Crew chief changes on the way at Joe Gibbs Racing

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A fourth Sprint Cup team at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2015 will also bring about a shuffle in the team’s roster of crew chiefs.

Today at JGR, team owner Joe Gibbs confirmed that the team has already decided on which CCs will be paired up with drivers Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and the incoming Carl Edwards.

However, Gibbs held off on announcing those details, instead saying that they will emerge within the next couple of weeks.

As of now, Kenseth is guided by Jason Ratcliff; Hamlin by Darian Grubb; and Busch by Dave Rogers.

Grubb recently returned to Hamlin’s pit box following a six-race suspension due to penalties from the Brickyard 400 in July, while Busch and Rogers are trying to move forward following their radio blow-up at Bristol.

The Busch-Rogers tandem has been in place since 2010, while Hamlin and Grubb have been together since 2012. Kenseth and Ratcliff joined forces when the former migrated from Roush Fenway Racing to JGR in 2013.

“The drivers have strong feelings who they think they match up with,” Gibbs said according to Bob Pockrass of the Sporting News. “You’ve got the crew chiefs, you’ve got the drivers and then all the rest of us are trying to work through that [to make the decision].

“The drivers run the show. They make all the money. One thing’s for sure — in 22 years [I’ve been an owner], you see that drivers have got to believe in that crew chief and the crew chief has got to believe in the driver. Over the years, that’s a very hard thing to keep together.”

One thing to bear in mind is that the changes could yield a promotion for Adam Stevens, who serves as CC for JGR’s No. 54 Nationwide Series program.

Stevens has helped the No. 54 earn four Nationwide wins this year – three with Busch, one with Sam Hornish Jr. – and has earned 16 of his 28 Nationwide wins overall with Busch behind the wheel.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.