337 – Greg Ives: The American Dream
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his former Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Greg Ives are reunited on this episode to tell the story of how Ives made it in the sport and share previously unheard reflections on their time working together.
Before Ives joins the program, Dale Jr. and co-host Mike Davis react to the weekend’s events at Talladega Superspeedway. Hear what Dale told race winner Brad Keselowski about tying his track wins record. As a known “big ass spoiler” critic, Dale weighs in on Joey Logano’s comments following his flip. What direction does he hope to see superspeedway racing go? The answer may surprise you.
Isla Earnhardt will turn three-years-old this week. What birthday gift did her dad buy her that may have her making left turns soon? Hear what bug Dale may have been bitten by.
Next, Ives sits down at the table and the former teammates go all the way back to his childhood. Learn about Ives’ family’s involvement in racing, when he first took an interest and how he snuck into the track as a kid.
As he began racing more and finding success, college remained the goal for the Bark River, Michigan, native. Find out why he initially pursued medical school. Then he shares why his driving career didn’t work out and how falling in love with the mechanical side of racing quickly changed his plans.
Dale Jr. is often asked to explain how someone can make it in racing and Ives serves as the perfect example for him to share. Hear the steps Ives took to establish himself and gain experience in the sport before getting to NASCAR.
An interaction at a family reunion ultimately set Ives up for the rest of his life. He details what happened, getting a call from Hendrick Motorsports and his first interview with the organization. Then hear what he had to do to make it to Daytona in order to meet the No. 24 team during Speedweeks.
Ives then talks about getting a job offer from Hendrick Motorsports and how once there, doors opened quickly and his willingness to volunteer elevated his career. He shares how he became Jimmie Johnson’s lead engineer during his five consecutive championship run and the influence Chad Knaus had on him.
When Ives began contemplating his next career move, learn why he committed to staying in the HMS family and how he became a model for the working relationship between the Hendrick Cup program and JR Motorsports. Dale Jr. shares his perspective on the partnerships’ early days and where it is at today.
Multiple victories and a championship with Chase Elliott later, Mr. Hendrick called Ives with his big break at the Cup level. At the request of Dale Jr., hear how Ives was selected as his next crew chief. Dale details the process behind picking a crew chief and what he was looking for after Steve Letarte left.
Ives then discusses what it was like coming into the No. 88 team. When Dale suffered another concussion in 2016 and missed most of the season, Ives was thrown one of the greatest challenges of his career. He and Dale openly discuss the warning signs both of them saw and what Ives was thinking a year later when Dale decided to retire.
Two weeks following Ives’ latest victory with Alex Bowman at Richmond Raceway, hear Ives discuss the ups and downs of the last three plus seasons with Bowman. They both applaud Bowman’s maturation process and the changed mindset that Ives believes is helping elevate the team.
Lastly, Bowman will run a Darlington throwback scheme resembling a late model scheme Ives ran in the 90s. Hear the story behind the car, the races it ran and how Bowman shocked Ives when revealing it to him during a team meeting.
In Ask Jr. Presented by Xfinity, Dale tackles topics including his thoughts on the current state of superspeedway racing and how drivers and crew chiefs study film.
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