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Stewart's crew chief out, despite title

Darian Grubb, the crew chief who led the #14 team to victory in the 2011 championship, confirmed after Sunday's race that he'd already been fired by Tony Stewart.
He may have been instrumental in boosting Tony Stewart to the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, but even as the confetti flew in pit lane at Homestead-Miami on Sunday evening, Darian Grubb confirmed that he's already been fired by the owner-driver.

"I was told early in the Chase before Charlotte that next year I was not going to be here," Grubb confirmed after engineering the #14 car to victory lane for the fifth time in the ten post-season Chase races. "I'm not sure what's going to happen."

The revelation confirmed last week's pre-race rumours that Grubb was on the way out. He was told he was out in mid-October following a tense and difficult summer which strained the relationship between Grubb and his boss.

"I was frustrated many times this year as well," said Grubb when asked about how he had dealt with a clearly simmering Stewart during that part of the season. "You have to dig down deep and fight. If you are going to do this 38 weeks a year, you'd better be able to take the lows and highs and not get too upset, and just keep a nice even keel and just keep fighting against what you are fighting against."

Even though the team recovered and won stunning back-to-back victories at the start of the race, their form appeared to slip back again in the next two races and Stewart decided that it was time to pull the plug on the relationship. But far from wrecking Stewart's remaining six races, the #14 didn't then finish out of the top ten again all season. Stewart took pole position at Charlotte and raced to eighth place, ahead of a string of three more race wins including Sunday night's extraordinary win at Homestead that decided the title.

"We just kept fighting and doing everything we had to do every week," insisted Grubb when asked how he had carried on and achieved such success despite having been fired. "Definitely it was a little tough and strained but it honestly probably made the guys rally around a little more just because we all felt like we were a team to beat, and we wanted to prove that.

"It did not change anything, what the outcome was going to be. We fought as if we were going to fight to win this championship, and we did it, and now we'll just see in this coming week how things change."

But he revealed it had been touch and go that Grubb even stayed in post for those remaining races of the 2011 season: "I had a lot of conversations with a lot of people, telling them, please give me the courtesy of waiting until tonight to see what we could accomplish," he said.

"Originally I always wanted to stay within the [Stewart-Haas Racing] organisation," he continued. "That's the reason I came here was to help build something special. I think we have done that. We made the Chase all three years and had a shot at winning the championship all three years, and now this year, being able to pull it off, we accomplished our goals and that's what we wanted to do ... now that we have done that, I guess we'll start talking




Related Pictures

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Tony Stewart talks with his crew chief Darian Grubb. [Picture credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images]
Tony Stewart emerges from his No. 14 Chevy in Victory Lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway after winning the Ford 400 and claiming his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship on Sunday, Nov. 20. [Photo Credit: By Chris Graythen, Getty Images]
Tony Stewart`s crew goes to work on the front of his No. 14 Chevrolet after he sustained damage from debris in the early going of the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 20. [Photo Credit: By Todd Warshaw, Getty Images for NASCAR]
Stewart-Haas Racing crew chief Darian Grubb monitoring the fuel-injection tests at Texas in November. [Picture credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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