Barry Dodson, the crew chief of Rusty Wallace's 1989 Cup Series championship season, has passed away. He was 64.
In addition to working with Wallace, Dodson also served as crew chief for several top racers in the sport including Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and Tim Richmond. He had 19 career victories to his credit in what is now known as the Monster Energy Cup Series, according to NASCAR.com
Dodson's passing was confirmed in a family statement released by his brother:
"Barry's passing leaves us all with heavy hearts. He left his mark in the NASCAR history books and he served the sport with a passion that few will ever match. We love him and we miss him."
Wallace took to Twitter to share his feelings as well as send thoughts and prayers to the family.
A statement was released by NASCAR on Wednesday to pay tribute to Dodson.
"Barry Dodson's talent as a crew chief was evident, winning a championship in 1989 and a number of races throughout a career that lasted parts of three decades at the top levels of the sport," the NASCAR statement reads. "His extraordinary skills around a race car were rivaled only by his passion for the sport, and his perseverance in the face of adversity. NASCAR extends its condolences to the family and friends of Barry Dodson. He will be missed."
After years of serving as a crew member, Dodson was given his first shot at crew chief in 1985 with Richmond as the driver of the Blue Max No. 27 Pontiac. It was the very next season when he teamed up with Wallace for a five-year run that saw them win a championship and a second place finish that just missed a second title. The two had 18 wins together including six in the 1989 championship season, as well as six more the previous year in 1988.
Dodoson won the final of his 19 races as crew chief with Kyle Petty in 1995, just months after Dodson's two teenage children were killed as passengers in a car accident. He dedicated the race to his two kids, which just happened to be the day after his 42nd birthday. He told reporters if he didn't win a race that year for his kids, it might be time to do something else.
"I knew we could, I felt like we could, and by golly, we did it," Dodson said.
In his 15 year career as a Cup Series crew chief he worked with a lot of talented drivers, sometimes multiple drivers in a season. He served as crew chief in the Camping World Truck Series for a few years from 1995-98, adding six wins to his resume. Later on he would become general manager for Wallace when he started his own team in the now Xfinity Series.