Interim Crew Chief Chip Bolin Wins award In only his second race in command of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion team, interim crew chief Chip Bolin guided Matt Kenseth to a successful defense of his Auto Club 500 title and a sweep of the California Speedway race weekend. Rallying the No. 17 team from a 25th place qualifying run, the lead engineer-turned crew chief led Kenseth to his second trip to victory lane in less than 24 hours and his first Nextel Cup victory under a crew chief other than Robbie Reiser. In addition to transforming a lackluster racecar into the fastest car on the track, Bolin displayed the poise and decision-making of a veteran crew chief. For his pre-race adjustments and impeccable judgment, Bolin won the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
Bolin exhibited his expertise within the first 20 laps of the race. After a wreck involving Scott Riggs, Jamie McMurray and Reed Sorenson on the 7th lap, Bolin called Kenseth enter the pits to fill up on gas and make a minor adjustment to the car. Just twelve laps later, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s flat tire brought the leaders around to pit road. Having pitted earlier, the No. 17 car was able to stay on the track and immediately move into 3rd place. The team never looked back.
“Our M.O. is to make slight adjustments as we go,” said Bolin after the race. “We fix what we need to as the race goes on.” In reference to the factors that gave his team the advantage, Bolin stated that it was “the pit stops. I can’t say enough about the crew and how fast pit stops were. After that, it was easy. We just left it up to Matt.”
A panel of voters, including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Jr. and a WYPALL* Wipers representative, agreed that Chip Bolin made the best calls and adjustments during the race. “For Chip to step up and fill in for Robbie [Reiser] and win was something else,” said Eury Jr. “He made calls like he had been in charge for years. Chip and his crew were top-notch.”
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