By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
With William Byron moving to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and the No. 24 team for Hendrick Motorsports in 2018, there was one piece of the puzzle missing. Who would be his crew chief for his upcoming rookie season?
On Wednesday, the mystery was solved as Darian Grubb, who currently returned to the pit box as crew chief for Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 team on an interim basis, was named as full-time crew chief for Byron next season.
Byron currently drives for Dale Earnhardt Jr’s NASCAR Xfinity Series team, JR Motorsports, and sits second in the points standings, having won three races this season.
“The opportunity to work with William and the No. 24 team is big,” said Grubb. “William is a phenomenal young driver and already a great communicator in the race car. I’m looking forward to building a strong relationship with him and working with Alan, Chad, Greg and all of our talented people. Everyone on the team will be committed to continuing the winning tradition of the No. 24.”
Grubb has been at Hendrick Motorsports for the majority of his professional career, first joining the organization in 2003 as a race engineer for Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 team. Grubb served in that role through the end of the 2006 season, even getting a promotion up to interim crew chief for four races in 2006, winning the Daytona 500 and at Las Vegas two weeks later.
Grubb moved over to Casey Mears’ team in 2007, leading his driver to a win in the Coca-Cola 600 before being named the engineering manager for the No. 5 and No. 88 teams the following season.
In 2009, Grubb left Hendrick to become crew chief for the No. 14 team at Stewart-Haas Racing, winning 11 races and the 2011 championship with Tony Stewart. He would move over to Joe Gibbs Racing from 2012 to 2015 to be crew chief for Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards, winning a total of nine races over those four seasons.
Grubb returned home to Hendrick in 2016 as the vehicle production director and was promoted to director of competition systems earlier this year before being named as interim crew chief for Kahne after the first race of playoffs.
“I have so much respect for Darian and everything he’s accomplished in this sport,” Byron said. “There aren’t many people with a résumé like his, and I will definitely tap into that knowledge from day one. He knows how to win races and win championships. To have that kind of person leading the No. 24 team gives me a ton of confidence about what we can all do together.”