Right Sides Only: Notes from the Ambetter 301 Winning Crew Chief, Adam Stevens

After a couple of early season races that Adam Stevens believes the No. 20 should have won, the crew chief was happy to have finally secured a win in New Hampshire this past weekend and talked about how much the win means to him.

"Man, it really means a lot. We had a couple we felt slip away from us early in the year, certainly race-winning cars and race-winning efforts and weren’t able to put it all together. Today I’ll be the first to admit I don’t think we had the best car, but you can’t make mistakes and you have to make the right calls at the right times, and you have to have a couple breaks go your way.


"We checked all those boxes today and were able to be our best at the end after a few adjustments and Christopher’s feedback, and we knew we had a good long-run car, so it was definitely key that that last run stayed green and we were able to show it," Stevens explained.

Despite how the car performed on the long run, the car was just plain difficult to drive.

"Yeah, these cars aren’t easy to drive, and this place is super bumpy. We don’t come here twice a year. Obviously it’s the first time we’ve been here with this car. There’s lots of things about this car setup-wise that make it hard to handle.


"All setups are a compromise and there’s some pretty big compromises here.


"The entry bumps are something that plays a major factor in the setup and controls the rest of the corner, and it just seemed like to rotate the center, you were on edge of being too free on the exit, which is pretty normal for Loudon. But it was probably magnified since this was our first rip at it as a series coming here with these cars," Stevens said.

Stevens also discussed the overall performance of the JGR stable of cars in Loudon.

"Why JGR is good up here, I don’t know, we’ve been good up here for years with different rules packages and even different drivers. I think just about all of our drivers have dominated a race up here. I guess Martin hasn’t won, but he’s been good enough to win I can’t tell you how many times, and certainly he was today.


"I think sometimes success breeds on success, and when you’re good and everybody else is good, you’re finding those little ways to get better. You look at our road course program now and we’re not very good, and it’s tough to find ways to get better. You kind of need that setup or that team that’s doing a better job and you can pick out what the differences are, and then you can exploit those and keep kicking the can down the road.


"I think that as a group, we just hit on something years ago and have been able to duplicate it with all the different tire combinations and rules packages," Stevens explained.

Because the playoff races are imminent, and the No. 20 car is now among the field of playoff contenders, Stevens addressed the team's outlook moving toward those final 10 races.

"Well, now we clearly need bonus points. I think we’ve shown all year that we have probably top-5 speed week in and week out, we just dug such a deep hole at the beginning of the season. At one point four, five, six races in, we were like 32nd in the points, and I think we’re somewhere around eighth right now, far enough away from the back end of the playoff qualified cars now that we don’t have to sweat that for these next few weeks. It was getting to the point with Daytona and Indy Road Course still on the schedule it was pretty clear that it was going to take a win to get in.


"Thankfully we had just enough capability in our car and situations played out and we could get it done today," Stevens said.

Stay tuned for the remaining races in the season to see if the No. 20 team continues to "get it done."


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 most weekends throughout the season.
This self-admitted grammar nerd loves podcasts, playing with her dogs, and binge-watching programs with her husband.


Right Sides Only: Notes from the Ambetter 301 Winning Crew Chief, Adam Stevens Right Sides Only: Notes from the Ambetter 301 Winning Crew Chief, Adam Stevens Reviewed by Stacey Owens on Tuesday, July 19, 2022 Rating: 5