Right Sides Only: Notes from the Camping World 400 Winning Crew Chief, Greg Ives

by Stacey Owens

There's something incredibly special about a first win. You'll always remember where it took place, how hard you fought to earn it, and who was there with you. Greg Ives, crew chief for Alex Bowman, has previously won in his role as crew chief, but the win at Chicagoland Speedway was his first with the newest driver of the No. 88. Ives talked about the win and finally getting to Victory Lane with the young driver.

"Yeah, I mean, I think you chase everyone that you compete and participate with, no matter if it was a pit bike race like I did yesterday or if it's a Cup Series or just a footrace. Finishing second there I think has been valuable for us to learn and grow as a team. Just kind of like what happened -- almost mimicked what happened in Kansas, but I think Alex had some experience behind him and allowed him to understand that Kyle's car was going to adjust and change a little bit when he got out front, and he just had to stay after it and attack.

"Sometimes if you feel beat, you're going to get beat, and I felt like he had that experience to know he still had an opportunity, and he took advantage of it," Ives said.

Ives also talked about the potential that Bowman has, moving forward. Though Bowman is in his sixth year as a driver, many considered him a rookie just last year, his first as a driver for Hendrick Motorsports.

"Well, I mean, sometimes respect is what you've got to go and get, and I think he's been capable of doing that. I feel like I've underperformed a little bit with the cars and been able to over the course of the last month and a half, two months been able to give him an opportunity to run up front and show what he's made of.

"You know, last week in Sonoma we had -- every week I have one of my guys kind of give the team meeting, and his main theme was go get that respect, and I think that's something we've been trying to do, and I think Alex, as well.

"We joked about it and had a couple laughs about it, but in the end, it is true that we just have to go out there and know that nothing is going to be given to us. It's up to us as a team to know where we're running and what we need to do to get better and to improve.

"Like I said, over the course of the last few months, we've been able to do that, and I think that's really been the key, Alex stepping up as the leader of the team and this becoming Alex's team rather than the 88 team of Dale and past teams. Take nothing away, he had to just make it his own identity, and he's been able to do that," Ives explained.

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The win marked only the second victory of the 2019 season for Hendrick Motorsports. Ives talked about the perception that the stable has been "off" compared to many other teams with more victories this year.

"You know, the problem is when you're fighting and you're digging and you're working hard, until you're winning, you're off by a lot. And until you're competing and contending -- yeah, we could compete in some speedway races and help with that, but as you can tell, I think the whole Chevy organization has started to realize we're better together. Jim Campbell has been a big part of that, starting at Talladega and that win that we were able to get from that.

"So it's really about us working together, working better, not just the 88 team, not just Hendrick Motorsports but all of Chevrolet.

"I think that's where we were behind.  I think we were all behind trying to think that we were smarter than all of us put together. I appreciate the 48 team, the 9 team, the 24 from my camp to help bounce ideas off of and build confidence off of some of the best in the garage.

"We were behind, yes, but I think you guys can tell we're getting better and we're contending and leading laps, and that's great, right?" Ives said.

As the summer months give way to the start of the playoffs, Ives will continue with business as usual as the No. 88 team works on catching up in the points.

"For me it's continuing doing what we've been doing, putting our best car on the racetrack run 1, and that's usually what you put your most time into. Keep on doing that and executing the races the best possible way and allowing these guys to be under the pressure that the playoffs give you.

"We have a lot of playoff points that we need to catch up on. This definitely helps, but going into a playoff without not a lot of playoff points is not the best place to be. Focused on trying to do that, and obviously just being consistent, executing and growing as a team," Ives explained.

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 Camping World 400 Winning Crew Chief, Greg Ives Right Sides Only: Notes from the Camping World 400 Winning Crew Chief, Greg Ives Reviewed by Stacey Owens on Monday, July 01, 2019 Rating: 5