough or a Darrell Waltrip.
But to totally understand what they were feeling going to that driving school did me a ton of good because jumping from car to car to car I understood when a driver told me, "Hey my seat ain’t comfortable," or "Hey my steering wheel is off," or "Hey the gas pedal and the brake pedal don’t exactly fit me right."
You can’t ride like that for 500 miles and think about your driving when you’re uncomfortable. You can’t do it in your passenger car.
That’s one thing that Paul Wolfe brings. He’s a former driver and he understands the cockpit side. He understands the comfort, the need for information, and he also has a really good insight into knowing how to ask the right question and I think when Brad explains it to him, since he’s driven, the picture of what the car’s doing becomes more alive, more visible.
When you can see it through your driver’s explanation, then all the sudden I think it gives you an advantage on how to go about fixing it. That’s one of the things that these guys are really fortunate about. Not everybody has that luxury to have a Paul Wolfe, who was a good driver and the way the cards were dealt, he was given the opportunity to become a crew chief and he made the most of it.
So his demeanor, his understanding of the car and, more importantly, his feel and his understanding of communication is a huge advantage when it comes to solving problems, especially during race conditions.
That’s one thing he did Sunday at Dover en route to getting the win. They were getting ready to go down a lap, Kyle Busch had him in his sights, then they got a caution, made an adjustment and from there on out they were in position to take advantage of a good race car, fast pit crew and a very determined driver.