Veteran crew chief Gary Showalter sets record
HARRISBURG, N.C. (August 18, 2000) - As Randy Tolsmaâ€™s No. 25 CITGO-SUPERGARD Motor Oil Dodge crossed the finish line at Nashville Speedway for the win in the August 12, Federated Auto Parts 250, veteran crew chief Gary Showalter was crowned with ...
HARRISBURG, N.C. (August 18, 2000) - As Randy Tolsma’s No. 25 CITGO-SUPERGARD Motor Oil Dodge crossed the finish line at Nashville Speedway for the win in the August 12, Federated Auto Parts 250, veteran crew chief Gary Showalter was crowned with a record of his own.
Showalter became the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series crew chief to win with three teams, four different drivers, and with all three manufacturers.
"This is a great feeling because when I came to the truck series I didn't know I’d have the opportunity to work with Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge. It has been a good experience through the years for me, " said Showalter. "I'm excited for this team. We've been competitive from the start of the year but just have not found a way to get to victory lane. Man, that truck found its way there in Nashville. Randy’s done a great job for us this year and the guys have worked real hard to get to this point. Believe me - we're not done winning yet."
Upon the inception of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1995, Showalter began working for Liberty Racing in Ohio with driver Butch Miller. Showalter recalls, "Butch was an all around great race car driver- and a detailed person. He'd make whatever setup we put in the truck work around the track. It was pretty easy to work with him and we won at Colorado National Speedway in a Ford truck."
In 1997 Showalter was the crew chief for the late Kenny Irwin during his rookie season. "Kenny was a great race car driver but when he first came to us he didn't have much experience in a heavy vehicle. He adapted to the truck series real well. We enjoyed winning in Homestead and Texas with him. There was never a dull moment with Kenny," Showalter said with a smile.
In 1998, Showalter took his toolbox and experience to Sealmaster Racing to work with driver Terry Cook. "Terry had lots of experience in racing late models and on high banked speedways in Ohio. I watched him grow up in the sport since he was close to our neighborhood so I knew exactly what kind of a driver he was. It was easy to adapt to him. That team needed leadership and we found victory lane in Flemington, NJ in a Chevrolet."
Tolsma and Showalter started working together for Impact Motorsports in 1999. "When I came on board with Randy, we won the Bud Pole in Homestead, the first race of the season. We came very close to winning a couple of times since then, but just came up short for one reason or another. If we can't find a way to make the truck work on the track for Randy, he just goes out there and somehow finds a way to make it work. He's been so great to work with, and lately we seem to know what needs to be done just by looking at each other. It's been great working with CITGO-SUPERGARD Motor Oil as our sponsor and with Dodge."
What are Tolsma’s views on working with a record holding crew chief? "It's been great working with Gary - we really mesh and we've got a mutual respect for each other. I think we've got a good combination of leadership and skills on this team to make things happen. Never before have I worked with a group of guys that click the way we all do. This is an awesome accomplishment for him and I'm proud to be a part of it."
Showalter’s racing career has been a family affair from the start. Both sons Chris, 27, and Bobby, 18, are full time employees at Impact Motorsports and go over the wall to change tires for Tolsma’s No. 25 CITGO-SUPERGARD Motor Oil Dodge. Following in his father's footsteps, Chris was the crew chief on Terry Cook's No. 88 team for the 1999 season. Even Showalter’s wife, Cindy participates - scoring for the No. 50 truck piloted by Greg Biffle on race day.
With a win and a record under their belts, Showalter and Tolsma feel they have the right ingredients to make a run at a top five finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point standings this year. They'd like to continue working side by side and win a championship together in the future.
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