Right Sides Only: Notes from the Digital Ally 400 Winning Crew Chief, Paul Wolfe

by Stacey Owens

What does it look like to continually strive for perfection? Well, for a glimpse, look no further than Paul Wolfe. The No. 2 team has three wins this season, but if you asked Wolfe what he thought about Saturday night at Kansas Speedway, he'd tell you it was pretty rough. 

"It was a tough night. I mean, we were off quite a bit to start the race, and I think... we're far enough along in the season now where it seems like a lot of guys are starting to figure out where they want to be. We won some races early in the season, and I think the mile-and-a-halfs early in the year we were pretty strong. I think all the Penske cars were. But now you look and the Stewart-Haas cars and the Hendrick cars are really strong. 

"It's a lot -- none of these races are easy to win by any means, but it's tough right now. Tonight was a tough night, and you weren't going to get away with a car that was off a little bit, and that's where we were at the start of the race. Our balance wasn't right. We couldn't keep the throttle down, and we worked hard. It took a while. The car wasn't responding early on, and like Brad said, I think after the second stage or for the final 100 laps we finally got it tight enough where we were able to put some good laps together, and then it's just working the draft and all those other things on the restarts, which we were able to do really well at the end," Wolfe explained.
Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs

As other teams are beginning to catch up with the progress that the Penske cars made early in this season, Wolfe is looking beyond the summer to the playoffs.

"Well, I think as we look at the start of the season, we're just trying to understand the rules package, and I think we're at a place now where to be where we want to be when the playoffs start, we need to do some things different and explore a little bit with our cars and try to understand, because with this new rules, there's a lot more options I feel like, when we talk about where we want to be on downforce or drag, and I think we saw a different spread of that, as you look at qualifying. With the impound qualifying you kind of have what you're going to race and you can see the different speed in cars, and how that races in the pack is different, as well.

"We're trying to figure out where we want to be. I mean, we were strong to start the season, but like I said earlier, you saw some teams that have really stepped up over the last few weeks and kind of figured out where they want to go in a direction, and I think we've got to continue to explore a little bit to maximize everything we can and put ourselves in a spot. 

"Having three wins is nice, and that gives us that opportunity to continue to try some new things and see if we can find a direction that has a little more speed," Wolfe said.

Having three wins is nice, and if the No. 2 team is trying new things and looking for more speed, then it likely won't be long until we hear them talk about how nice even more wins are.

  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; Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life; and her husband who's supportive of her NASCAR obsession... as long as she allows him to obsess over college football every fall. 


Right Sides Only: Notes from the Digital Ally 400 Winning Crew Chief, Paul Wolfe Right Sides Only: Notes from the Digital Ally 400 Winning Crew Chief, Paul Wolfe Reviewed by Stacey Owens on Monday, May 13, 2019 Rating: 5