Eric Phillips, all-time wins leader among Truck Series crew chiefs, going to JGR

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The all-time wins leader among crew chiefs in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history is heading for a new home.

Kyle Busch Motorsports crew chief Eric Phillips, who has earned 36 victories in the Truck Series (21 of them working with Busch himself), told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio on Monday that he’ll be going to Joe Gibbs Racing at season’s end to work in an as-of-now undefined position.

“I’m gonna be moving on, I’m gonna go to JGR at the end of the year,” Phillips said. “I can’t talk about what all’s going to take place there but I’m excited about that. Obviously, it’s a big deal to leave KBM, but I’m looking forward to what JGR brings next year.

“Excited about it and a little bothered by it, I guess. I put a lot of work and effort into KBM. There wasn’t anything here when I started so the last five years have been a lot of effort to get the company the achievements that we’ve had over the last five years.”

Phillips served as crew chief for NASCAR on NBC analyst Parker Kligerman in KBM’s Nationwide Series program last year. When KBM was forced to shut that program down and focus solely on its two-team program in the Truck Series, Phillips said he was asked by Busch to help on the latter effort.

While wanting to continue on the Nationwide circuit, he ultimately decided to stay with the KBM Truck team to take care of, in his words, “unfinished business.”

He feels that has been accomplished, and with two races remaining on the 2014 Truck schedule, Phillips intends to focus on finishing his tenure with KBM strong.

“We’ve got two more races that we’d like to win – at least one more, if not two more – and get that owner’s championship locked up,” he said.

KBM’s No. 51 Toyota Tundra holds a 12-point lead in that particular title race over the No. 88 Toyota from ThorSport Racing.

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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