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Ex-Biffle chief moves to Richard Petty Motorsports
19 July 2011
Greg Erwin, former crew chief to Greg Biffle's #16 at Roush Fenway Racing, has left the team and moved to Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) with immediate effect.
He will be the new crew chief for the #43 car currently driven by AJ Allmendinger, replacing Mike Shiplett.
"Greg Erwin is a really talented crew chief and we're lucky to have him come on board with us," said Allmendinger. "He has had a lot of success, brings a fresh perspective and has shown he knows exactly what it takes to win. I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do together and taking the team to that next level."
"When one door closes, another one opens and this is great example of that," said Erwin as he took up his new post. "I couldn't be happier to have found a new home at Richard Petty Motorsports. To work with Richard Petty and lead the iconic #43 team is a great opportunity for me. AJ Allmendinger has shown that he has a great deal of talent and I'm excited to have the chance to get the #43 team back to Victory Lane."
Allmendinger - who is just eight points behind Biffle in the Cup points standings - admitted that he was still sad to see Shiplett depart: "Mike and I have been together for a long time, so from a personal standpoint this is difficult for me," he said. "We've worked really well together and I think our personalities really complemented each other.
"I know we both tried our best to be better and communicate better; I couldn't have asked for either of us to try any harder. Sometimes though, you need to take a step back and have a new perspective or new set of eyes look at things to move to the next level."
RPM has a strategic technical partnership with Roush Fenway Racing, who likely set up the new arrangement for Erwin after he was replaced as the crew chief on the #16 last week by Matt Puccia following the team's lacklustre season to date. After David Ragan's maiden victory at Daytona, Biffle is now the only one of Roush Fenway's four drivers not to have won a race this season and is only 14th in the Cup points standings.
Erwin had been crew chief on the #16 since 2007 and had worked successfully with Biffle to get into the all-important Chase over the past three seasons, claiming five wins, 36 top fives and 66 top tens along the way. But the relationship had seemingly soured in recent months with Biffle increasingly unhappy and vocal about the state of affairs.
It's not clear whether Erwin's move from Roush Fenway to RPM was at his instigation or because Biffle and team owner Jack Roush felt that a change was needed with or without Erwin's agreement.
JJ Yaley gets rest-of-season deal at Front Row
JJ Yeley will be competing for Front Row Motorsports in all of the remaining Sprint Cup races in 2011, the team announced Monday.
Yeley had been competing for Whitney Motorsports for the first half of the 2011 season but switched to Front Row at New Hampshire, where he finished in 23rd place.
"JJ is a great addition to our team," said team owner Bob Jenkins. "He brings a lot of good experience and it showed right away in his first weekend in one of our cars. We're still a relatively young team and trying to grow each year, and I think bringing JJ aboard is a good step in that progress."
Yeley - who has been driving at Cup level for seven years - will split his appearances between the #55 and #38 with team mates Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland.
"When they said they were looking to add someone, I jumped at the opportunity," said Yeley. "We all worked well together. We had a good first week together, and we're just going to keep building from there."
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