NASCAR WCUP: Jimmy Elledge Named Crew Chief for Wallace in 1999
19 September 1998ASHEVILLE, N.C., - When Kenny Wallace climbs into his No. 55 Square D Chevrolet next year as part of Andy Petree Racing's (APR) multi-car operation, Jimmy Elledge will be his crew chief.
The 28-year-old Redding, Calif., native comes to APR from Roush Racing where he served as shop foreman for Mark Martin's fleet of race cars. Before his tenure at Roush, Elledge was crew chief for NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division upstart Jeff Krogh.
But most of Elledge's Winston Cup experience came at Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Beginning in 1992 when he joined the Welcome, N.C., operation, Elledge started as a fabricator. Under Petree's direction, he later moved to general mechanic and then to car chief and tire changer before leaving at the end of the 1997 season.
"Andy's a great guy to work with," said Elledge. "He and guys like Will Lund, Cecil Gordon, David Smith and John Malloy really helped bring my career along. Will was the guy who took to me the best, and I worked directly with him for about three years. He taught me a lot about the sport and a lot about race cars."
In addition to turning wrenches on race cars, Elledge has also raced. He drove a late model stock car on a limited basis in the NASCAR Winston Racing Series at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Tri-County Speedway in 1996.
"I honestly feel that anytime a crew chief can get in a race car and drive," said Wallace, "that it's the best thing that can happen to the driver who he's crew chief for. That way, he knows and understands the feeling that a driver is looking for in his race car. When a team has a crew chief who's an ex-driver, that team can become very successful."
"Andy had wanted me to come to Asheville ever since he left RCR," said Elledge. "When Andy came to me with this second team and he had Kenny Wallace as the driver, I knew it was time to take Andy up on his offer. Kenny Wallace is a great race car driver. He has a good feel for the car and he gives great feedback. With Terry (Satchell, APR engineer) and Andy to fall back on, this is a very good situation for both Kenny and myself."