Lawrence Joseph McReynolds III
January 10, 1959
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
|Other names||Larry Mac, America's Crew Chief, Larry McNuggets |
|Occupation(s)||NASCAR crew chief|
Fox NASCAR commentator
|Known for||Winning the Daytona 500 as a crew chief twice (1992 with Davey Allison and 1998 with Dale Earnhardt)|
Lawrence Joseph McReynolds III (born January 10, 1959) is a former NASCAR crew chief and current racing analyst on Fox Sports as well as a columnist on Foxsports.com. In the past, he has served as an advisor to Petty Enterprises, and as a minority owner in Bang! Racing.
McReynolds was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Larry is an only child. His NASCAR career began in 1975. He worked his way up the ladder and took his first crew chief job in 1985.
He served as a Winston Cup crew chief from 1985 to 2000, amassing 23 Cup wins, 21 poles, 122 top-five and 209 top-ten finishes. In 1988, McReynolds earned his first Cup win at Watkins Glen International with driver Ricky Rudd.
McReynolds began 1991 with King Racing and driver Brett Bodine, but after the spring Atlanta race, left to become the crew chief for Robert Yates Racing and its famed #28, with driver Davey Allison. McReynolds and Allison combined to win 11 races and three pole positions between 1991 and mid-1993, establishing himself as one of the sport's elite crew chiefs. He led Allison to a win in the 1992 Daytona 500, and the two swept the NASCAR All-Star Race (then The Winston) in 1991–92. He nearly won the series points championship with Allison in 1992, with the title chase going down to the final race.
After Allison died in 1993 following a helicopter crash, McReynolds began working with driver Ernie Irvan, who left his ride at Morgan-McClure Motorsports under controversial circumstances to take over for his fallen friend. Immediately the partnership paid dividends, as Irvan won two of the nine races he drove the #28 and recorded six top five finishes. McReynolds helped drive the success of the #28 the next year as Irvan won three times and was a strong contender to unseat Dale Earnhardt as champion.
Then, on the morning before the spring race at Michigan, tragedy struck again. McReynolds, in an interview for The Scene Vault Podcast in 2020 described the situation as such. The Saturday morning prior to the race, the #28 was on the track for a practice session. After ten laps, McReynolds called Irvan to bring the car back in because he did not like the way it was running. Irvan would run one lap at highest speed before bringing the car in, as was his habit. McReynolds did not see Irvan blow a tire and crash on the backstretch, which caused a massive head injury. He said, once he found out of the extent of Irvan’s injury and the likelihood that he might not survive, he was ready to leave motorsports altogether having had two of his drivers die while he was leading their pit crews.
After running the rest of the season with substitute drivers, McReynolds convinced team owner Robert Yates to sign Dale Jarrett to drive for him in 1995; although Jarrett finished outside of the top ten in points McReynolds did lead him to victory at Pocono.
After one more season as crew chief for the returning Irvan, who missed most of 1995 recovering from his injuries, McReynolds took over as Earnhardt's crew chief for 1997 after his former crew chief Andy Petree left to form his own racing team. Despite not winning a race, McReynolds brought the team a top ten points finish and he was on the pit box for what was Earnhardt's biggest win as a driver, his victory in the 1998 Daytona 500. He was then moved over to the #31 car driven by Mike Skinner. He led the #31 team to a top ten points finish in 1999, and a 12th place finish in the points in 2000. McReynolds ended his career as a crew chief after the 2000 season. During his career as a crew chief, his cars had 23 victories in 417 starts.
McReynolds' success and thorough approach to his profession earned him selection to the Copenhagen/Skoal All-Pro Team, an all-star "who's who" of crew members, for five straight years (1991–1995), and the 1998 UAW GM Teamwork of Excellence award.
On April 17, 2022, McReynolds announced that he would make his return as a NASCAR crew chief, working with Jeffrey Earnhardt at the 2022 Ag-Pro 300 for Richard Childress Racing. It would be the first time in 22 years that McReynolds would call the race from the pit box. The team ended up winning the pole during qualifying, posting a record time of 52.454. The team led 10 laps in the 124 lap race extended by overtime, finishing in 2nd.
At the end of the 2000 season, McReynolds left the Richard Childress-owned No. 31 Chevrolet and ventured into the Fox Sports broadcast booth with Mike Joy and 3-time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip. The three called the NASCAR Cup Series races for NASCAR on Fox from 2001 through 2015 and also called Busch Series races from 2001 to 2006. In 2015, he served as an analyst for Fox Sports 1's live race coverage of the Xfinity Series, in addition to serving as an analyst on FS1's NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR RaceDay-Xfinity, the network's pre-race shows for the Monster Energy Cup Series and Xfinity Series, and NASCAR Race Hub, its daily NASCAR news and highlight show. McReynolds, who was inducted into the Alabama Auto Racing Pioneers Hall of Fame in December 2013, was a longtime panelist on NASCAR Trackside and NASCAR Performance on Speed. In 2016, McReynolds served as an in-race analyst for Fox NASCAR's 16th season broadcasting the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
McReynolds is co-host with Danielle Trotta of the daily radio program, On Track on SiriusXM Satellite Radio's NASCAR Radio Channel 90. The program runs 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday-Friday. During the first half of the racing season when FOX Sports carries the broadcast, he sometimes misses broadcasts due to conflicts with his television schedule.
He was a roving reporter for the six Sprint Cup races on TNT during the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 Cup seasons. From 2012 to 2014, he worked as a co-host (along with Kyle Petty and Adam Alexander) for the pre-race segments on TNT.
McReynolds was inducted into The Oceanside Rotary Club Hall of Fame in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2008. In 2009, McReynolds received the Living Legends of Auto Racing Russ Moyer Media Award.
He played himself in the 2006 movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. McReynolds also co-hosted the NASCAR Performance Show with Steve Post on Motor Racing Network (MRN) between 2004 and 2013, and co-authored the books The Big Picture: My Life from Pit Road to the Broadcast Booth and How to Become a Winning Crew Chief.
McReynolds' son Brandon McReynolds is a racing driver and spotter. His daughter Kendall is married to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Jordan Anderson.