By AMANDA VINCENT
Motorsport.com reported recently that a game of crew chief musical chairs is going on at Joe Gibbs Racing in preparation for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. No official announcement has been made by JGR, yet, regarding personnel changes.
The Motorsport.com report has Darian Grubb, most recently the crew chief for Carl Edwards on the No. 19 Toyota team the odd man out, so to speak. The 2015 season was the first year for the No. 19 team and Edwards’ first year at the Gibbs organization after moving over from Roush Fenway Racing. Prior to the addition of the No. 19 team, Grubb worked with Denny Hamlin on JGR’s No. 11 Toyota team since joining Joe Gibbs Racing after being relieved of crew chief duties on Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet team at the end of that team’s championship season of 2011.
If the Motorsport.com article is correct, for the second time, the No. 19 team will get a crew chief from the No. 11 team. Dave Rogers, the crew chief for Hamlin in 2015, is expected to replace Grubb atop the No. 19 pit box next year. Meanwhile, Mike Wheeler is said to be moving from his position as race engineer to crew chief on the No. 11 team.
A separate Motorsport.com article stated that Edwards wouldn’t “speculate on a successor.” But it seems he also didn’t confirm Grubbs departure.
“Coach Gibbs is the man when it comes to putting the right people in the right places,” Edwards was quoted as saying. “Whatever plan he comes up with, and when it’s time to lay it out, he will. Until then, it’s in Coach’s hands.”
There is no talk of moving Adam Stevens, crew chief on the No. 18 Toyota team of 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch or Jason Ratcliff, crew chief on the No. 20 Toyota team of Matt Kenseth, for the 2016 season.
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