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New crew chief named for Jamie McMurray

NASCAR.com

Earnhardt Ganassi Racing has hired longtime engineer Keith Rodden to be Jamie McMurray's crew chief for the organization's No. 1 Chevrolet team.

Rodden comes to EGR from Hendrick Motorsports, where he was the lead engineer on Kasey Kahne's No. 5 team. He also served as crew chief for three races in 2007 as a replacement for Kenny Francis.

"I am excited and appreciative for this opportunity and can't wait to be just a small piece of an excellent team that Earnhardt Ganassi Racing is building," Rodden said. "Chip (Ganassi) has quality people and is also building great race cars. This team has shown that they can win races and compete at the highest level of this sport and I look forward to working with Jamie and everyone on the team as we work to prepare for the 2014 season."

Rodden replaces Kevin Manion, who was at the helm of the No. 1 for four seasons. Manion won four races with McMurray, including the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in 2010. Manion and McMurray returned to Victory Lane this year in the fall at Talladega following winless seasons in 2011 and 2012.

Rodden, according to an EGR release, will assume the position immediately. 

"We are very happy to get a crew chief that is the caliber of Keith," said Ganassi, EGR's owner. "He brings a lot of great experience with him to our organization. We are building the foundation for what we believe will be long-term success in our NASCAR operation and Keith fits into those plans perfectly. I look forward to having him in the organization and leading the No. 1 team."

Before Hendrick, Rodden worked for Evernham Motorsports, Richard Petty Motorsports and Red Bull Racing in similar positions. He has 10 years of NASCAR experience.

McMurray will begin his 12th full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in 2014. He has seven career wins, 45 top-fives, 108 top-10s and nine poles in 402 starts.

Rodden's hire continues an EGR overhaul that was put in motion earlier this season when Ganassi announced that Juan Pablo Montoya would not return. Heralded rookie Kyle Larson will fill his seat in the No. 42 Chevrolet.

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