Origin of the Crew Chief Club
FORT WORTH, Texas, (Apr. 3, 1998) Bobby Labonte scores his third win in four starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Dale Earnhardt finally wins the Daytona 500 in his 20th attempt. Dale Jarrett continues his winning ways from last season by finishing first at Darlington. Rusty Wallace leads the NASCAR Winston Cup points standings riding a string of top-five finishes.
Indeed, these drivers are talented athletes, but behind their records and accomplishments lies one pivotal and crucial player - the Crew Chief.
Today's unveiling of the Crew Chief Club is designed to shine the spotlight on the hardest working men in NASCAR, namely Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton.
These founding members of the Crew Chief Club aim to provide fans with a new way to interact with their favorite race teams. From signing autographs and speaking with fans at their respective manufacturer's souvenir trailers, to chatting with fans via the Internet, Crew Chief Club members are out to create recognition and fan support for their fellow crew members.
"For years fans have been able to recognize drivers through the media, and they can relate quite well to them now," said Makar, Crew Chief for six-time Winston Cup race winner Bobby Labonte. "The Crew Chief Club is a way for fans to get to know us on a more personal level - similar to that of the drivers. They'll find out what we're all about and the role that we play in getting our teams to win races and compete for championships."
Together, Makar, McReynolds, Parrott and Pemberton have led their drivers to 61 wins, 312 top-five finishes, 501 top-10 finishes and 59 poles prior to this Sunday's Texas 500 at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway. Their stewardship and undying ambition for their respective race teams to succeed have propelled their operations into the upper echelon of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. This has been accomplished through constant performance on the race track, and many long hours inside the garage and back at the shop.
"It takes a lot of hard work to be a crew chief," said Pemberton, Crew Chief for current NASCAR Winston Cup points leader Rusty Wallace. "But a crew chief isn't a crew chief without his crew. There wouldn't be anyone to chief without his guys.
"Each team has about 50 employees. Your main objective is to get all those guys together to work the long hours and convince them that the rewards will come with victories, poles and points. It's a lot of hours, but we quit counting hours a long time ago."
Those long hours have made NASCAR the most popular form of motorsports in the world, and in conjunction with NASCAR's 50th Anniversary, the Crew Chief Club is a welcome addition to NASCAR's ever-growing popularity.
"The Crew Chief Club is a microcosm of what NASCAR represents," said Liz Schlosser, director of licensing and consumer products for NASCAR. "performance, reliability, leadership, teamwork and vision, the founding elements of the Crew Chief Club, are also the elements that helped build the sport of NASCAR to where it is today."
Founded in 1998 by Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott, Robin Pemberton and entrepreneur Danielle Randall-Bauer, the Crew Chief Club's goal is to provide fans with an insider's look behind shop walls and into the confines of NASCAR's garage area. Together with its marketing partners, Crew Chief Club members will be accessible to fans at races and special events, in the media and on the world wide web at www.crewchiefclub.com, prominently displaying their dedication to their drivers, their teams and their sport.