As a crew chief, Barry Dodson helped guide Rusty Wallace to his only NASCAR Cup Series championship in 1989 and worked with some of racing’s best-known drivers, including Tim Richmond, Darrell Waltrip and Kyle Petty. But Dodson, who passed away Wednesday, also left an impact on many others in the sport, as tributes to him on Twitter showed.
Wallace was among those who shared memories and thoughts on Twitter.
“Barry was an incredible leader & one of our sport’s best crew chiefs,” wrote Wallace, a member of the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. “We had a lot of success together & had a lot of fun too. If it weren’t for Barry, I likely wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s short tweet – a reflection on Dodson’s supportive personality – garnered a lot of attention.
“He was always incredibly nice to me, from the day I met him,” Earnhardt’s tweet said. “I will never forget how caring and supportive he was.”
According to NASCAR.com, Dodson’s brother John Dodson confirmed his death with a statement that read, in part, that the former crew chief “served the sport with a passion that few will ever match.”
Dodson’s final Cup Series win, his 19th at NASCAR’s highest level, proved to the most emotional, as it followed the death of his son Trey, 17, and daughter Tia, 16, in a single-car accident in South Carolina in November 1994.
The following season, Dodson led the crew for Petty at Dover International Speedway where Petty avoided a 19-car wreck on just the third lap before dominating the race. The victory, also Petty’s final in the Cup Series, ended the driver’s two-year win drought.
Dodson dedicated the win to his children.
“I knew we could, I felt like we could, and by golly, we did it,” Dodson said after the win.
Dodson also won races as a crew chief in the Truck Series and was general manager for Wallace’s Xfinity Series team.
Racing community praises Dodson
A tweet from Dodson’s stepson, Trent Owens, the crew chief for JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 37 team, generated a stream of responses.
Waltrip, another Hall of Famer, was among the well-known names in NASCAR tweeting about Dodson this week.
Others in the industry mourned his passing, including many who recalled working with Dodson.
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