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Ex-crew chief Pemberton hired by JR Motorsports

September 15, 2012, Joe Menzer,

Organization looking to upgrade its teams competitive level in Nationwide Series

CHICAGO -- Ryan Pemberton has been hired by JR Motorsports in an attempt to upgrade the competitive level of the organization's teams in the Nationwide Series, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Thursday.

Earnhardt -- the Sprint Cup driver who doubles as co-owner of JR Motorsports along with his sister, Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, and his cousin, Tony Eury Jr. -- confirmed Pemberton's hiring during Chase Media Day at the House of Blues. He said Pemberton already is working with the company and indicated that he expected Pemberton to fill a similar role to the one vacated last week by Tony Eury Sr., who agreed to part ways after serving as competition director.

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"He started Monday," Earnhardt said. "He's come in to help Kelley sort of help us put some ideas on paper about what direction we can go to get better. We want to get better performance-wise. It's a very challenging position to be in that series, and we're just looking for him to come in there and give us some ideas on how to improve."

It has been more than two years since one of JR Motorsports' cars has won a race. The organization currently fields two full-time teams, with Cole Whitt's No. 88 Chevrolet team seventh in the Nationwide Series driver points and 12th in owner points and Danica Patrick's No. 7 Chevy team 11th in driver points and 17th in owner points.

Pemberton has served as a crew chief for several organizations since 1997 and most recently served in that role for Dave Blaney at Tommy Baldwin Racing, which has not yet named his replacement. Pemberton has been a winning crew chief twice in the Sprint Cup Series -- with driver Joe Nemechek at Kansas Speedway in 2004 and with driver Brian Vickers at Michigan in 2009 when Vickers and Pemberton were employed by Red Bull Racing.

Pemberton, 43, is the younger brother of Robin Pemberton, who is NASCAR's vice president of competition