Sunday afternoon, crew chief Darian Grubb climbed on the pit box to make some of the most daring, strategy calls to help Tony Stewart win his third NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.
But did you know on Monday, he would be out of a job?
Gibbs was told before the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway by Stewart-Haas Racing that he would not be returning in 2012, even though the team would be adding a third car to the team.
At the early part of the year, I could have seen why he would be let go. Stewart limped into the Chase and didn’t appear to have enough fire to compete with Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch for the championship.
However, Stewart won the first two races of the Chase and suddenly steered the ship into the right direction.
Grubb could remain as the crew chief, move up to competition director or leave the organization. Stewart-Haas Racing has been without a competition director since the team released Bobby Hutchens in June. He and Stewart are good friends off the track, and we all know Stewart is good at separating business from his personal relationships.
Grubb was asked if it has been difficult not knowing who is going to fill the positions. “Definitely not,” he said. “We’ve still got the same goals we’ve always had that we want to go out and win the championship. Winning races is the way to do that. What we’ve done the last nine weeks, we’ve shown that we have the capability to do that. We’re almost 50-50 on that, so hopefully we can continue that streak and get it to be a 50% deal and win at Homestead.”
When asked in the media center about Grubb’s future, Stewart avoided the question and joked “In the immediate future,I’m going to get him drunk.” He would later talk regular owner language saying that there were many options to consider in the offseason.
Who knows, maybe Stewart and Grubb will meet soon and Grubb will be able to stay with the team and defend their title. Perhaps Stewart will look in another direction and try to go back to back with a new crew chief. Either way, Grubb will not be out of work for long. There aren’t many crew chiefs in the NASCAR circuit who have a Sprint Cup on their resume.