He became a crew chief at an improbably young age and soon thereafter became one of the best of the ‘80s. He was chief on James Hylton’s car at age 18, collecting 11 Top 10 finishes that season. In 1983, still just 25, the Philadelphian guided Ricky Rudd to two NASCAR Cup Series wins — the first for car owner/inductee Richard Childress. Three years later, as chief on inductee Dale Earnhardt’s car, he helmed the first of four Cup championships together in six seasons (1986, 1987, 1990, 1991). In 1987 alone, they won 11 times, including four in a row. Over his 16-year crew chief career, Shelmerdine amassed 46 wins and scored Top 10s in over half his cars’ starts. Part of his success was the outstanding pit work he led and orchestrated, winning four straight Unocal 76 World Pit Crew titles (1985-8). After a disappointing 1992 season, Shelmerdine traded the pit box for the driver’s seat, eventually making 41 starts across NASCAR’s three main series; he scored three wins in 50 ARCA starts.