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Manion named crew chief for Michael Annett

January 22, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com

Kevin Manion

Veteran had led Jamie McMurray's team for past four years

RELATED: 2014 Sprint Cup Series Driver Tracker

Tommy Baldwin Racing hired a new a driver in Michael Annett to power the team's No. 7 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year. Now it has a new crew chief as well.

Kevin Manion will lead the No. 7 operation this year, replacing Tommy Baldwin Jr. -- who is also the team owner. Manion served as Jamie McMurray's crew chief in the No. 1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing entry for the past four years. He became available when EGR hired Keith Rodden as McMurray's crew chief in the offseason.

"Our original plan was for me to be the crew chief, but when the opportunity to hire (Manion) came along, it's the right fit," Baldwin said in a team release. "I can concentrate more on making our business and competition relationships stronger. I can take a look from the top of hill rather than in the trenches."

While Annett is a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate with zero career Cup starts, Manion has called 283 Sprint Cup races. He has five career wins, four of which came with McMurray (the other was with Martin Truex Jr. in 2007).

Annett, meanwhile, has seven top-fives and 34 top-10s in 163 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts. He finished fifth in the final 2012 points standings and missed eight races in 2013 after breaking his sternum in a season-opening race wreck.

"I'm excited to have (Manion) as my crew chief," Annett said in the release. "He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and winning resume with him to TBR. (Manion) being hired by TBR is a great testament of Tommy's leadership ability and surrounding this company with the talent (Manion) brings to the team. We have some great things ahead of us and I'm excited where this organization is headed." 

The team is scheduled to test from Feb. 5-6 at Talladega Superspeedway.

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