Monday, July 6, 2015

Right Sides Only: Coke Zero 400 Winning Crew Chief, Greg Ives

Mother Nature can be downright mean sometimes. She's certainly wreaked her own special kind of havoc at NASCAR tracks this season. Just when fans think it's dry enough to take their seats, @iRainOnRaceDay rears its ugly head again. Though drivers must mentally prepare for the race, despite its start time, crew chiefs must often change their entire race strategy. Fortunately, Greg Ives was ready.

"Well, it all kind of started out when we got down here Friday. I've been kind of preaching that to our guys, to myself and to the media throughout the year of if we start qualifying better, we'll end up having more success and be able to dictate some of our pit strategy off of that.
"We were able to do that by setting a fast lap in practice, one, expecting it to rain out Saturday, and plans don't always come together, and they did, so we were able to get that No. 1 pit stall, and we were able to win from the pole," Ives said after the early morning win at Daytona International Speedway. 
Ives is another crew chief who realizes that his job doesn't just happen on Sunday.
"It's definitely something that we need to drive home through our guys, through myself, through Dale, to make sure we do our jobs on Friday so it makes the Sunday win even better," Ives explained.
Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images
With the horrific wreck that saw Austin Dillon's car hurtled into the catch fence on the final lap of the race, Ives was asked post-race whether the close plate racing at such high speeds needed to be addressed.
"You definitely don't celebrate the victory at the end like you should just because the fans potentially could be hurt. I did not know the condition they were in at the time, and Austin definitely took a wild ride.
"You know, you want exciting racing. Fans want to see a good race. It's what it is.
"If there was no passing, if there wasn't close racing, then there would be another problem. I commend NASCAR for trying to work on things, as they are going to in Kentucky and maybe throughout the year. So we've just got to take their rules. They have a lot of people that are giving them advice, and I just take their rules and I try to expose where we can to win races. That's all I can do," Ives said.
He certainly did that Sunday night as the No. 88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet took the checkered flag for the second time this season. The Ives/Earnhardt pair continues to be a strong threat for the championship as they join Johnson, Harvick and Kurt Busch as multiple-race winners in 2015.
   Stacey Owens lives just outside Music City USA. She's always wanted to be a NASCAR writer, so working as a columnist and support editor for Skirts and Scuffs allows her to live that dream every single weekend.
   The sole NASCAR enthusiast in her home, she's hopeful that one of her three daughters might also harbor an appreciation for NASCAR, but it isn't looking good so far.
   Her other interests include country music, though she can't carry a tune; collegiate football, though she needs a lot of work on her spiral; and Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life.