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NASCAR crew chiefs receive verbal communication from drivers and monitor the car's telemetry (which reports how a car is performing during a race) to form and execute race-winning strategies. The crew chief is also the leader of the pit crew who make adjustments to the car to support the crew chief's strategy.
There is no average salary for a NASCAR crew chief. Factors such as experience, performance history and the car for which the crew chief has been hired can increase or decrease a crew chief's salary; so can the scope of the crew chief's responsibilities. For example, Chad Knaus, who is Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, can demand a high salary because he has risen within the ranks of the team, is responsible for a top-notch driver and led his team to win four consecutive NASCAR championships.
The salaries of crew chiefs are confidential and not revealed to the public. Sometimes, however, a crew chief's contract is made public inadvertently. For example, in August 2009, as part of a lawsuit the salary of Jason Myers (crew chief for Carl Edwards) was revealed when his contract was submitted as evidence. At the time Myers was working for Roush Fenway Racing, his base salary was approximately $110,000. According to the NASCAR Insiders, though, "many crew chiefs at the Cup level are clearing $500,000 a year just in base salary."
NASCAR crew chief contracts typically include provisions for bonuses and incentives. Winning a pole position or a race can increase a crew chief's base salary significantly (e.g., $30,000). Bonus money is allotted by the team with the contract dictating how the money is to be awarded in the event performance goals have been met.
Robyn Lynne Schechter is a freelance writer currently living in Los Angeles, Calif. She has been an online contributor since 2007 on brandchannel.com, covering branding developments in the fashion, music, sports and entertainment industries. Schechter graduated from Hood College with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and is also a graduate of Albany Law School.