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'SMOKE' MAKES IT OFFICIAL...GRUBB WILL BE CREW CHIEF

RICHMOND, Va. -- Stewart-Haas Racing has signed Darian Grubb to a multi-year contract to serve as crew chief for driver/owner Tony Stewart and the No. 14 Chevrolet upon the conclusion of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season, team officials announced Friday at Richmond International Raceway.

A 32-year-old from Floyd, Va., Grubb comes to Stewart-Haas Racing from Hendrick Motorsports, where in six years since joining the multi-car organization, he rose from team engineer with the No. 48 Sprint Cup squad in 2003 to Hendrick Motorsports' engineering manager for the Nos. 5 and 88 Sprint Cup teams. Grubb also has extensive experience in the role of crew chief, as he served as the interim crew chief for the No. 48 team during the first four races of the 2006 season, where he led driver Jimmie Johnson to a pair of victories -- including the Daytona 500 -- as well as one runner-up finish and a sixth-place effort. Johnson went on to win the championship in 2006.

Grubb also spent the entire 2007 season as crew chief for Casey Mears, leading the young driver to his first career series win in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The duo also earned a pole at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., and racked up five top-five and 10 top-10 results to record a solid top-15 finish in the season-ending point standings.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for me to not only work with a driver of Tony's caliber, but to help build an organization into one that can win races and eventually contend for championships," said Grubb, a 1998 graduate of Virginia Tech where he earned a mechanical engineering degree in a co-op program with Volvo Trucks and General Motors. "I'm honored to join Tony and the Stewart-Haas organization. I'm really excited about taking this next step and I feel it's a challenge I'm ready for."

Grubb's early success as a crew chief caught Stewart's eye long before Stewart-Haas Racing was even an option for the two-time Sprint Cup champion.

"Darian is incredibly smart and ultra-competitive, and I saw that firsthand when he took the reins of the 48 team and won the Daytona 500 right out of the box with them and again at Las Vegas," Stewart said. "He's exactly what we need for the success we want to attain as a company, but he's also exactly what I need in a crew chief. He's thorough, he's confident and he's not afraid to tell me what I need to hear. As a driver, that's who I need on top of my pit box, and as an owner, that's who I need on our race team."

Grubb's ascension to Stewart's Sprint Cup crew chief began as a teenager working on Late Model stock cars that competed at tracks throughout Virginia and the Carolinas.

After graduating from Floyd County High School in 1993, Grubb attended Virginia Tech, and with his mechanical engineering degree in hand, joined Volvo Trucks as a design engineer in 1998.

While he had a mainstream job, racing was still a big part of Grubb's life. His first stint atop the pit box came in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, where in 1998 he guided Jeff Agnew to the series' rookie of the year title and season championship.

Grubb spent another year with Agnew in Hooters Pro Cup before joining Petty Enterprises in 2000, where he helped the legendary team develop the Dodge Intrepid. Grubb also served as the shock specialist and team engineer with the No. 43 team and driver John Andretti through the 2002 season.

In 2003, Grubb joined Hendrick Motorsports as engineer for the No. 48 team under the direction of crew chief Chad Knaus and team manager Brian Whitesell. Grubb remained in this capacity before being promoted to lead engineer for the Nos. 24 and 48 teams in 2005. He became Hendrick Motorsports' lead race engineer in 2006 while simultaneously serving as the No. 48 team's race day engineer, where he helped the team earn five wins, one pole, 13 top-five finishes and a series-best 24 top-10 results en route to the first of the team's back-to-back championships. - shr pr



 

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Posted on Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:37 am by CaptainThunder

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