Monday, April 25, 2016

Right Sides Only: Notes from Toyota Owners 400 Winning Crew Chief, Dave Rogers

by Stacey Owens

Dave Rogers, crew chief of the No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, is a firm believer that NASCAR fans "deserve good, hard racing." He was able to help deliver that to the fans at Richmond International Raceway when his driver, Carl Edwards, took the checkered flag.

"Everyone at NASCAR, Goodyear and the tracks are working really hard to make sure we're putting on the best show we can for our fans. Made some great rule changes this winter with the low downforce package. Goodyear is doing a great job of adapting and bringing new tires," Rogers said.  
            
"Richmond moved this to a day race so parents have a chance to bring kids to the racetrack. It added up to a fantastic race. There's a lot of racing. It's been a while since we've seen people on the very bottom and very top, and passing. 
            
"I know the fans in the stands had to really enjoy the show today. Hats off to XFINITY. I know they're really excited to come onboard this season and capture a win. Great day for this Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 team." 

Credit: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
To the casual fan, it may appear that only Joe Gibbs and his teams are allowed in Victory Circle. The coach has actually been the only Sprint Cup owner with wins since April 3. Three of the four Gibbs' drivers have wins this season, starting at Daytona when Denny Hamlin won the 500. Since the beginning of April, however, Kyle Busch had back-to-back wins, and Carl Edwards has now followed that with impressive consecutive wins of his own.

Had Edwards not moved Busch out of the way on the final lap of the race, he might not have earned that second win, but they follow the same philosophy other multi-car teams have: no team orders.


"If we look at the big picture, today was a great day for NASCAR. Our fans don't want to see teammate orders. They don't deserve teammates to fall in line. They deserve good, hard racing.
            
"So I think today was a great day for the sport. It stinks that we had to move a teammate. I'm sure Adam and I will talk about it, and Carl and Kyle will talk about it. But I think it would be very disappointing to our fans if Joe imposed a team order and told us, 'Hey, have a parade instead of a race.'
            
"There's going to be plenty of days that the 18 is faster than us and they'll probably get to our back bumper and move us. We'll go down to Victory Lane, shake their hands, tell them, 'Good job. ' That's just a testament to Joe Gibbs Racing, allowing us to put ourselves in that position," Rogers said.

Rogers apparently gave the command for Edwards to push Busch aside.

"I don't remember what I said. But what prompted me is we wanted to win," Rogers said. "I think today, we can talk about the relations with the 18. Adam and I are great friends. Kyle and I are great friends. So I'm not worried about any relations. 

"As far as what I said, I don't know. I just wanted to win. I wanted to be here and talk to you guys today. I told him whatever I had to say."

The No. 19 team is on a roll, and Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole looks to be on a non-stop freight train. The rest of the field can't just keep chugging along if they expect to make any trips of their own to Victory Lane.
--------------------------

   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.
    This self-admitted grammar nerd also loves 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.

4 comments :