HORSEHEADS, NY — If you had a dime for every time you heard a NASCAR broadcast talk about the importance of the relationship between the driver and the crew chief, it’s safe to say you would be buying first round at the local bar. But for one dirt team in the Northeast, this concept won their team it’s very first track championship at Woodhull Raceway in 2016.
Two friends have come together to put on one of the most exciting championship runs in recent memory this past season. Chris Woodard at the driving controls and his crew chief Adam Austin making the calls on setup and pre-race preparation, competing in the Mini Stock division each and every Saturday night at Woodhull Raceway in Steuben County of New York State.
Woodard had been in the racing game on and off over the last several seasons and Austin has a history in the sport not only turning wrenches but also behind the wheel that could fill a two hour episode of Turn 5 Live. In fact, this writer had the pleasure of racing against Austin when we were both teenagers at Outlaw Speedway in Dundee, NY. Back in the good ‘ole days as our parents used to say.
This combination of driver/crew chief is rooted in friendship and built on trust that each is going to give 150% in their particular role for the team. On race night, Woodard gives Austin free reign of set up and adjustments that are made to make the car faster or handle the tricky corners of Woodhull better. Don’t tell these guys that they ‘just race a Mini Stock.’ This team doesn’t come to the track to compete, they arrive and expect to win every time they roll off the trailer.
Although the team’s season didn’t start off on fire, this combination went off on one of the most dominant runs to end a season that has ever been seen in this area. The title in the Daugherty Auto Sales Mini Stocks was decided from June 25th forward to close out the year.
From June 25th on through Labor Day Weekend in September, Woodard would not finish worse than third with three wins, two second place finishes and three third place finishes. It was not only consistency in the top 5 column, but taking the ‘step on the competition’s throat’ mentality that allowed Woodard’s team to close out the championship.
When it came down to the feature event to close out the point championship, Woodard had to win in order to close out his first title. Woodard did so- walking away in dominant fashion. Who was the first guy to the car in Victory Lane to celebrate their accomplishment? Adam Austin.
In fact, as you will hear in their recent interview with Turn 5 Live, Austin wasn’t sure that they had hit the right set up that night. On top of a near disaster that took place in the pits as they were preparing to take the track for the A-Main.
Listen in as Chris Woodard and Adam Austin talk about their trials and tribulations of a championship winning season at Woodhull Raceway:
About the Writer
Steven Ovens is the Northeast Dirt Correspondent for Race Chaser Online and the creator and host of the Turn 5 Live dirt track racing radio show, airing at 7:30 p.m. Eastern every Tuesday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Ovens has spent his lifetime in the sport of dirt track racing, growing up in the garages of the Kerrick and Ovens families. He spent 11 years behind the wheel between go-karts and 4 Cylinder Mini Stocks which brings a unique perspective to his dirt track editorials.
The 30-year-old has a career in the growing health care business world, and is also entering his second season as the full-time announcer and media director for Woodhull Raceway in Woodhull, N.Y.
In addition, Ovens was formerly the announcer and media director for Outlaw Speedway (formerly Black Rock Speedway) in Dundee, N.Y., serving in that capacity in both 2015 and 2016.
Email Steve at: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @StevenOvens
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