NASCAR: 5 Crew Chiefs Who Have the Biggest Impact on Their Team's Success

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NASCAR: 5 Crew Chiefs Who Have the Biggest Impact on Their Team's Success
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Whether you're a fan who loves him or hates him, there's no question Chad Knaus has set the standard for all crew chiefs to aspire for.

There's an old saying in business that behind every successful man is a good woman.

Well, if you're among the most successful drivers in NASCAR, you may have a good wife or girlfriend behind you, but in most instances it's more important to have a good crew chief behind you as well.

What makes a good driver-crew chief combination? Chemistry is of utmost importance. You have to have an almost brotherly-like feel for the other man. Being a bit psychic—essentially being able to read each other's minds—is also a big help.

At the same time, successful driver-crew chief combinations realize the path to success is a 50-50 partnership. One person can't control the other or tell him exclusively what to do or not to do.

That's why so many drivers today have had issues with not just one, but numerous crew chiefs during their NASCAR tenure. Too often, drivers feel they know what's best for their car mechanically when it's the crew chief and car chief that set the car up, prepare the crew and do everything else but drive.

It's those kinds of combinations where one person feels it's his way or the highway that are inherently bound to fail. That's why you see so many crew chief changes during the course of a season—sometimes more than one change within the same 36-race campaign. And more often than not, unless the driver becomes fully vested and is all-in with making the relationship between himself and the guy atop the pit box work optimally, it's going to continue to be more of the same—disappointment, not success.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. learned that lesson. Upon moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, Earnhardt struggled with cousin Tony Eury Jr. Then, Earnhardt's fate grew even worse when he was paired with Lance McGrew, when the pair would publicly—and at times, embarrassingly—squabble over the team's radio on what direction to take when it came to strategy, setup and pit calls.

But if you have a great driver-crew chief pairing and relationship, success is bound to follow.

So here are Bleacher Report's top five NASCAR crew chiefs that have the biggest impact on their team's successes.

Also, follow me on Twitter @JerryBonkowski

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