Junior Nation's long national nightmare is over. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief for 2015 has been decided.
Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday that Greg Ives, the current crew chief for Chase Elliott in the Nationwide Series, would move up to the Sprint Cup Series and be Junior's crew chief in 2015.
Before the 2014 season began, Steve Letarte, Junior's current crew chief, announced he would move to NBC's broadcasting team for the 2015 season.
“Greg was our number-one choice,” HMS team owner Rick Hendrick said in a statement. “This is a talented guy who already has a terrific rapport with Dale Jr. and is a fit with the organization. He and (Jimmie Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus) had a lot of success together, and all of our crew chiefs think the world of him and what he’s accomplished. Greg’s proven that he can win races, and he has all the tools to do big things.”
Well there ya have it. Greg Ives will crew chief our #88 team next year. We couldn't be more excited to have him come on board.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 30, 2014
As happy as we are about putting the crew chief decision in the rear view, there's still a lot of season left. Races to try and win.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 30, 2014
In addition to being Hendrick's top choice, Ives makes perfect sense. He and Elliott have two wins in Elliott's rookie season in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, the team Earnhardt Jr. owns.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me and my family,” Ives said in a statement. “Dale Jr. and I have a great relationship from being in the same shop at Hendrick Motorsports and my time at JRM. We have a lot left to do this season in the Nationwide Series, but I’m excited about what’s ahead and look forward to sharing some wins with JR Nation in the future. I couldn’t ask for a better situation than working with one of the best drivers and teams in racing.”
Elliott is currently the Nationwide Series points leader. He's ahead of JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith by four points. Earnhardt Jr also has two wins this year in the Cup Series and is second in the Sprint Cup standings behind teammate Jeff Gordon.
Before becoming a crew chief at JR Motorsports in 2013, Ives was an engineer for Johnson since 2006. In his time with the No. 48 team, Johnson won five championships. The teams of Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. share the same shop at Hendrick Motorsports.
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