Veteran pit crew coach Lance Munksgard leaves Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR

2 Comments

One of the most effective and successful pit crew coaches in the business has not only left Hendrick Motorsports, he’s also left NASCAR.

Lance Munksgard, who had served as coach for the pit crews of both Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. since November 2011, has relocated to Texas to work in a family member’s business, according to MRN.com.

Munksgard’s last race with HMS was two weeks ago at Darlington, where Earnhardt finished second and Johnson was third to race winner Kevin Harvick.

Greg Morin, Munksgard’s counterpart for the teams of Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon, and Chris Krieg, who had been Munksgard’s assistant, will oversee the pit crews of the No. 48 and 88 on an interim basis until a replacement for Munksgard can be hired.

According to PitTalks.com, Munksgard’s career began as a tire carrier in 2002 and became a full-time pit crew coach the following year. Among his stops prior to HMS were with Michael Waltrip Racing and the now-defunct Red Bull Racing.

During his career, Munksgard was a part of teams that won 19 Sprint Cup races, a Pit Crew Challenge championship, Daytona 500 wins in 2013 with Johnson and this year with Earnhardt, and was also a key member of Johnson’s sixth Cup championship team last season.

“I was blessed to have been able to live a dream of working with the best mechanics and pit crew members in NASCAR over the years, which was an unforgettable experience,” Munksgard told PitTalks.com. “I couldn’t have asked for a better organization than HMS to finish my NASCAR career.

“HMS is a truly professional company that starts from Mr. Hendrick down through the management, crew chiefs, and through the pit crews. It was a true pleasure to work with a strong coaching staff and pit crew members at HMS and watch them progress each week. I will truly miss the competition on pit road each week and wish all the guys on pit road the best of luck.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

 

Social roundup: Racing world largely outraged by Verstappen penalty

1 Comment

The discussion over Max Verstappen’s post-race five-second time penalty assessed in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix, issued when he tried to the inside of Kimi Raikkonen at the Turns 16, 17 and 18 carousel complex at Circuit of The Americas, will roll on far beyond today.

The debate today largely centered over consistency in adjudication and application of the rules, track limits themselves (always a sore subject at COTA given its wide runoff areas) or whether there should be permanent stewards.

In the immediate aftermath, though, Twitter lit up with outrage over Verstappen being assessed a five-second post-race time penalty.

Here’s a mere sampling of the reaction, below.