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Jeff Jefferson's first full season as a crew chief couldn't have gone any better, not even if he had focused on the job during his entire motorsports career.
Jefferson turned the wrenches on the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship No. 03 Gene Price Motorsports Ford for Dylan Kwasniewski. The team won three of 15 races, posted 12 Top-5 finishes and never finished outside the Top-10.
“I don't think anything will ever replace driving, but winning as a crew chief is really satisfying,” said Jefferson, a three-time champion in the former NASCAR Northwest Tour, who still competes in a few short-track Late Model events each season. “If you're competitive, winning is what you work towards.. It's a different kind of satisfaction.
“I don't think I could ask for a better driver to be my first driver than Dylan. He's a lot of fun to be around, and he's obviously a very good race car driver.”
Jefferson's first stint atop the pit box came in 2011, when Kwasniewski had to wait out NASCAR's minimum age requirement before competing in the K&N Pro Series West. The pair won a pair of races across 13 starts before teaming up for the full season this year.
“Transitioning into being a crew chief has worked really well, but I have to give 90 percent of the credit to (Greg Pursley's crew chief) Jerry Pitts.” said Jefferson, a Naches, Wash., native. “I've learned so much from him. He's a been a crew chief all his life, and he helped me to work with the guys to stay positive, have fun and not let anything get us down – even when you have a bad race.”
Team owner Gene Price said that giving Jefferson the keys to the No. 03 came at a cost. Jefferson previously served on the crew for Pursley.
“He was on the 26 team, but I wanted to make him Dylan's crew chief,” Price said. “Greg wasn't happy about that. But we needed a crew chief, and I thought it would be a good fit. He's constantly improving. I think he's going to be even better next year than he was this year.”