Nelson wins Crew Chief of the Race award After a rained out race day resulting in yet again another rescheduled race, Penske Racing’s Mike Nelson, crew chief for the No. 12 Alltel Dodge team, had to wait three days to show that his team has turned some corners in their season. With his driver, Ryan Newman, picking up his second pole for the season in Friday’s qualifying session, Nelson and his No. 12 crew were primed for a stellar performance at Dover International Speedway for the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa. The team did not disappoint, keeping Newman in the top ten for the entire race, finishing in second place, their best performance for the season and Newman’s second top 5 for the year. For his outstanding race day leadership and preparation prior to the 400 lap event, Nelson was awarded the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
As the clouds continued to hover over Dover International Speedway, threatening to yet again dampen the day, Newman remained entrenched in the top 10. Desperate to regain the form seen earlier in the season, the No. 12 Dodge led several laps and seemed unstoppable on any restart. From the get go, as Nelson arrived at the track and rolled the Alltel Dodge off the hauler, his pre-race setup was ideal, giving the team great practice laps and a solid advantage. “This was a big finish for us,” said Nelson at the conclusion of the race. “I really hope this is a change of luck for the team that will continue for the remainder of the season.”
A panel of voters, including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Jr., Kenny Francis, Robbie Reiser and a WYPALL* Wipers representative, all agreed Nelson’s efforts were deserving to be awarded crew chief of the race. “Mike really seemed to have the car dialed in just right as they were fast all weekend,” said Reiser. “They were like a bullet on the restarts. Another caution at the end there and the result could have been a win for that team.”
As the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race, Nelson received $1,000. Earning his first crew chief of the race award puts Nelson tied for second place in the overall standings. Robbie Reiser and Chad Knaus are tied for first, each with two wins. Mike Nelson, Darian Grubb, Larry Carter, Mike Ford, Alan Gustafson, Chip Bolin, Ryan Pemberton, Donnie Wingo and Tony Eury Jr. each have one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Year.
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