CONCORD, N.C. - The fourth episode of "On the Road," presented by Valvoline, takes fans through the All-Star Race weekend at North Wilkesboro Speedway with No. 24 crew chief Rudy Fugle.
In his third season atop the NASCAR Cup Series pit box with driver William Byron, Fugle has helped guide Byron to his best season to date with series-best marks in wins (three), top-five finishes (seven), top-10s (nine), laps led (717) and stage wins (seven). Since coming to Hendrick Motorsports ahead of the 2021 season, Fugle has won six races as a crew chief -- all with Byron.
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"My role is to manage the team from the pit crew to the mechanics to the engineers, driver and spotter," Fugle explains. "Make sure that I can help with anything they need. Lead and guide them in the direction that I want to see the team run on a certain weekend and for the year."
Hendrick Motorsports vice president of competition and seven-time championship-winning crew chief Chad Knaus lends his perspective as well.
"The crew chief role is a tough one to really define because everyone is unique in the way that they crew chief is different," Hendrick Motorsports vice president of competition Chad Knaus said. "The way that Rudy (Fugle) crew chiefs right now is different than the way that a guy like Blake (Harris, No. 48 team) or Cliff Daniels (No. 5 team) or Alan (Gustafson, No. 9 team) or anybody else in the industry does. It is really tough, really rigorous and that is why they are such a huge part of what it is that we do."
The episode follows Fugle's weekend at North Wilkesboro for the All-Star Race, a non-points exhibition that sees the winning driver earn $1,000,000. The race at the North Carolina venue was the first NASCAR event held at the .625-mile track since 1996. Fugle and the No. 24 team were coming off a win at Darlington Raceway but would finish 20th. The crew chief shares how the team moves on from tough days at the track such as the one at North Wilkesboro.
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“How do you be the leader for when things are high and when things are low and in between? How do you get the most out of all of your people? You just got to look yourself in the mirror and realize what went wrong," Fugle said about bouncing back from days that don't go as planned. "Sometimes, those are tough conversations because sometimes you may not have even seen in yourself what you did wrong and what you need to do better. You need your teammates, whether it’s the driver, spotter or your other engineers to say, 'hey we should have made this decision.'"
The full episode is below and also on Hendrick Motorsports’ YouTube channel.
The 10-episode series offers an up-close look and follows a variety of team employees as they go about their jobs over a race weekend. The series will highlight the importance of those positions within the success of the team.
"When people look at Hendrick Motorsports, they see drivers and teams bringing home race wins, trophies and championships," team vice chairman Jeff Gordon said in the teaser for the series that you can watch here.
"Behind all that, the unsung heroes. The people back at the shop. The army of people on the road 38 weeks a year. Those people are what make us successful."
Catch up on past episodes below.
Episode 3: Tyler Monn, No. 5 spotter
Episode 2: Lisa Smokstad, lead tire specialist
Episode 1: Brian Walsh, trackside network engineer
UPCOMING EPISODES (DATES SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
Episode 5: July 6
Episode 6: Aug. 10
Episode 7: Sept. 7
Episode 8: Sept. 28
Episode 9: Oct. 19
Episode 10: Nov. 16