How does one assess Joe Gibbs Racing’s 2014 season?
On one hand, Denny Hamlin nearly won the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship for them. But on the other, they only got two victories last year – Kyle Busch at Fontana, followed by Hamlin’s own at Talladega in the spring.
Perhaps with the latter issue weighing most heavily, JGR has opted to shuffle its crew chiefs for 2015. As part of that series of moves, Hamlin’s old CC, Darian Grubb (pictured, right), is now joining the team’s new No. 19 program as CC for Carl Edwards (pictured, left).
There’s plenty of intrigue surrounding JGR in its expansion to a four-car operation. With the CC shake-up, the team has shown that it won’t settle for mediocre performance. And Edwards is surely hungry to contend for a title after seeing his former Roush Fenway Racing team decline in recent years.
If he is to contend, he’ll need to have a good relationship with Grubb, who won the Cup as CC for Tony Stewart in 2011.
The driver that Grubb and Stewart beat that year? None other than ‘Cousin Carl’ himself. And on a tiebreaker, no less.
Today on NASCAR AMERICA, Grubb told NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast that he and Edwards have gotten along well early on in their partnership. The pairing officially got started with last month’s Goodyear tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Luckily, we’ve known each other for a while,” Grubb explained. “Our kids are about the same age, so we spend a lot of time in the motorhome lot and on the playground. I feel pretty comfortable with him already. He’s really got a good personality, so it’s pretty easy to talk to him. We’ve learned a lot [from each other] already.”
For more of Grubb’s thoughts on working with Edwards and having to start with a new team after almost winning the 2014 title with Hamlin and the No. 11 squad, check out his full interview above.