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Veteran crew chief Ernie Cope Joins JRM

NASCAR.com

Ernie Cope has joined JR Motorsports to serve as the crew chief for the team's No. 5 Nationwide Series entry.

The No. 5 will feature a strong cast of Sprint Cup Series regulars in the driver's seat: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne.

Cope, 44, served as the crew chief in the Nationwide Series for 29 races with Richard Childress Racing last season. He guided both Harvick (Atlanta) and Tony Stewart (Daytona) to wins in 2013 Nationwide events.

For his career, Cope has been the winning crew chief for nine Nationwide Series races in eight years.

Cope has a long history with Harvick as eight of those wins have come with Harvick as the driver. He also worked for Harvick at Kevin Harvick Inc. as crew chief from 2008 to 2011. He has spent two seasons with RCR.

Harvick is scheduled to run in at least 12 Nationwide races with JR Motorsports, beginning with the March 1 event at Phoenix. Earnhardt Jr., the owner of the team, will be in the car for the Nationwide events at Daytona (Feb. 22) and Las Vegas (March 8).

Last season, Mike Bumgarner served as the crew chief for the team, which saw seven drivers take turns as the pilot of the No. 5 car. Bumgarner will remain with the team, according to a release from JR Motorsports.

Brad Sweet
drove the No. 5 for 17 races, Kahne for 11 races, Jimmie Johnson, Ron Fellows, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Jamie McMurray and Johnny O'Connell each drove the car for one race. The No. 5 car has three top-fives (all by Kahne) and 12 top-10 finishes in 2013.

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