Former Backseat Driver Thriving as NASCAR Consultant

Former Backseat Driver Thriving as NASCAR Consultant

DAYTONA BEACH - After raising three kids as a stay-at-home dad and supporting a family, Paul Westfall is no stranger to tackling new challenges.

But advising high-speed NASCAR drivers on proper driving mechanics? 

Well, that’s just another day at the office. 

“I’d be lying to you if I said this was the hardest thing I’d ever done,” Westfall said in an interview with EOTB after his “client,” Hendrik Motorsports’ own Chase Elliot, finished first at the Nashville Superspeedway ALLY 400 last weekend. 

Westfall, who is in his first year as a consultant for Hendrick Motorsports on the NASCAR circuit, was found by Elliot late last year after the No. 9 driver broke down on the side of the road with a flat tire in his home state of Georgia.

Without cell phone reception or a garage anywhere in sight, Elliot thought he was about to be stranded.

Then out of nowhere, came Paul.

“He just kind of happened to be driving along and saw me broken down,” Elliot told EOTB. “He fixed the tire and told me like 30 things I needed to be doing or thinking about while driving. That’s when I knew I needed him on our team.”

Elliot made a call and the next day, Hendrick offered the father of three the chance of a lifetime. 

Westfall happily obliged.

“I thought to myself, ‘I got three kids through driver’s ed in the ole’ Camry, how hard could this be?’” Westfall said.

Fast forward nearly a year, and the Daytona Beach native is now heavily involved in every race day decision, right alongside Elliot’s crew chief Alan Gustafson.

“I appreciate that Chase is willing to listen to different perspectives in hopes of helping our team improve,” Gustafson said through his teeth. 

According to Elliot, Westfall’s impact was almost immediate.

“Every green light, he tells me exactly when to go. Even if I have already shifted my foot to the accelerator to do so, he gives me that extra confidence to just GO” Elliot said. “I have never been quicker off the line or more ready to race in my life.”

Despite his newfound fame, Westfall’s biggest fans will always be at home and away from the race track, namely his children David (27), Olivia (22), and Martha (16).

“We’re just so glad Dad is out of the house and now able to teach someone else how to drive,” Olivia said. “Like so, so, so, glad.”

Elliot and Westfall will take their momentum and lead Hendrick Motorsports to Pocono this weekend, where the team looks to extend its’ five-race win streak.
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