NASCAR Cup champion crew chief Barry Dodson dies

The crew chief who helped guide NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace to his only Cup title died unexpectedly Wednesday. Barry Dodson was 64.

His brother John confirmed the news via a statement: “Barry’s passing leaves us all with heavy hearts. He left his mark in the NASCAR history books and he served the sport with a passion that few will ever match. We love him and we miss him.”

After putting in his time as a crewmember, Dodson was hired as crew chief in NASCAR’s top division by car owner Raymond Beadle. He spent a season as crew chief for Tim Richmond, then was paired with Wallace for five years. They scored several wins, including six in 1989, the year the duo won their Cup title.

Away from the track, Dodson’s personal life was marked by tragedy. His children Trey, 17, and daughter Tia, 16, were killed in a car crash in 1994.

The following season Dodson was crew chief for Kyle Petty, when Petty scored his first win in two years at Dover; the victory was the final one for both Petty and Dodson in the Cup series.

Dodson would go on to crew chief six wins with team owner Jim Smith and driver Mike Bliss in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series from 1995-1998. He finished his NASCAR career as general manager for Wallace when he started his own team in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

“Barry Dodson’s talent as a crew chief was evident, winning a championship in 1989 and a number of races throughout a career that lasted parts of three decades at the top levels of the sport,” NASCAR said in a statement released Wednesday night. “His extraordinary skills around a racecar were rivaled only by his passion for the sport, and his perseverance in the face of adversity. NASCAR extends its condolences to the family and friends of Barry Dodson. He will be missed.”