Garage 56 members get a sky high view of Le Mans

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LE MANS, France – After a celebrated eight-year career as a crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Alex Bowman, Greg Ives stepped away from the position fulltime in the NASCAR Cup Series at the end of last season. But he has found himself a highly-regarded leader again – this time for the Garage 56 project – handling crew chief duties and helping oversee development of the No. 24 Chevy Camaro ZL1 since stepping away from crew chief work last November.

He joined Garage 56 reserve driver Jordan Taylor and Hendrick Motorsports’ Ben Wright a couple thousand feet about Le Mans’ Circuit de la Sarthe on Friday morning with the opportunity to view the track from another perspective – in the iconic Goodyear blimp.

“The biggest thing for me is understanding where all the slow zones are,’’ Ives said. “I took the track walk and was able to see a few things here and there, but up here you can kind of understand where each slow zone is. You can look at the geometry of the track. … understand what situations they can get themselves in down there. That if we don’t have radio communication, how to help them if there’s a slow zone in [Turn] six or they’re coming out a slow zone out of [Turn] five. .. so letting them know right away, see cars go out on track right now just understanding the lines and the flow of the race track.’’

Of the sheer size of the 8.467-mile road Le Mans course, Ives said, “This is kind of like putting eight Dovers in one space or 16 Martinsvilles.’’