MONROE, La. – Much like his late cousin Jason Johnson, Philip Dietz is building a legacy in sprint car racing that will soon stand the test of time.
At 36 years old, Dietz is already one of the most respected and revered crew chiefs in the sport, and he’s got the accomplishments to back that up.
After all, it’s no fluke to become a two-time Knoxville Nationals champion and two-time Crew Chief of the Year with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
On top of that, last summer he became the first crew chief since Karl Kinser to win back-to-back Outlaw races with different drivers.
Do you need more evidence? With their victory last weekend, Dietz extended his incredible streak to World of Outlaws wins with five different drivers in the last three years.
Since 2018, Dietz has racked up 24 Outlaw wins with Jason Johnson, David Gravel, Parker Price-Miller, Shane Stewart, and Carson Macedo all at the wheel.
“It’s pretty cool, man,” Dietz said of his latest accomplishment. “They’re all great drivers to start. Each one of them had an Outlaw win prior to me working with them, so they all had the experience and talent. Obviously, if I could go back in time and change things, I would much rather have Jason here today, which would change the whole scenario.”
Born in Eunice, La., some of Dietz’s earliest memories are racing go-karts in the backyard on a track that Jason’s grandfather built. His family relocated to Dallas in 1994 and the pair were separated, but not for long.
As a high schooler, Philip traveled to races and slept on the floor just to have the opportunity to go racing with Jason.
Highly successful modern day crew chief with the World of Outlaws wasn’t always the plan, but life has a funny way of working itself out. Dietz graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Mechanical Engineering degree.
He’s never worked a “real job,” but his path through college opened avenues to Kasey Kahne Racing and ultimately back home to Jason Johnson Racing.
“I do feel like I have an advantage,” Dietz noted on his education. “All of the different courses from dynamics to statics to kinematics, it’s all about things you can apply to race cars. It’s given me a better understanding of spring rates, dampening, downforce with the wing, and so much more.
“No doubt it has played a role in me understanding the mechanics of the car, but also being able to make the best educated guess as far as making a change to get even better.”
Through 2010-11, Dietz worked alongside Brad Sweet and Kasey Kahne before an opportunity to re-align with Jason came about. They enjoyed their dominant days together with multiple ASCS National Tour championships before going on the road full-time with the World of Outlaws in 2016.
Dietz and Johnson collected 10 wins, 56 top fives and 116 top tens over a three-year stretch on tour before Jason’s tragic passing on June 23, 2018.
“Our long term goal now would be to win a World of Outlaws championship,” Deitz said on looking ahead. “I know that was one of Jason’s biggest goals he had when he was here. Unfortunately, we’re having to move on without him, but that’s still my goal: win a championship for Jason Johnson Racing.
“We’re gonna do the best we can to make that happen.”
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