By HEATHER WILLIAMS
1:06 PM CST, December 7, 2011
NASCAR's silly season (or the year end shuffling of drivers and personnel) seems to be sillier than ever this season. But not because of massive unexpected driver changes, save Kurt Busch. This off season is wild, because it's all about the crew chief.
Honestly, who shouldn't be looking to make a change. I mean, if winning a championship isn't enough to keep your job, there isn't a crew chief in the garage area that shouldn't be looking over his shoulder.
Many crew chief changes were already in the works before we all found out that Darian Grubb would not be returning to defend his title the number 14 team. But it brings up a couple of interesting questions.
First how important is a crew chief to a team? Obviously from the movement this off season, it seems to be everything. But it cant be just any crew chief. As the off track leader of a NASCAR team, they have to be part engineer, part psychologist, part cheerleader and some times team mom. And chemistry is everything. But we all know this.
The second question is an interesting one. Did Tony Stewart pull the trigger too soon on Darian Grubb? Should teams wait until after the season before they make such big decisions about the future direction of the team? Or did Grubb perform, because he new he need a job at the end of the season, much like a football free agent in the last year of his contract? Honestly I can't answer that.
I do believe is that silly seasons are going to keep getting sillier. With the number of "quality rides" continuing to decrease, the number of quality free agents is on the increase. Unfortunately for the crew chiefs, it's much easier for teams to pull the trigger on them, because their name is not emblazoned on any tee-shirts, their photo not plastered on the side of any haulers.
Is it fair? Not always. But it seems the way we are heading. Everyone looking for the next big number on the crew chief wheel of fortune.
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