The Insider: Chief concerns

Second-guessing crew chiefs is easy. Their job is anything but

Updated: August 29, 2010, 1:11 PM ET
By Ryan McGee | ESPN The Magazine
Chad KnausElsa/Getty ImagesFor Chad Knaus and his fellow crew chiefs, stress is a way of life.

With the Sprint Cup Chase looming, J.D. Gibbs treads lightly through the hallways of Joe Gibbs Racing. The 41-year-old team president recognizes the looks on the faces of his three crew chiefs, the men who call the shots for JGR's Cup teams. It's the staring-right-through-you glare his dad wore when he coached the Redskins.

"During the season he'd walk right by, not even acknowledge me," J.D. says. "He was thinking about football. It's all he ever thought about. But it's how he won three Super Bowls." JGR has won three Cup titles and has done it by following one simple rule. "I don't bother the crew chiefs," J.D. says with a chuckle. "Those guys have one of the hardest jobs in pro sports."

Ryan McGee | email

ESPN The Magazine, NASCAR