Jimmy Elledge resumes crew chief duties on the No. 55 team. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 1, 2002) -- Effective today, Jimmy Elledge is returning as crew chief on the No. 55 Schneider Electric Chevrolet. He resumes his leadership role at Andy Petree...
Jimmy Elledge resumes crew chief duties on the No. 55 team.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 1, 2002) -- Effective today, Jimmy Elledge is returning as crew chief on the No. 55 Schneider Electric Chevrolet. He resumes his leadership role at Andy Petree Racing after a brief run at Robert Yates Racing, where he charted one top-10 finish in six races with the No. 88 team. In his first day back at the race shop, Elledge discusses what led to his decision to rejoin the team that gave him his first win as a crew chief.
What's it like returning to a program that you helped to build?
I guess I kind of hate that I left it. Hopefully we can gel all of the chemistry we had back together and get the program back to where it was when I left. Since there's only one full-time team at APR now, there's probably more support for this team than there was before. There are more resources to draw from, because there's more people concentrated on this one car.
After time off, are you ready to get back in the saddle again?
I'm ready to go, to get back rolling. Naturally I was kind of lost for a few days after I left the 88 team. It's tough being out of work and unsettled, and I've never been in that situation before. Fortunately I was paid very well by RYR. They kept paying me while I was off deciding what I wanted to do, so I didn't have to rush into any decisions immediately. But the longer I stayed away from work, the more unsettled I became. I'm really excited about being back here. Andy and I have been friends for years and years. They needed help right now, I needed help right now, so hopefully it will work out for all of us.
Will it be difficult coming in mid-season?
I know all these guys here, they're big supporters of me and I feel wanted. That makes you feel comfortable about doing your job. When you don't feel wanted and you're having to prove yourself all the time, and answer questions all the time, you get insecure about yourself and that's basically where I was (at RYR).
Working at Andy Petree Racing was a great situation from day one, but sometimes the grass is greener on the other side. I think there were a lot of things here (at APR) that were really good. But there were a lot of things I questioned here, that by being away I was able to answer. The bottom line is you have to be happy at the end of the day. I feel wanted here. These guys are big supporters of me. When you feel wanted by the people around you, it makes you feel good.
Is this a permanent deal?
I'm going to be here until the end of the year. It doesn't do anybody any good just to have me come stop by for a while. Right now we're all focusing on what APR, Bobby Hamilton and I need until Atlanta in November.
What will you as a leader do to help this program get rolling again?
The first thing we have to do is look at the problems and try to identify what's wrong. Some things are the same as when I left. The flat track program still looks like it's off. I think I learned some stuff at Yates that might help. I think the biggest thing is that my relationship with Bobby is good, and it always has been. Anytime you have two people go through the kind of year we had last year, it shows that we have what it takes to go through the tough times and make them better.