Phoenix Rollout

The sun sets on another great weekend for the Austin Dillon, Dow Chevrolet Racing team. Coming into the weekend Austin was averaging 12 positions better than his average and looked to build on that.

First practice showed Austin high in the running until teams switched over to qualifying trim and pushed him back to 14th. Austin upheld his practice times with a qualifying effort of 15th. Practice 2 saw him run 22nd quick which led the team to a few adjustments before final practice where he was 5th overall.

Early in the race Austin proved to be one of the fastest cars on the track. Over the long run Austin reported a developing loose condition. After first stops Slugger made a call to help tighten him up. This initial adjustment was too far and saw the 3 team fall back.

The next round of adjustments backed up on the first and Austin was again among the fastest cars on the track. The rest of the day Austin got better and better, never falling below 12th position. Held up by the 22 late in the going Austin was stalled in the 10th position. Reporting the 22 had a flat tire did nothing to encourage Logano to let Austin by.

In the final laps Logano pitted for tires and fuel allowing Austin to progress to 9th. With the caution waving just before the final lap some of the leaders pitted for fuel and tires, Slugger called for Austin to stay out. While contested initially, Dillon got up on the wheel, restarting in the 3rd position and fell back to 9th at the checkered flag.

Austin greatly improved his average finish in the desert and added another top 10 to the year. While he hasn’t won yet this year it is obviously just a matter of time. Positive attitudes throughout the team are proving beneficial in every aspect. The car seems to respond better as do all members of the team.

As noted, my 3 team move of the race went to Car Chief Greg Osbourne for delivering a car that was fast from the start and stayed fast the entire weekend. There were obvious changes over the weekend that lead to the result. From bead blowers to camber, everything worked hand in hand.

The House of the Setting Sun sees Austin drive off not with just another top 10, but as always… The hero got the girl.

Phoenix Setup

Welcome to Phoenix! If New Orleans is the House of the Rising Sun, then Phoenix is quite possibly the House of the Setting Sun. As the sun goes down and brings out the brilliant reds of the desert, will we see the 3 team in Victory Lane?

In truck competition and Xfinity races, Austin has an average finish of 8.5, for ease we will just say he averages a 9th place finish. It appears he had this track figured out in lower series, in Cup however he qualifies 19th on average and finishes around 25th place.

Does this mean he is doomed for another mid-twenties finish? I don’t think so. He is averaging 12 spots above his average finish this year. If you subtract those 12 spots from his finish total in Cup you get a new finish of 21st. If you combine his average finish from truck, Xfinity, and Cup you come to a nice  13th place finish.

A top 15 at Phoenix? That would be incredible. However, each race my prediction has been off by 4. Therefore, a range of 9th to 17th should be expected. Barring any unforeseen accidents, Austin is set for a finish in the top 1/3rd of the field.

What does all of this mean to us as fans? Well, it means Austin is certainly better this year. He has good momentum and a solid trend going. If he and the team can continually put themselves in the top 10, he will eventually luck into a win. Last week he had the fastest car on track much of the race and likely could’ve been a contender for the win had it not been for pit road.

The team aren’t the only ones to shoulder the blame for pit road. This is something week in and week out that Austin has been working on, getting faster and better on the slow road. The team itself is capable of very fast stops, the trick stops that they try to pull and Austin hitting the box right are what is slowing them up from my observations.

Hope everybody enjoyed the new set up, stay safe out there and I’ll see you from the box.

Climb Up The Pit Box

Welcome to the start of my new blog. I wanted to just share my thoughts and observations of the racing world and even give you a more in depth look at me. As I blend more and more of my personal account with my race day account I figure it’s time to welcome you atop the pit box with me, offer you a spot on my couch, maybe even crack a beer and some jokes together.

