Darian Grubb named crew chief for William Byron; Hendrick’s ’18 lineup set

Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports

Veteran crew chief Darian Grubb will remain on the pit box full time in 2018. Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday Grubb will serve as crew chief for William Byron and the No. 24 team beginning next year, which completes the 2018 lineup for the four-car operation.

Grubb currently is crew chief of Kasey Kahne’s No. 5 team, a position he has held since Sept. 18, 2017, when he took over for Keith Rodden. Grubb, 42, won the 2011 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship with Tony Stewart. He has 23 wins in NASCAR’s top series.

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“This is our last major piece of the puzzle for next season,” team owner Rick Hendrick said in a press release. “Darian is an all-around terrific person and a proven winner. The experience and leadership he brings will be a difference-maker for William and everyone on the team. He has a clear vision for the future and already is plugged in with our other crew chiefs. He’s a great fit.”

Hendrick Motorsports’ 2018 lineup is now complete with Wednesday’s news. The rest of the four-car lineup is Chase Elliott-Alan Gustafson in the No. 9; Jimmie Johnson-Chad Knaus in the No. 48; and Alex Bowman-Greg Ives in the No. 88.

Byron, currently competing for a championship in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, was signed by Hendrick as a developmental driver in 2016. His ascension to NASCAR’s top level has been swift, with one full-time season in both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (seven wins in 2016) and NASCAR XFINITY Series (three wins so far in 2017) under his belt.

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“I have so much respect for Darian and everything he’s accomplished in this sport,” Byron said. “There aren’t many people with a résumé like his, and I will definitely tap into that knowledge from day one. He knows how to win races and win championships. To have that kind of person leading the No. 24 team gives me a ton of confidence about what we can all do together.”

Grubb originally joined Hendrick Motorsports in January 2003 and served as the lead race engineer for the No. 48 Chevrolet and driver Johnson from 2003-2006, including four races as interim crew chief during the team’s 2006 championship season.

In 2009, Grubb moved into a crew chief role at Stewart-Haas Racing and then joined Joe Gibbs Racing, winning nine races from 2012-2015 as crew chief for drivers Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards. Grubb rejoined Hendrick Motorsports in January 2016 to oversee race car manufacturing as vehicle production director and was recently promoted to director of competition systems.

“The opportunity to work with William and the No. 24 team is big,” Grubb said. “William is a phenomenal young driver and already a great communicator in the race car. I’m looking forward to building a strong relationship with him and working with Alan, Chad, Greg and all of our talented people. Everyone on the team will be committed to continuing the winning tradition of the No. 24.”

PHOTOS: History of the 24 car