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Matt Borland  

Matt Borland already has established himself as one of the top crew chiefs in NASCAR Winston Cup, even though 2002 was his first full season in stock-car racing's top series.

Borland didn't do it the traditional way, either. He didn't work on cars behind his house growing up, get a job sweeping floors, and then work as a fabricator before moving up.No, Borland is quite the opposite of a shade-tree mechanic. He graduated from the General Motors Institute in Flint, Mich. with an mechanical engineering degree. He worked with GM on suspension design for its off-road truck program, worked for a company called Pi Research doing racing simulation programs, and then served as an engineer for the Pac West Racing team in CART.

He joined Penske Racing South in 1999 as a "design/simulation engineer" in 1999 before being named Ryan Newman's crew chief.

Borland and Newman have hit it off, as Newman has two victories in his brief career. The engineering graduates have set a standard for others to follow in their approach to NASCAR, and Lee Montgomery sat down with Borland recently to talk about that approach.

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