On Monday, legendary NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds added another prestigious honor to his resume.
The man known as “America’s Favorite Crew Chief”was bestowed the prestigious Smokey Yunick Award on Monday ahead of this weekend’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The honor was present to McReynolds by Marcus Smith, President and CEO of Speedway Motorsports – the company that manages race tracks across the country including Charlotte Motor Speedway.
McReynolds joins the list of honorees including Ray Evernham, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, and Dale Inman, among others.
“That list has a lot of great names and I think a lot of creative genius,” Smith said. “The ingenuity and the ideas that drive championship racing are what it takes to get this wrench and I’m so excited to be able to give it to you.”
“You have absolutely swept me off my feet,” McReynolds said on set. “Just to have my name in the same paragraph as a Dale Inman or Leonard Wood, people like that, is quite overwhelming. It starts with the people that I work with. We all know it’s about people…”
The award was created in 1997, and is given to an individual who has made a significant impact on the sport of NASCAR, from humble beginnings.
After moving to North Carolina in 1980, McReynolds climbed the NASCAR ladder to find himself as crew chief after finding a love for the mechanical side of racing. After being hoisted into the role of a crew chief, he scored his first win at Watkins Glen International in 1988 with Ricky Rudd.
From that point on, McReynolds crew chief rising starts such as Davey Allison, to NASCAR legends like Dale Earnhardt.
Larry Mac scored 11 wins with Allison in 1991 including the Coca-Cola 600 that same year. Following Davey’s death, he stayed with Robert Yates Racing to crew chief for Ernie Irvan and Dale Jarrett.
After moving to Richard Childress Racing in 1997, he helped deliver an elusive Daytona 500 title to Dale Earnhardt in 1998.
“People ask me, what are my most special wins,” McReynolds said on Race Hub. “Well, all of them. I won 23, but I lost 457 of them, so they’re all really special. Two Daytona 500s, and, you know there’s only one first. To get that very first win at Watkins Glen with Ricky Rudd in 1988. Donnie Allison told me when I left Birmingham; he said, it’s going to be a long time before you see a checkered flag. Well he was right, it took about eight and a half years before I got to see a checkered flag. But, they’re all special because they’re hard to come by.”