On top of the pit box: Teams must evaluate what is needed

Matt Kenseth (left), the driver of the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, tries to sort out what's ahead with crew chief Jason Ratcliffe.

Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images

If I were to put my crew chief hat back on during this off-week, I am going to take a step back and ask myself where our program is versus where I had expected it to be at this point of the season.

Is our preparation where it should be? Are our cars ready to go? With the rain delays and racing on Monday that we have already experienced, are my road guys tired? Do we need to adjust to give them a chance to recharge? It’s a fine balance across the board trying to give everyone a chance to catch their breath, yet shoring up the areas that we are weak on.

There’s no doubt about it that it’s been a hard eight weeks of racing. If you are a team that’s not having the success you had anticipated, I guarantee you that eight weeks feels more like 16 weeks. That’s where you need to focus on your people. Are they beat down and making mistakes because they are burning out, or are they making mistakes because they simply aren’t who you need in that position?

Obviously each team is different and their approach this week will have reflected that. If you are a team that has crashed a lot of cars already, well, you have no choice but to keep digging yourself out of that hole. I guarantee you each and every crew chief has sat down with their engineers, car chiefs and team managers to evaluate their individual program and come up with tactics and an overall strategy to move things forward.

There’s obviously still a lot of racing ahead of everyone. You want to roll into Richmond fresh and leave Richmond with some positive momentum on your side. Remember that Richmond is where the 26th and final race of the regular season happens, so you want a good showing next Saturday night because you might be coming back there in mid-September with your whole season on the line.