We’re just a week into the NASCAR off-season and the changes are coming fast and heavy.
The shoe hasn’t dropped everywhere just yet, but so far Roush Fenway has undertaken a massive layoff that we’ve heard was as many as 125 employees. This included many long-time Roush employees. What’s loyalty worth in this sport?
Yesterday, we heard there were layoffs at Turner Motorsports with more potentially on the way. Red Bull Racing has vowed to keep its people through the end of next week, but after that many more will join the unemployment line. We’ll see if anymore follow.
Crew Chief Changes
You win the championship, so what next? How about a crew chief change? That’s what Tony Stewart did Monday, booting Darian Grubb in favor of Steve Addington. Never mind it was Grubb’s call that put Stewart in a position to win the championship, and his leadership that helped the owner-driver to 11 wins, 33 top-fives, 59 top tens and three straight Chase appearances since 2009. Who wouldn’t have made a change, right?
Up at Richard Childress Racing, longtime Roush Fenway crew chief Drew Blickensderfer replaced Luke Lambert on top of the box for Jeff Burton. Lambert took over on an interim basis after the team released Todd Berrier earlier in the season. Blickensderfer has made the rounds through RFR including most recently as David Ragan’s Cup Series crew chief.
NASCAR Fines A Busch
Fining the Busch brothers is quickly becoming a favorite past time down in Daytona. After elder brother Kurt’s profanity laced tirade to an ESPN crew, NASCAR’s $50,000 penalty was probably warranted (here is the link to the video – fair warning there is language).
NASCAR though drew a line in the sand – it’s OK to physically go after Joe Menzer, which Busch did just a couple of months ago, but do not direct profanity at Dr. Jerry Punch. In the future, Busch would be well suited to remember this simple mnemonic device: mess with Menzer, but don’t pull any Punchs.
Another handy tip would be to not attack media members, verbally or otherwise, when there are video cameras around.