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Crew Chief – Dave Winston
Dave Winston is the crew chief for Gaunt Brothers Racing and the No. 96 Toyota Camry it fields in the elite NASCAR Cup Series. Like many of Winston’s counterparts, the Miami-native has an engineering background that makes him well-suited for the role of modern-day crew chief.
Winston has a mechanical engineering degree from Florida Atlantic University, and he came to Gaunt Brothers Racing in 2020 after a three-year run at Richard Childress Racing (RCR) where he served multiple roles, including vehicle performance group engineer and race engineer. His primary responsibility centered on the overall competitive performance of the race team, but Winston had hands-on duties as well, becoming the race engineer for driver Paul Menard and RCR’s No. 27 team in the latter half of 2017 before moving to race engineer for rookie driver Daniel Hemric and the No. 8 team in 2019.
Prior to joining Gaunt Brothers Racing, Winston had already accumulated 61 NASCAR Cup Series races as a crew chief. His first stint in the role came in 2014 with rookie driver Alex Bowman and BK Racing’s No. 23 team. The duo ran the entire 36-race schedule and, in a testament to Winston’s attention to detail, completed 93.7 percent of the total laps available.
Winston spent the 2015 season at HScott Motorsports as the lead race engineer for driver Justin Allgaier and the team’s No. 51 entry. But Winston’s crew chief abilities were needed at Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing, and in 2016 he led the No. 95 team and driver Michael McDowell for the series’ first 28 races before transitioning to RCR.
Winston’s NASCAR career began in 2000 at Roush-Fenway Racing after spending nearly12 years as a mechanical engineer with such companies as General Dynamics, Performance Friction and Freightliner. His first taste of NASCAR success came in 2002 when he helped engineer Greg Biffle’s NASCAR Xfinity Series championship, and when Roush promoted Biffle to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2003, Winston was promoted as well, becoming the lead race engineer for Biffle and the No. 16 team. They scored their first win in July at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and grabbed 10 more victories over the next three seasons, including a six-win campaign in 2005 that resulted in a second-place finish in the championship standings.
In 2007, Winston moved to Red Bull Racing as lead engineer for driver Brian Vickers and the No. 83 team. It was there where Winston first met Gaunt Brothers Racing president Marty Gaunt, as Gaunt was Red Bull Racing’s general manager and hired Winston. In two seasons with Vickers and the No. 83 team, Winston helped garner a pole along with four top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
Winston was lured to Team Penske in 2009 to be the lead race engineer for driver Kurt Busch and the No. 2 team. After Busch finished his 2008 campaign a lowly 18th in the championship standings, Winston’s arrival coincided with a fourth-place finish in the season-ending point standings that was achieved via two wins, 10 top-fives, 21 top-10s and 738 laps led. It was a standout year that led to two more successful years at Penske, with Winston contributing to six additional wins before departing for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing in 2012.
In a two-year tenure at Earnhardt-Ganassi, Winston worked as the race engineer for driver Jamie McMurray and the No. 1 team. They scored a pole at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June 2013 before nabbing a victory four months later at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
The opportunity to become a crew chief beckoned, and Winston departed Earnhardt-Ganassi to work with Bowman at BK Racing in 2014.
Winston resides in Rock Hill, South Carolina, with his wife Suzanne. The couple has two children, Victoria and David.