A significant milestone is the making for Greg Erwin, a veteran crew chief who is atop the pit box of the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Mustang team driven by 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff contender Matt DiBenedetto. When the green flag waves this upcoming race weekend at Richmond Raceway, Erwin will reach 350 Cup races as a crew chief.
A native from Hatboro, Pennsylvania, Erwin graduated from Clemson University in 1992 with an engineering degree and he attained a motorsports engineering scholarship the following year in graduate school while volunteering to work with teams that included TriStar Motorsports. In 1995, his career in NASCAR started with Diamond Ridge Motorsports as an engineer while he worked with names like Jeff Green, Steve Grissom and Elliott Sadler. Following the 1995 season, Erwin transitioned to Team SABCO Racing as an engineer, where the team was eventually purchased and expanded by Chip Ganassi in 2001. In 2003, Erwin joined forces with Richard Childress Racing and worked as the team’s seven-post research and development program.
Entering the 2005 NASCAR Cup Series season, Erwin was promoted to crew chief for Robby Gordon and the No. 7 Robby Gordon Motorsports Chevrolet team. Erwin and Gordon failed to qualify for the 2005 Daytona 500, but they made their first start of the season the following race at Fontana’s California Speedway in February, where Gordon finished 35th due to an engine failure. Erwin and Gordon competed in 23 races throughout the 2005 season, where Gordon achieved one top-five result and two top-10 results before he concluded the season in 37th place in the final standings. The following season, Erwin completed his first full-time season in the Cup Series with Gordon, where he achieved one top-five result and three top-10 results before he finished in 30th place in the final standings.
For the first 12 races of the 2007 Cup season, Erwin remained with Robby Gordon and Gordon’s No. 7 team. Through the one-third segment of the season, Gordon finished no higher than 15th place. Afterwards, Erwin was named crew chief for the No. 16 Ford team owned by car owner Jack Roush and driven by Greg Biffle for the following race at Dover International Speedway in June. From Dover in June through Dover in September, Erwin and Biffle achieved two top-five results and six top-10 results, though Biffle failed to make the 2007 Playoffs. The following race at Kansas Speedway, Biffle was able to survive on fuel and coast across the finish line to achieve his first victory of the season as Erwin achieved his first Cup win as a crew chief. They went on to achieve two additional top-10 results and conclude the season in 14th place in the final standings.
In 2008, Erwin served as Biffle’s crew chief in all but one of the entire 36-race schedule (Auto Club Speedway in February). Following a consistent 26-race regular-season stretch, they achieved their first victory of the season at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the first Playoff race of the season. They backed it up the following week by winning at Dover. Overall, Erwin achieved two victories, two poles, 12 top-five results and 17 top-10 results with Biffle, who concluded the season in third place in the final standings. Prior to the conclusion of the 2008 Cup season, Erwin surpassed 100 Cup races as a crew chief.
In 2009, Biffle and Erwin went winless, but they achieved 10 top-five results and 16 top-10 results as Biffle made the Playoffs and concluded the season in seventh place in the final standings. They rebounded the following season by recording two wins, nine top-five results and 19 top-10 results, with Biffle finishing the season in sixth place in the final standings. Following the 2010 season, Erwin surpassed 200 Cup races as a crew chief.
For the first half of the 2011 Cup season, Erwin remained as Biffle’s crew chief in the Cup circuit, but they only achieved one top-five result and five top-10 results. Following Kentucky Speedway in July, Erwin was replaced by Matt Puccia as Biffle’s crew chief for the remainder of the season. Fortunately, Erwin was then named crew chief for the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford team driven by A.J. Allmendinger for the remainder of the season. In Erwin’s first race with the team at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Allmendinger finished 22nd. Erwin and Allmendinger went on to record six top-10 results for the remainder of the season as Allmendinger finished in 15th place in the final standings.
Erwin remained as crew chief for the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford team piloted by Aric Almirola. Following the first nine Cup races with Almirola, where he only achieved one top-10 result, Erwin, however, was replaced by veteran Mike Ford.
For the 2013 season, Erwin was named a full-time crew chief for Penske’s No. 12 Ford Mustang team driven by Sam Hornish Jr. in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as Hornish competed for the series title. Erwin and Hornish made a one-race appearance in the Cup Series at Kansas in April, where Hornish finished 37th due to being involved in a late multi-car accident. Erwin and Hornish went on to finish in second place in the final Xfinity Series standings as they missed the title by three points to Austin Dillon, crew chief Danny Stockton and Richard Childress Racing.
In 2014, Erwin was named competition director for Team Penske’s Xfinity Series program. Throughout the season, he served as a Cup interim crew chief for Brad Keselowski at Phoenix in March and he worked with Juan Pablo Montoya and the No. 12 Ford team in two Cup races. He spent the 2015 season as an Xfinity crew chief for Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang team, where he notched seven victories and recorded Penske’s third consecutive owner’s title with Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Alex Tagliani piloting the No. 22 car throughout the season. The following season, he was named Penske’s Xfinity Series team manager while Brian Wilson served as the No. 22 team’s crew chief. He returned as crew chief for Penske’s No. 22 Ford team in the 2017 Xfinity season.
In August 2017, Erwin was named crew chief for the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford team and Paul Menard for the 2018 Cup season. In Erwin’s first race with Menard, the combo finished in sixth place in the 2018 Daytona 500 in February. Ultimately, they achieved one pole, one top-five result and seven top-10 results throughout the 36-race schedule as Menard finished in 19th place in the final standings.
The following season, Erwin and Menard achieved only four top-10 results as Menard concluded his second season with the Wood Brothers Racing in 19th place in the final standings. Earlier in the season, Menard dominated and was in race-winning position in the Clash at Daytona International Speedway in February until contact from eventual winner Jimmie Johnson knocked Menard out of contention as he was involved in a multi-car accident. Following the 2019 season, Erwin surpassed 300 starts as a Cup crew chief.
This season, Erwin remained as a crew chief for the Wood Brothers Racing team and driver Matt DiBenedetto, who joined the team following Menard’s departure from full-time racing. In Erwin’s first race with DiBenedetto, the combo finished 19th in the 2020 Daytona 500. The following race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, DiBenedetto made a late rally to finish in second place behind Joey Logano. Throughout the 26-race regular-season stretch, DiBenedetto achieved two top-five results and seven top-10 results. After finishing in 12th place at Daytona International Speedway in August, DiBenedetto claimed the 16th and final transfer spot to the 2020 Cup Playoffs. DiBenedetto’s accomplishment marked his first Cup postseason appearance as a title contender, Erwin’s third as a title contender and the Wood Brothers Racing’s second as a Playoff team.
Erwin and DiBenedetto are coming off a 21st-place result in the first Playoff race of this season at Darlington Raceway. They are ranked in 15th place in the Playoff standings and are 17 points below the top-12 cutline to advance to the second round of the 2020 Cup Playoffs.
Catch crew chief Greg Erwin’s milestone start at Richmond Raceway on Saturday, September 12, at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.