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Darian Grubb showed great leadership when he had to work with substitute drivers while Denny Hamlin sat out with an injury.
When compared to other sports, a crew chief is the equivalent to a manager in baseball or the head coach in football. Not only do they make all of the decisions involving strategy, but they have to be the emotional leader for both the driver as well as the pit crew.
When adversity strikes, the crew chief is the one who has keep everyone calm. When Denny Hamlin was forced to sit out four races earlier in the season, crew chief Darian Grubb was forced to work with replacement drivers he had never worked with before.
The combination of Mark Martin and Brian Vickers posted two top-10 finishes in four races under Grubb's leadership.
When a pit crew has a poor pit stop, it is the crew chiefs responsibility to keep morale up, and stand behind his team. More often than not, you will hear a crew chief try to encourage the team to perform better on the next stop as opposed to blasting them for a job poorly done.
Whether a race is won or lost based on certain pit strategy, it is the crew chief that is either applauded or left to answer the questions.
Earlier this year in the Coca Cola 600, Kasey Kahne had the dominant car. When the race's final caution flag flew with 14 laps remaining, pit strategy came into play. Instead of pitting for fresh tires, crew chief Kenny Francis elected to have his driver stay on track.
The move ultimately cost Kahne the win, as Kevin Harvick, who pitted for two tires, passed Kahne at the drop of green-flag and went on to win the race.
It was Francis who took the leadership role, and accepted responsibility for the defeat. "Sorry about that. Good job tonight. I can't believe at least four-five guys didn't try and steal one there. I can't believe it. Sorry, man," said a dejected Francis.