Martin out, Wilson in as Harvick's crew chief

Jay Hart
Yahoo Sports

The game of crew-chief musical chairs continues as Richard Childress Racing announced Wednesday that Shane Wilson will replace Gil Martin as crew chief for Kevin Harvick next season.

"Kevin came to me after the Phoenix race a couple weeks ago and asked for a change in the leadership of his team for the 2012 season," said team owner Richard Childress. "The expectations at RCR are to win championships, so the decision was made to move Shane Wilson to the No. 29 Budweiser/Rheem/Jimmy John’s program."

The move doesn't come as a surprise, as Harvick said prior to last week's finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway that changes were likely on the way. Though Harvick did win four races and finished third in the standings for a second straight season, his team's performance had been off since July.

"I think if we had gone out and won a championship, you’d say you probably don't need to do anything," Harvick said last week. "But if we sit on our hands and don't evaluate everybody's position at this particular point, I think we'd be fools. I would anticipate some changes, yes."

This isn't the first time Wilson, who served as Clint Bowyer's crew chief the last three seasons, and Harvick have worked together. The two paired up in 2006 to win the Nationwide Series championship.

Martin will stay with the organization as director of team operations.

With RCR paring down to three cars in 2012, more changes are expected in "the coming weeks."

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