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McGrew named full-time crew chief for Earnhardt

Hendrick Motorsports names Lance McGrew as full-time crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and team owner Rick Hendrick both gave crew chief Lance McGrew a vote of confidence Friday in naming McGrew full-time crew chief for Earnhardt's #88 Chevrolet.

McGrew has filled the position since late May, when he took over for Earnhardt's long-time crew chief and cousin, Tony Eury Jr., before the spring race at Dover International Speedway. Since then, Earnhardt's best finishes have been third at Michigan (Aug. 16) and ninth at Bristol (Aug. 22).

The #88 Chevy, however, has shown impressive speed in a number of events, only to have late-race accidents or handling issues deprive the team of top-ten finishes. Earnhardt led 41 laps Oct. 4 at Kansas Speedway before an engine failure dropped him to 36th.

Despite the recent ill fortune, Earnhardt spoke of his alliance with McGrew with optimism.

"I see myself - without looking at the statistics and luck that we have had lately - I can see a lot of improvements in the team and I can see the impact that Lance is making," Earnhardt said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, a track where he has claimed five of his 18 victories. I'm really excited about his chance for me and him to understand what our future is and see how we can improve upon that by being given the opportunity to work together and know we are going to work together."

McGrew isn't one to seek the limelight, but Earnhardt said he didn't have to persuade McGrew to make the move to full-time crew-chief status.

"I didn't convince Lance," Earnhardt said. "I think Lance sees a good race team in front of him. He tells me sincerely that he believes in my talent as a driver and feels like, with the right situation, that we can have a lot of success. Being a crew chief is a very, very tough job and very thankless. Lance understands that as well as anyone. I feel confident that he can handle the pressures of the job, and I feel confident with him on the box. I feel like he is going to make the right calls."

McGrew shares Earnhardt's positive outlook.

"(I'm) given this kind this kind of opportunity to work with Junior, to work for the best organisation - the best racing organisation, in my opinion, in the world - and there are four crew chiefs that get the opportunity to do that. I am lucky enough to be one of them. We have 550 teammates at Hendrick Motorsports bleeding sweat to make this #88 team run as successfully as it is supposed to be running.

"We're heading (in) that direction. This is kind of the time of the year where everybody is looking for direction and hoping you can get a lot of momentum at the end of the season. That's kind of what we are trying to do by setting the record down that I am going to be with the team next year and getting everybody pulling in the same direction."

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News



Related Pictures

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Dale Earnhardt Jr and new crew chief Lance McGrew   [pic credit: NASCAR/Getty]
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finished 7th Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Earnhardt Jr. is 4th, Gordon is 1st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammate Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS won. (Photo Credit: HHP/Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS finished 1st, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS finished 37th Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick  is 22nd, Kahne is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd.(Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS celebrates his win Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick is 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. (Photo Credit: HHP/Tami Kelly-Pope for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS celebrates his win Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick is 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. (Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, crashes early in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS races to a third-place finish Sunday, March 30, 2014 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Racing Chevrolet SS won the race and Jimmie Johnson driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finished second. (Photo by HHP/Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS qualified 15th Friday, March 21, 2014 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Earnhardt, Jr. is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS finished 8th and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 24th Sunday, March 16, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Kahne is 11th, Earnhardt, Jr. is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevrolet, leads Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevrolet, leads Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, races to the chequered flag to win the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane with the the Harley J. Earl trophy after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, February 23, 2014, winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left), driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with Hendrick Racing teammate Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet SS, Sunday, February 23, 2014, after winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. It is Earnhardt Jr.`s second Daytona 500 victory. (Photo Credit: HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

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