Hendrick Motorsports wisely didn’t appeal the four-week suspension penalty for their four crew chiefs.
That’s a wise move in fact.
It was best for them not to on this angle, because why risk the appeal taking a week or two and for the 9 cars sake, you at least can sit Gustafson out while Elliott is out and not having Elliott coming back with Gustafson still on the sidelines serving his suspension.
Plus, the four upcoming tracks are less dangerous to miss than the ones after them Atlanta is less about strategy and handling, COTA is a road course, Richmond will be a big miss but Bristol Dirt won’t. If you would have appealed this, you could get getting into the Martinsville, Talladega, Dover, Kansas and Darlington mix. 4 of those 5 are playoff tracks for which you need your crew chief on site at these spring races to help with strategy calls as well as data for the return trip.
“We work together really well,” Rudy Fugle said of the four crew chiefs communicating during the race. “Cliff (Daniels, Kyle Larson’s crew chief) and I were chatting about what strategy we were going to do. Open in the chat multiple times if we were going to take four or two, how we were going to do it. Even racing against each other, fully working together. We work together great, all four crew chiefs, all four teams.
“But, yeah, we prepare the cars. We look at each other’s cars all week long, make adjustments. Each driver is a little bit different. So last 15, 20% is different.”
Fugle also noted that if one car is struggling within the camp but another is doing well, they’ll internally work on helping each other out to bring the other one back up to par.
“Definitely,” Fugle continued. “We made a lot of changes their direction (Larson’s car) after Friday practice. Saturday morning came in and changed geometry and other things, too, to chase the 5, because they were a little bit better than us, yes.”
With all four crew chiefs are out, that could be a massive loss at the track too in regards to communication but not as big for these four races than otherwise if they had appealed and waited.
On Thursday, they announced the replacements for all four drivers.
Kevin Meendering will be Kyle Larson’s interim crew chief at Atlanta with Greg Ives back working with Alex Bowman, Brian Campe with William Byron and Tom Gray with Josh Berry.