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Getting to know Dale Neve, CNC programmer & machinist

CONCORD, N.C. (March 26, 2010)—Dale Neve wasn’t raised a NASCAR fan, but he’s always had a love for cars. Now a CNC programmer & machinist in Hendrick Motorsports’ CNC shop, Dale helps develop and test parts that can help the organization’s Sprint Cup teams on race day. Meet Dale:

Full name:  Dale Emmett Neve
Nickname: Big D (he’s 6-foot-6).

Family: Wife Angela, son Andrew.

Hometown: King, N.C. I was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., but I moved to King as a child.

Education:  I graduated from South Stokes High School in 1994 and graduated from Forsyth Technical Community College in 1995 with a degree in machining technology. I also received my air frame and power plant certification (A & P license) from Guilford Technical Aviation Center in 1999.

Job duties: CNC programmer & machinist. I work on multiple parts, but the main component that I work on is the front spindles (where the wheel mounts to the suspension and brakes).  When an engineer designs a part they give it to the CNC shop and our job is to basically make their idea into reality with a solid structural part.

On testing the parts: We have a quality control lab where we can go and do measuring, checking, inspecting of the parts. Then we report back to the engineers.

Time at current job:  I’ve been here for eight years. This is my first NASCAR racing job. I came straight from the aviation industry to here—from U.S. Airways to here.  I like to think that Jimmie Johnson and myself started at the same time in 2002—I chuckle at that. Obviously he’s had a great deal of success. It’s neat to see where it has started from and where he has gotten to now.

First job overall:  I actually worked with a local farmer, and I was a tobacco primer. I was 12 years old and I saved up my money to help buy my first car – a ’77 Camaro.

If I wasn’t in racing I would be: It would totally have to have something to do with cars. I have just a love for cars—whether it would be in the performance end or aftermarket parts.

Best racing memory:  Probably Jeff Gordon giving Rusty Wallace the old “bump and run” to win at Bristol in 2002.  That topped off an action-packed race filled with excitement.

Favorite track: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. I’ve visited it several times, and it just seems like when all the races are at Charlotte, it’s a relaxed atmosphere. But even though the atmosphere is relaxed, the will to perform and the will for everyone to do their best seems like it always steps up because you always want to win in your backyard.
Hobbies outside of racing:  Softball. I play on a team at Hendrick, and I’m also involved in another team that plays in local tournaments.

Favorite sport other than racing: Softball.  I love watching baseball, but I don’t have one particular team I follow. I did like the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees – who doesn’t like that? My size inhibits me from doing any type of racing gokarts or motocross racing because you need to be small. So I always got involved in sports and stuff where I could use my size to my advantage—basketball, wrestling and playing baseball. I pitched, and I was always about a foot taller than everybody else.
Favorite movie: “American Gangster.” Not for the fact that Frank Lucas was a serious drug lord; it’s just an interesting story of how that happened and how he was such a leader to be able to organize all these people working for him.

Favorite musician: Toby Mac for sure.

My current car is: Chevrolet Tahoe.

Dream car: I’m too big for a Lamborghini, too big for a Ferrari; love the Aston Martins, but I’m too big for basically all the super cars so the only thing I can think of that I could possibly fit in would be a BMW X6M.  I feel comfortable in the larger SUV’s and I’m just not a sedan type of guy.

What you’ll find on my iPOD: Casting Crowns, Toby Mac, David Crowder Band and so on.

Favorite food:  Baby back ribs

If I ran NASCAR, I’d: Go back to the down-force style cars, and I think they’re on a good path with replacing the wing with the spoiler. I commend them for trying to keep the drivers safe, but they need to make the racing more competitive – that’s what it takes to get people to watch the sport. But I do wonder what effect the spoiler will have.

I knew I wanted a job in NASCAR when: I wasn’t really raised a fan. A lot of my interest was in drag racing prior to this, but NASCAR is a bigger opportunity, a busier schedule, more tasks, more challenges and so forth. There are different types of tracks and you get faced with so many different challenges. People think it’s just going in circles, but if they only knew the half of it.

I worked for a drag racing engine shop and always had an interest in the performance side and making the engines perform. The gentleman that I worked for works here now, and he used to build his own drag racing engines. He was one of the few that I called when I was looking for a position to see what was out there in 2001. Fortunately there was something here—that’s how I came on board.