Making it to the pinnacle of stock car racing, whether you're driving the car or driving the hauler, is an achievement above the talents and capabilities of most of the people on this earth. The hundreds of folks that keep the teams in the Sprint Cup Series running are there for a good reason they're all exceptionally talented at what they do.
Second on the ladder in terms of popularity, prestige, and respect in the Cup garage (behind only the driver) are the crew chiefs. These men call the shots behind the scenes on race day, and a costly mistake on a late-race pit stop can keep the best car on the track that day out of the winner's circle.
But not all crew chiefs are created equal. Not everybody can be Chad Knaus, a crew chief so on top of his game that he is viewed as nearly invincible by peers and spectators alike. Plenty of crew chiefs on the series' top circuit are prone to mistakes, or simply haven't done enough to have earned the position they're in. This list - the top 10 "overrated," for lack of a better word, crew chiefs on the circuit - isn't meant as a knock against any of these men - they're all very good at what they do - but their mistakes have kept them and their teams from ever achieving Knaus-esque heights.
This is the first assignment I've ever taken directly from a higher-up at Bleacher Report, and I have to say I'm a little concerned with the fallout. Quick story: A couple of months ago, I was writing a story for my own website, OpenWheelAmerica.com, about the lack of American drivers in the IZOD IndyCar Series. I made an offhand, inaccurate, three word comment about a particular driver who wasn't the subject of the piece.
I didn't think anything of this sentence fragment until the next day, when his manager - a former Formula One pilot that never failed to score points in an F1 season in which he competed - sent me a lovely message asking me to explain myself.
Up until that point, I had no idea just how wide my base of readers had become. Getting that message taught me a few important lessons: never underestimate who's reading your stuff, and be careful with everything you say. (I also had to learn the always valuable skill of apology.)
So with those lessons in mind, and apologies in advance to anybody who's going to email me with a vendetta, the 10 most overrated crew chiefs in Sprint Cup, listed alphabetically: