It's evident in the winner's circle. One of the key elements for a successful team is the ability to communicate effectively.

A team that communicates well can be more organized, better prepared, and more efficient (thus spend less money) than its competitors. There are various areas in the whole racing operation where improved communication can benefit the team and enhance the chances for success.

Those who benefit from a high level of communication are the team/car owners, crews, drivers, sponsors, track owners and officials, sanctioning bodies, press, family and friends, and suppliers. It's safe to say everyone benefits.

The person who owns the car and/or equipment must communicate his or her expectations of the team, the goals (both long and short term), and who will participate and how. There is often a strong desire to work with a team and have the opportunity to go to the races, but there may be a limited number of positions available for crewmembers. The team owner must decide who is to be on the team, just like any other sport, and must leave no doubt in the minds of the team members as to what is expected of them and what they can expect in return for their services.

Included in the decisions that must be made are which class to run, number of races, where to race, whether or not to compensate crew or provide food and lodging, and what, if any, incentives will be offered if the team is successful. Team members are usually much more dedicated and motivated if there is a possible reward for winning races and championships.

The owner spends the money, whether it is personal money or provided by the sponsors, and the golden rule applies-the one with the gold rules.

A crewmember usually has his or her entry fee, special clothing, and food bills paid by the owner. Some lucky ones may get $50 or $100 for each race they work. The owner can offer more money based on results such as race wins or championships.

Depending upon the level of the sport, the crew can consist of the chief mechanic or crew chief, several mechanics and helpers, a tire specialist, a lap timer, a truck driver (usually a dual-duty position), and maybe a cook who is also a working team member.

The owner must designate a leader of the team. This person can be the chief mechanic, a stand-alone crew chief, or sometimes the owner (in a few cases, even the driver). The team leader schedules all work and tells everyone what needs to be done, helps perform the work, and makes sure it is done correctly. The leader is in constant communication with all crewmembers, the owner, and others.

The team leader is responsible for the car construction, legality, scheduling, shop and truck preparation, testing, and all other functions of the crew. The person must be able to communicate effectively so that all of these tasks run smoothly.

The team leader must be allowed to have a choice in the selection of his crew and to assign duties to those on the crew. Since he or she is ultimately responsible for preparation and maintenance of the car, the team leader is best suited to make choices about crewmembers and their responsibilities. Again, communication is of great importance. If the team leader chooses talented crewmembers who know what is expected of them and are self motivated, everything runs smoothly.