Obviously blood isn't thicker than results. About a week after Tony Eury Sr. was let go as the Competition Director at JR Motorsports (JRM), Tony Eury Jr. has also departed from JRM. Eury Sr. is Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s uncle and Eury Jr. is Earnhardt's cousin.
Eury Jr. was Danica Patrick's crew chief on her #7 Nationwide car and it's been reported that he will be replaced by Ryan Pemberton (source - JR Motorsports). Pemberton was hired last week to replace Eury Sr. as Competition Director. Said Eury Jr.: "They're trying to fix the competition of the cars. They thought they could do better without me there. They hired Ryan and Ryan's their guy." (Source - KITV)
JRM has not won a race in the Nationwide series in over two years and their effort so far this year has been dismal. The young Cole Whitt driving the #88 Chevrolet as a rookie in the series is seventh in Nationwide point standings. Whitt had some success earlier in the year with six Top 10s and three top fives in the first 14 events of the year, holding down a top five spot in points at that juncture. But they've slumped with six finishes out of the Top 10 over the last eight races. Eury Sr. was the 21 year old Whitt's crew chief for the first five races of the year before being replaced by Bruce Cook.
Though not technically a rookie, Patrick is running her first full schedule in NASCAR Nationwide this year with the #7 Chevrolet and Eury Jr. on board as crew chief. The team started off with a pole at Daytona but except for a few instances, Patrick's car has done poorly. In fact, she doesn't have a single top five and only two Top 10s so far this year. Performance from the car and team has been bad but it should also be pointed out that Patrick has crashed several times this season. In their last endeavor together at Chicagoland this past weekend, Patrick with Eury Jr. finished 12th.
The 30 year old Patrick will be moving on to Sprint Cup full-time in 2013, driving for Stewart-Haas. She has driven six races this year in Cup with no finishes anywhere near the top 20.
Pressure of money?
As a fan and a marketer, I know money is what drives the sport but it's hard not to consider the fact Patrick has done so poorly, even with all the riches that a sponsor like GoDaddy brings to the table. Whether that has anything to do with the Eurys being unexpectedly removed with two months to go in the season is hard to tell for sure. But if you're willing to get rid of family, the pressure to perform for the sponsors must be intense.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had nothing but good things to say about Eury Jr., simply stating: "I love him like a brother, and you'll never hear me say a bad thing about him." Eury Jr. was Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief for several seasons during his Cup career. Eury Sr. was also a crew chief for Earnhardt Jr. for about five years in Cup.
There's no word on where either Eury might go or what their future holds. But there is an odd twist to this story. Kelley Earnhardt Miller, Dale Jr.'s sister and Rick Hendrick co-own JR Motorsports with Dale Jr. .... and Tony Eury Jr. Although Eury Jr. was let go from his job at JR Motorsports, he still owns a part of the company. Yes, Tony Eury Jr. was fired from his own company.
Resources - Yahoo! Sports, Racing Reference, JR Motorsports
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
- Motor Racing
- Sports & Recreation
- JR Motorsports
- Danica Patrick