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.