Right Sides Only: Notes from the Auto Club 400 Winning Crew Chief, Greg Ives

by Stacey Owens

Crew chief Greg Ives isn't one to rest on his laurels. Most personnel on a winning team take time to savor the victory, but Ives is already looking ahead to next week's race in Phoenix.

"We kind of had a stranglehold on that place for a while, winning with Dale and then almost winning with Alex and having a lot of confidence going to that track, and then to kind of fall flat on your face is not a really good feeling, especially when I know it's his hometown, I know we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to run well there, and I don't care if it's the championship race or not, I want to win at any place we go and not be embarrassed.

"That's my goal for Phoenix is to go out there, unload just as fast as we did here, execute a good race, and whatever happens at the end of the year is going to happen.  But we've got to learn, we've got to continue to grow, and that's kind of my focus next week," Ives said.

Ives is also focusing on the longer term too. In thinking about the new car that teams have this season as well as the one they'll have next season, Ives addressed the approach that Hendrick Motorsports has in moving forward. 

"I think the one thing that I kind of talk about a lot is the fact that when Chevrolet said they're going to commit to working hard to try to improve the body, that put a sense of morale throughout the whole shop, throughout the whole team, a lot of positive attitudes towards it. It was our job as a team, my job as a crew chief, his [Alex Bowman's] job as a driver to go out there and execute it, right, and the last few years haven't been great for Hendrick Motorsports on what they're historically used to and the platform that we show up at the racetrack at.

"We need to take that positive momentum of the hard work Chevy put in and we needed to put that to results on the racetrack, whether it was top 10, top 5s. It's great to have the win, but continuously building that momentum is something that is needed in the shop environment. It's needed when the guys turn on the TV and they see the racing we had today, and their product was on the racetrack competing for laps, competing on pit road. It's a totally different vibe, totally different feeling.

"I know when I show up next week or tomorrow morning in the shop, it's going to be a totally different feeling than what I had last year coming out of California," Ives explained.

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In addition to Ives's comments on Chevrolet, he also talked about Goodyear's tire pressure recommendations for each track.

"Yeah, we have people back at the shop that all they do all week long is work with the Goodyear engineers, work with the simulation, work with tools, whether it's wheel-force data, to understand where the optimum pressure is for tire based on grip but also based on failure. Sometimes when you want to get greedy and get to a level that's not in agreeance [sic] with what Goodyear wants but you're chasing some grip and you've just got to figure out how to get there without having failure.

"Our issue this week with the right-rear tire is to be fast and continue to have lap time, you're on the right-rear tire, and it went down to the fabric. That's what we want. We want tires that wear out but tires that don't give out and blow.

"We had tires last week at Vegas that wore out and gave you an indication of where you were but didn't blow out. Same here at California. Goodyear I feel is doing a great job this year of giving what the drivers want, what the crew chiefs want, and ultimately what the fans want, the falloff in racing and the side by side, and they're doing a great job," Ives explained.

Ives is doing a pretty job in his own right by leading his driver to his second career win. Both crew chief and driver hope for another win at Bowman's home track next weekend.

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 UT college football every fall.
Right Sides Only: Notes from the Auto Club 400 Winning Crew Chief, Greg Ives Right Sides Only: Notes from the Auto Club 400 Winning Crew Chief, Greg Ives Reviewed by Stacey Owens on Monday, March 02, 2020 Rating: 5