Graves to call 200th Cup race as crew chief at Richmond

A significant milestone start is in the making for Scott Graves, crew chief for Ryan Newman and the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series. By participating in this weekend’s Cup Playoff event at Richmond Raceway, Graves will call his 200th Cup career race as a crew chief. 

A native from Clifton Spring, New York, Graves graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1994. He went on to work as a manufacturing and project engineer for companies like Halliburton, Dana Corporation and SPM Flow Control. 

In 2006, Graves teamed up with Roush Fenway Racing and worked as an engineer on RFR’s No. 99 Ford entry in the NASCAR Truck Series that was piloted by Erik Darnell. Five years later, Graves was a team engineer for RFR’s No. 60 Ford Mustang team in the Xfinity Series, a team that achieved eight victories and went on to clinch the Xfinity Series’ owners’ championship with the help of drivers Carl Edwards and Billy Johnson.

The 2012 season was Graves’ first as a crew chief, where he was atop the pit box of RFR’s No. 60 Ford Mustang team in four Xfinity Series races. Making his debut as a crew chief at Watkins Glen International in August, Graves went to Victory Lane with Carl Edwards. He returned to crew chief for Billy Johnson at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Trevor Bayne at Bristol Motor Speedway in August and Travis Pastrana at Richmond Raceway in September. Graves also made his crew chief debut in three NASCAR Cup Series races late in 2012, beginning at Dover International Speedway in September, where he worked with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Following a strong 12th-place result at Dover, Graves returned as Stenhouse’s Cup crew chief at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October and at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.

The following season, Graves was named crew chief for Stenhouse and the No. 17 RFR Ford Fusion team in the Cup Series, which marked Stenhouse’s first full-time season as a competitor in NASCAR’s premier series after winning back-to-back Xfinity titles. Throughout the 36-race schedule, Graves and Stenhouse achieved a pole, one top-five result and three top-10 results throughout the 36-race schedule. Despite finishing 19th in the final standings, Stenhouse claimed the Rookie-of-the-Year title over Danica Patrick.

From 2014 to 2015, Graves returned to the Xfinity Series and worked as crew chief for Chris Buescher and RFR’s No. 60 Ford Mustang team. During the two-year stint, Graves achieved three victories and the 2015 Xfinity Series championship with Buescher. After Buescher moved up to the Cup circuit with Front Row Motorsports, Graves joined Joe Gibbs Racing and worked as a crew chief for Daniel Suarez and the No. 19 Toyota Camry team. In their first season together, Graves and Suarez won three races and claimed the 2016 Xfinity Series championship, which marked Graves’ second consecutive title in the Xfinity circuit.

Graves started the 2017 NASCAR season as crew chief for Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota Camry team in the first four of five Xfinity Series races of the schedule. After going to Victory Lane with Kyle Busch at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, Graves moved up to the Cup Series and replaced Dave Rogers to serve as crew chief for Daniel Suarez and the No. 19 Toyota Camry team for the remaining 30 Cup events of the season. The move was a reunion for Graves and Suarez after both won the 2016 Xfinity title. Together, Graves and Suarez achieved one top-five result and 10 top-10 results as Suarez finished in 20th place in the final standings and behind Erik Jones for the Rookie-of-the-Year title.

Graves remained as Suarez’s crew chief for the majority of the 2018 Cup season. Following the first 30 events of the schedule, where Graves and Suarez achieved a pole, three top-five results and eight top-10 results, Graves was replaced by Dave Rogers for the final six events. Paired with Rogers, Suarez went on to finish 21st in the final standings. By then, Graves reached 100 Cup career races as a crew chief.

In September 2018, Graves was named crew chief for the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang team and veteran Ryan Newman for the 2019 Cup season, a move that reunited Graves with RFR. Throughout the 36-race schedule, Graves and Newman made the Playoffs based on points and went on to finish in 15th place in the final standings. Overall, they achieved three top-five results, 14 top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 14.6.

The 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season started off on a harrowing note for Newman, Graves and the No. 6 RFR Ford Mustang team, where Newman was bumped and turned by Ryan Blaney on the final lap of the Daytona 500 while leading. The contact resulted with Newman flipping over and being hit by an oncoming Corey LaJoie at full speed before flying in the air, sliding and coming to a rest upside down near the pit lane exit. While Newman was ruled out indefinitely due to his injuries following the accident, Graves spent the next three races working with interim competitor Ross Chastain. Despite Newman returning to competition at Darlington Raceway in May, he and Graves were unable to make the Playoffs as they went on to conclude the season in 25th place in the final standings and with a total of two top-10 results throughout the 36-race schedule.

Through the first 27 Cup races of this season, Graves and Newman have achieved two top-five results and five top-10 results, with a best result of third place at Daytona in August.

Through 199 previous Cup events, Graves has achieved two poles, 10 top-five results and 42 top-10 results while working with four different competitors.

Graves is set to call his 200th Cup Series event as a crew chief at Richmond Raceway on Saturday, September 11, with the event scheduled to occur at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

Andrew Kim
An avid motorsports enthusiast from California with aspirations of working in any form of communications, PR or digital/social media in motorsports.

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