Ganassi tabs Matt McCall as new crew chief for Jamie McMurray

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Two days after the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing team and driver Ryan Newman finished one spot shy of winning the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title, Newman’s lead engineer has found a new home.

Matt McCall has been hired by Chip Ganassi Racing to serve as crew chief for its No. 1 team and driver Jamie McMurray next season.

“I am very excited to join the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team,” McCall said in a team release. “This organization is one that everyone in the garage has taken notice of in 2014 and I am just looking forward to the opportunity to make them even better.

“We have a group of very talented people building and driving the race cars here and I can’t wait to get started.”

McCall, a former driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series as well as a former champion in the World Karting Association dirt series, will assume his role with CGR effective immediately.

“We are very pleased to add a crew chief like Matt to what we feel is a team and program that is certainly on the rise and feel that he can take it to the next level,” team owner Chip Ganassi said.

“Matt brings a lot to the table that we are thrilled to have. He has been a successful race engineer for the No. 31 team and has the added experience of being a driver, which we feel will add to his success in leading the No. 1 team. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will mesh very well with Jamie and the whole team. We couldn’t be happier.”

As for now-former No. 1 crew chief Keith Rodden, it is believed that he is on his way back to Hendrick Motorsports. Prior to joining CGR, Rodden was lead engineer on Hendrick’s No. 5 team for Kasey Kahne.

CGR took a noticeable step forward in performance this past season, and it will be up to McCall to help continue that trend. However, McMurray himself had mixed fortunes.

He won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in May at Charlotte and improved over his 2013 results in both Top-5 (seven) and Top-10 finishes (13). But he also failed to make the Chase and slid back in the points standings from 15th in 2013 to 18th in 2014.

McMurray is optimistic that with McCall on his team, better results are on the way.

“I am really looking forward to 2015 and beginning to work with Matt,” said McMurray. “As a team, I think we will carry a lot of momentum into Daytona and the hiring of Matt will continue to move the program forward.”