Donnie Wingo is a veteran journeyman crew chief who is currently employed at Wood Brothers Racing, working with Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Motorcraft car. Born on the 13th of February, 1960 in the town of Spartanburg, South Carolina Donnie first started in NASCAR racing as a crew member and mechanic in 1978 working for independent car and team owner, Jimmy Means. His first crew chief role came in 1989 when he started with Bud Moore Racing. His first career Cup Series win was when he led Morgan Shepherd to victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990, this was followed by a further three victories with Geoffrey Bodine, twice in 1992 and once in 1993. From about 1995 to 2002 Donnie worked for Travis Carter/Haas-Carter Motorsports working principally with drivers, Jimmy Spencer and Todd Bodine. The biggest break in his career came in 2003 when he was asked to be the crew chief to the rookie, Jamie McMurray at Chip Ganassi Racing for the Sprint Cup season. He guided the #42 team to five Top 5 and thirteen Top 10 finishes, one pole position and the team finished In thirteenth position in the final point standings. Jamie was awarded the Sprint Cup Raybestos 2002 “Rookie of the Year” honours. Encouraged by the results of 2003 the team entered 2004 with great enthusiasm and gained nine Top 5 and twenty three Top 10 finishes. The team earned a $1 million bonus after finishing eleventh in the point standings, making them the highest finishing team outside of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. 2005 saw another solid season for Donnie and Jamie when they recorded one pole, four Top 5 and ten Top 10 finishes. They were disappointed in their pursuit for a place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup when they found they were a few points short after the final qualifying race at Richmond International Raceway. The team finished twelfth in the final point standings, their consecutive third top 15 finish together.
Working with Casey Mears in the 2006 season proved to be one of Casey’s most successful seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing when Donnie led him to three Top 5 finishes, including a second place finish in the Daytona 500 and finishing fourteenth in the final point standings. Donnie continued with Chip Ganassi Racing throughout 2007 and 2008, working with Juan Pablo Montoya who he guided to win his first Sprint Cup victory and to earn the NASCAR 2007 “Rookie of the Year” honours and to work with Reed Sorrenson. Jamie McMurray had left Chip Ganassi Racing two years previously to drive for Jack Roush at Roush Fenway Racing and two years later Donnie joined him at Roush Fenway Racing and it was hoped that the duo could work some of the magic they had in 2002 with Jamie hoping to gain another victory and, most importantly, to put Jamie into the position of a shot at the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. The duo started the season by dominating the final stages of the Budweiser Shootout but lost out to Kevin Harvick after losing the lead in the final lap. Donnie and Jamie enjoyed a brilliant Speedweeks when they finished ninth in the Gatorade Duel. They were doing well in the Daytona 500 until Jamie was involved in a big crash.
In November they won the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway and the team also earned their second restrictor-plate victory. Donnie, crew chief for the # 26 Roush Fenway Racing Ford driven by Jamie McMurray, was named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for NASCAR Sprint Cup Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The team finished the season with one win, five Top 10 and nineteen Top 20 finishes and were ranked twenty second in the final point standings. At the end of the season the #26 team were released as Roush Fenway Racing had to cut down their teams to the NASCAR mandatory four. Donnie was retained as crew chief of the #6 UPS team with driver, David Ragan. The team failed to maximise their potential when at the end of the 2010 season they were ranked twenty fourth in the final point standings after achieving three Top 5 and seventeen Top 20 finishes. It was announced that Donnie would replace David Hyder as crew chief with the Wood Brothers team, working on the #21 Ford with rookie driver, Trevor Bayne for the 2011 season. The season started brilliantly when Donnie was named as the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following the 53rd running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in February. He was awarded this after pulling off an amazing feat in only his second career start. He held off a late charge by Carl Edwards to take the chequered flag, giving the Wood Brothers their fifth Daytona 500 victory. It seems that during the Gatorade Duel (a unique heat-race format that determines the starting order for the Daytona 500), David was involved in a last lap crash, damaging the car so badly that the team were forced to completely rebuild the car. Obviously they did a fantastic job, when the green flag fell David moved quickly from his starting position of thirty second to position himself in with the top ten drivers, ready to pull up to the lead of the field and the final green and white chequered flag finish. “This ‘Cinderella story’ just shows what a leader Donnie really is,” said WYPALL Wipers crew chief representative and FOX/Speed analyst Jeff Hammond. “He showed up for Speedweeks ready to play with the big dogs and they did just that. Despite their setback in the duel, Donnie didn’t give up and led this team to victory with resiliency.” Donnie lives in Mooresville, North Carolina with his wife, Kim and two children, Erin and Coleman: