Ray Evernham through the years
Thursday, December 28, 2017
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At the end of the 1992 season, a young driver named Jeff Gordon was paired with a crew chief named Ray Evernham for the first time. The two found immediate chemistry and an unparalleled success soon after as Evernham revolutionized the sport with an innovative approach to pit crews. Evernham went on to become a team owner, a champion for Dodge’s return to the sport and a TV analyst and host of his own show before he was elected to the 2018 NASCAR Hall of Fame class.
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Evernham started working on short-track cars at age 15, but his true introduction to the sport came in 1983. That was when he worked with Roger Penske and Jay Signore to resurrect the International Race of Champions (IROC) series. That opportunity allowed him to be introduced to and work alongside some of the world's best drivers, including Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip and Bill Elliott. This is where Evernham first learned the skills needed for being a team manager.
Jamie Squire | Allsport
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After Evernham and Gordon found chemistry, success was quick to follow. Through the 1990s, Evernham guided Gordon and the No. 24 team to three championships in four seasons (1995, '97 and '98) and 47 wins atop the box.
Craig Jones | ALLSPORT
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Evernham is credited as the innovator behind revolutionizing NASCAR pit crews. His 'Rainbow Warriors' crew began to use athletes who specialized in an assigned task and choreographed movement. They used strength and agility training to help shorten pit stops.
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In 1999, Evernham left Hendrick Motorsports to form Evernham Motorsports. The team made its debut in 2000.
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Evernham was tabbed by Daimler Chrysler to usher Dodge's return to the sport in 2001. Bill Elliott (right) was among the drivers who took the wheel for Evernham Motorsports and Dodge.
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Evernham Motorsports fielded cars in the Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Truck Series, and drivers included Bill Elliott, Kasey Kahne (left), Elliott Sadler and Jeremy Mayfield, among others.
Paul Hawthorne | Getty Images for NASCAR
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Erin Crocker, posing here with Evernham at the 2006 Awards Ceremony, also drove for Evernham Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. In 2009, the two were married.
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Evernham Motorsports became Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2007. The team later merged with Petty Enterprises in 2009. Evernham solid his remaining shares in the operation in 2010.
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Television has been a part of Evernham's post-crew chief life. He spent some time as an analyst for ESPN/ABC's NASCAR coverage. He currently works with NBCSN as a color analyst for Whelen Modified Tour races.
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Restoring classic cars is another passion of Evernham's. He hosts a car show on Velocity called AmeriCarna and puts on a yearly car show in the Davidson, North Carolina on Thanksgiving weekend.
Rainier Ehrhardt | Getty Images
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Evernham rejoined the Hendrick Motorsports fold as a consultant for its competition department.
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Evernham, Robert Yates, Red Byron, Ken Squier and Ron Hornaday Jr. make up the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018.