According to NASCAR, J.C. "Suitcase Jake" Elder, a longtime crew chief in the Cup Series, died Wednesday in Statesville, N.C. He was 73.
Elder was the crew chief for David Pearson's championship seasons of 1968 and '69. Elder, who led Dale Earnhardt to his first Cup Series victory on April 1, 1979, at Bristol, began the 1980 season as Earnhardt's crew chief before quitting in May; Earnhardt went on to win the title with crew chief Doug Richert.
Here's a statement from NASCAR: "J.C. “Suitcase Jake” Elder was one the first crew chiefs in NASCAR to achieve celebrity status with our fans. He was a pioneer in that regard, and his celebrity was well-deserved. He was truly one of the greatest crew chiefs of all-time, winning two championships with David Pearson. Our sport has lost one of its legends, with his passing.".