Darian Grubb has been hired by Joe Gibbs Racing to be the crew chief for the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry driven by Denny Hamlin. On Friday, Joe Gibbs Racing had a teleconference with Grubb and Team President, J.D. Gibbs about the new move.
Before making the decision to stay as a crew chief or take the management role overseeing engineering with some team, much like the one he was offered by Hendrick Motorsports. Grubb ultimately chose to remain a crew chief for family reasons. He figured he would stay atop the pit box for at least four more years, until his son began to play T-Ball and soccer.
“Right now, I still have that competitive fire in me,” he said. “I feel like if I’m not in that position on top of the box being able to make those calls and seat-of-the-pants decisions, then I’d really be missing out on something. I want to continue that.”
After deciding that he wanted to stick with being a crew chief, he had an important to question to ask himself: Where?
Upon meeting with Joe Gibbs Racing, he found the organization had many resources and much enthusiasm about his possible arrival, so he eventually chose to go there and became Denny Hamlin’s crew chief.
During a teleconference on Friday afternoon, Team President J.D. Gibbs said JGR was already leaning toward parting ways with Mike Ford when Grubb became available, but he wasn’t clear on how closely the two moves were linked.
Grubb presented a better “long-term” fit for the organization, Gibbs said.
Grubb said his motivation for the next few seasons came from wanting to win a championship with Hamlin – not to prove Tony Stewart made a mistake by firing him.
“I didn’t choose to not be a crew chief with the situation I was in before,” he said. “I really don’t feel like I have anything to prove … I’m not going to do anything for spite, because those are all the wrong reasons. I want to do it because I want to win a championship with those guys.”
Gibbs ducked a question when asked by a reporter whether JGR was done with crew chief changes for this offseason or whether there would be more. The query was made because rumors persist about No. 20 team crew chief Greg Zipadelli trying to get his release from JGR to join Stewart-Haas as its competition director.
“This is all we’re really focused on right now,” Gibbs said. “I’m sure we’ll have other discussions in the future, which we do every year. But right now, this is all we’re looking at.”
Gibbs also said Ford had been granted his release from JGR and was free to look for other jobs.