News & Media

JRM shakeup continues as Eury Jr. leaves team

September 17, 2012, David Caraviello,

No announcement on who will serve as Patrick's crew chief at Kentucky

The painful evolution of JR Motorsports continued Monday when the Nationwide Series team parted ways with Tony Eury Jr., who in addition to being crew chief on Danica Patrick's No. 7 car was also a part-owner in the organization.

The move comes 10 days after JRM severed ties with Tony Eury Sr., the operation's competition director and a veteran crew chief within the organization. That change was made in an attempt to alter the direction of what was once among the top teams on the Nationwide tour but now hasn't won a race in two years.

"Unfortunately, Tony Jr. is no longer with the company," team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said in a statement. "I had hoped he would be here for a long time, but as we've discussed the direction of JR Motorsports moving forward, it was clear our differences in ideas were too vast to overcome. I love him like a brother, and you'll never hear me say a bad thing about him. I know he'll have much success in anything he does going forward. As for our No. 7 team, no decision has been made on who will crew chief that team this weekend at Kentucky Speedway. We will discuss our options and make a decision very soon."

Last week, JRM hired veteran crew chief Ryan Pemberton, who most recently oversaw Dave Blaney's car at Tommy Baldwin Racing and who won races at the Sprint Cup level with Joe Nemechek and Brian Vickers. Earnhardt said prior to last week's Chase opener at Chicagoland that Pemberton would fill a role similar to the one vacated by Eury Sr.'s departure.

Eury Jr. leaves the team despite being a co-owner of the organization along with Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt Miller and Rick Hendrick. A three-time race winner at NASCAR's national levels, Eury has been on the box for all 51 of Patrick's Nationwide starts, including a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas last year that was the highest finish ever for a female driver in the sport's national division.

Nearing the end of her first full season on the Nationwide tour, Patrick stands 11th in points with a top finish of eighth, recorded at Texas in the spring. She finished 12th Saturday at Chicagoland in what proved her final race with Eury Jr. Patrick plans to move to Cup next season, when she will compete for Stewart-Haas Racing. Any Nationwide plans for next year have yet to be firmed up.

Patrick's teammate at JRM, rookie Cole Whitt, is seventh in points with 10 top-10 finishes this season. Although JRM has won nine times at the Nationwide level, the team hasn't scored a race victory since September 2010, when Cup regular Jamie McMurray prevailed at Atlanta driving the organization's No. 88 car.