Is Rusty Wallace Racing becoming the new Robby Gordon Motorsports?
RWR announced this week yet another management change. The team released #62 crew chief Brad Parrott, and named Larry Carter general manager and interim crew chief of the #62.
Team owner Rusty Wallace told Sirius Speedway yesterday that he is “tired of jacking around, running outside the Top-10.” He said the problem with the teams was a lack of chemistry.
Besides appreciation for the wonderful – and quote worthy – description, I can’t help but think this is wishful thinking on Rusty’s part.
Parrott joins a long and distinguished list of crew chiefs that have come and gone from RWR over the past few seasons. The list includes Bryan Berry, Tony Liberati, Harold Holly and Trip Bruce. The rate of turnover is reaching Robby Gordon levels (ask Larry Carter about that) – and to be frank every time I see a new crew chief named over there I wonder to myself how long it’s going to last.
It’s hard to believe in all the crew chiefs they’ve gone through (truly a diverse group of guys with personality types that run the gamut) they never found one who clicked with the driver and/or team.
Obviously performance hasn’t been stellar, but maybe the crew chiefs aren’t the problem. I hate to say this, but maybe it’s Rusty (unrealistic expectations), or maybe it’s the drivers.
Don’t get me wrong, Brendan Gaughan and Steve Wallace are both good guys (Brendan is probably the nicest guy in the garage), but both are at a point in their careers that consistent and/or great finishes are going to be sporadic.
Brendan has always been good for a decent run here and there, but the peak of his career has probably passed. He hasn’t won a national event since his almost-championship winning Truck Series season in 2003. He also hasn’t averaged a finish in a national series better than 16.5 since 2003.
And Steve is still a driver very much in development. Could he eventually win races. Absolutely. But is it possible that he won’t pan out? Sure. I think the expectations for Steve need to be realistic given his current abilities. He’ll run well some weeks and won’t others.
I think too often crew chiefs become the scapegoat of the organizations they work for. The best crew chief in the world can’t make a driver drive, or turn a driver into something he is not.
For the time being Steve’s crew chief Scott McDougall looks to be in an OK position, but it’s hard not to wonder how long that will last if Steve doesn’t start performing better. The million dollar question though is what happens to Larry Carter if/when Brendan doesn’t start performing better?
They might not quite be RGM at this point, but I can tell if I was a crew chief I’d think twice before heading over to RWR.