Lets start with the basics, amazingly my name really isn’t “Couch.” My name is Jonathan, you can call me Jon or Couch or Couch Crew or Crew Chief or even Chief, hell some even call me asshole. I’m good with anything so long as it’s said in good humor. I like to laugh a bit, I try not to take myself or anything too seriously. As for the rest, I live in Appleton, Wisconsin. Not exactly NASCAR central but I’ll get to that in a minute. I was born July 10, 1979. I’m married and I work in a factory that supplies NASCAR teams with some equipment.

Now to answer the question that is on everybody’s mind, “Why are you so into NASCAR? How did you become, couchcrewchief?”

When I was a kid, like 4 or 5, my grandfather always watched NASCAR or listened to it on the radio. His nephew… This young guy at the time, Richard Childress, use to race in the series and owned a car. Now, some of you may have heard of him and some of you may know the car he owned. That car number became part of my identity. That driver became my hero. My grandfather’s nephew, my second cousin, became an idol. My entire life became about Daytona and championships. While the kids in school worshipped Brett Favre and Sterling Sharpe and Reggie White, I was watching Dale tear up Labonte, Wallace, Gordon. I watched Dale win championships and suffer heart break again and again at Daytona. The year Dale won I was in basic training. The year Dale passed away, I was in Korea and slept through the race.

I became a Dale Jr fan for awhile and vowed to return to my RCR home when he fielded another black car. Dave Blaney drove the 07 Jack Daniel’s car and then Clint Bowyer. I followed Bowyer to the 33 team, but it never felt like home. Don’t get me wrong, Clint is a great driver and fun to watch, but something wasn’t right.

Then, it happened. Austin Dillon in the number 3 truck. God I was excited. I wanted so bad to see that number 3 in Cup. When Austin ran the 98 one year I messaged him on Twitter and told him to run the 3, it was ok, that was his number. He messaged back and said it wasn’t time but they had stuff in the works for the following year. Then there was the 3, in Nationwide. So close. Finally, the 3 in cup with black livery. The 3 was back. I had a home. The entire 3 team has been welcoming and hospitable. Listening to their radio, I feel like an extension of their team. I win and lose with them. I feel the heartache when things go bad and I feel the excitement when they have a great day.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I don’t pick up Ty in Xfinity. Why would I pull for Derrike Cope? I know you’re thinking, what’s the deal? Of all the drivers, of all the teams, of everyone I have met and talked to at Road America, my home track, Derrike is the most welcoming of fans I have seen. He works on the car and motor. He welds and shapes and forms and tunes. He is pure racer. I have to champion his effort. You don’t win a Daytona 500 on accident, that’s something he has done.

Now, how did I become the couchcrewchief? It started with myself and some other fans of Clint Bowyer. We would all watch the race on TV and they would relay the info Clint was giving in car. I would try to guess the adjustment. I did pretty good. 3 months after I started the couchcrewchief account Miss Sprint Cup tried “Couch Crew Chief” polls. I told them they could do it but at least give me some credit for it. Well, they quit doing it, but I knew I was onto something. The group broke apart when Clint moved to the MWR stables. My couchcrewchief account went dark for 2 years. Last year a friend of mine wanted in-car updates on Martin Truex Jr at Daytona so I relayed the in-car audio. She now does @Speedy_T_Rex and updates on Twitter. I took A.J. Allmendinger for a few races last year as I thought that would be a more entertaining radio. He bad mouthed RCR and ECR engines who they have an alliance with.

Finally I returned home to my 3 team. I started doing this and I love it. I was listening at Daytona last year during Austin’s big wreck. The terror I heard in Richard’s voice cannot be described. Before my grandfather passed away I remember him telling me that Richard didn’t want the boys to race. Anything but that. Richard didn’t want his grandsons hurt in his cars. So when that wreck happened I just stared at the TV, listening to the in-car radio as Richard yelled for Austin until the “all clear” came from the pit box that Austin was out and walking.

That is how I came to use couchcrewchief to update the 3 team and Austin Dillon in-car radio. I will update anyone on their driver status if they cannot see the race, don’t be afraid to ask.

With that said, I bid you a fond farewell. I’ll see you at the track and see you from on top of the box.image