In the latest chapter of the merry-go-round of crew chiefs that has broken out mid-season, Richard Childress Racing announced that Todd Berrier would no longer be in charge of Jeff Burton #31 crew, with immediate effect.
The Berrier-Burton combination qualified for the post-regular season Chase in 2010 only to finish at the bottom of the Chase drivers at the end of the season. This year they have been struggling and are without a single top ten finish, which has left the #31 mired in 25th place in the standings.
Berrier will be replaced on an interim basis by Luke Lambert, who has been team engineer on the car since 2008. It is Lambert's first opportunity to take the role of crew chief at Cup level.
"I'm honored that Richard and Jeff have the confidence in me to lead the Cat Racing team," said Lambert. "This is a talented group of guys who know what it takes and has been successful so there's no reason to think we can't be successful moving forward."
"Luke will be the interim crew chief until further notice," team owner Richard Childress confirmed. "He has a strong grasp of the job requirements and an established line of communication with Jeff (Burton) so we have every confidence that he will do a great job."
Childress stressed that Berrier would be remaining with the team in a yet-to-be-specified role. "He is still employed and under contract and his role with RCR will be determined in the near future."
Berrier has been with RCR since 1997 when he joined as Jay Sauter's crew chief in the Camping World Truck Series, before joining up with Kevin Harvick in Harvik's rookie Nationwide year in 2000 which saw them win three races together. Later, they would reunite in Cup competition and won the Daytona 500 in 2007.
Berrier moved over to take charge of Casey Mear's RCR crew at the start of 2009 and then swapped in to the #31 team in October of that year.
Announcing this week's switch, team owner Childress agreed and said: "Todd has been an important part of RCR's success for many years."
Burton joins Juan Montoya, Greg Biffle, Martin Truex Jr. and AJ Allmendinger in hoping that a change to his pit crew chief will reviving slumping mid-season fortunes.