AJ Allmendinger will have new crew chief in 2016

From The Marbles

Randall Burnett will be AJ Allmendinger's crew chief in 2016.

JTG-Daugherty Racing announced Thursday that Burnett, a former engineer for Kyle Larson's team, would be the new crew chief for the No. 47. Brian Burns was previously Allmendinger's crew chief.

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“This came together quickly,” Burnett said in a team statement. “When I met with AJ and [team co-owner Tad Geschickter], we just hit it off and I’ve always wanted to help a team grow into something bigger. There are a lot of good people here and some of which I’ve worked with before. I know the quality of work they do and the level they hold themselves to bringing a lot of good things to the company. Also, working with AJ is going to be exciting for me. We kind of grew up with the same background. AJ obviously has a tremendous amount of talent and is very passionate and very vocal about his passion.”

The team also announced the addition of Ernie Cope as competition director. Cope has served as the crew chief for Chase Elliott in the Xfinity Series for the past two seasons. Elliott is moving to the Sprint Cup Series in 2016 to replace Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 car.

“I worked for JTG Daugherty Racing years ago and when I left, Tad and I stayed in close contact because we knew we would eventually end up back together when the time was right,” Cope said. “In between there, it worked out good because I got a lot of experience with big teams, won a lot of races and learned things that will help us here. I see the atmosphere that Tad has built and I wanted to be a part of that. We’ve got a good group of people and I think if we put the whole package together for AJ, he will go out there and compete on a weekly basis. I honestly think he is a top top-10 driver.”

Allmendinger made the Chase in 2014 but was eliminated in the first round and finished 13th in the standings. He fell nine spots to 22nd in 2015 and his average finish per race was nearly three spots lower. JTG-Daugherty, along with Germain Racing, has a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.

The team announced in May that Allmendinger had signed a five-year extension.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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