Jimmy Makar has been a crew chief with Joe Gibbs Racing since its inception in 1991.
His long-standing tenure with the operation, owned by former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, has proven to be very rewarding. A Daytona 500 win, a Championship in 2000 and 18 NASCAR Winston Cup Series victories have all come under Makar's direction. His highly successful 11 year relationship with the Gibbs outfit has earmarked Makar as one of the brightest crew chiefs in the NASCAR garage.
Makar's ascension into the Winston Cup crew chief ranks began in 1978, when he worked with legendary car builder Robert Gee in repairing a Winston Cup car that belonged to his father. Makar was still living in New Jersey at the time, and in order to work on his father's car in Gee's Charlotte, N.C., shop, Makar stayed at Gee's house for a couple of weeks. When work on the car was completed and Makar was ready to head home, Gee offered him a job. Two weeks later, the then 22-year-old Makar took Gee up on his offer.
After working for various Winston Cup teams, Makar landed his first crew chief role at the Raymond Beadle-owned Blue Max Racing Team. He served as crew chief for the final seven races in 1990 before leaving along with driver Rusty Wallace to go to Penske Racing South. Makar served as crew chief at Penske Racing for 17 races in 1991 before leaving to help form Joe Gibbs Racing
Credit is due to Makar for putting Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte into the winner's circle on a regular basis. With brother-in-law Makar at the helm, Jarrett scored the first of his two Daytona 500 victories in 1993. The 33-year-old Labonte captured his first career Winston Cup victory in the 1995 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway under the tutelage of Makar. His first Championship and additional wins since that first season have established Labonte as a continual threat to win on the Winston Cup circuit.
At Joe Gibbs Racing, Makar has overseen the development of an entire race team from its infancy. Once the team was a proven winner, they took on the challenge of developing their own in-house engine program. Thanks in large part to the effective leadership of Makar, the number of wins and poles have grown in accordance with the team's growth
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