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Stewart's crew chief out, despite title

For the moment, Grubb just wanted to enjoy his and Stewart's achievement with the team in winning the championship and said that any planning for 2012 could wait: "We are just going to plan to celebrate, talk, see what happens from there," he said. "I guess we'll start talking, but we'll do a little celebrating first."

Pressed whether those talks would include whether Sunday's title victory means that Stewart might now change his mind and decide to retain Grubb at the team in some capacity, if not as crew chief for the #14, Grubb couldn't say.

"It all depends. We'll just have to do those talks this week and see what happens," he said. "Obviously this is what I came in to do as a goal, and now I've done that with this team ... We went out and earned this championship. Now we'll just see what comes out of that."

Stewart himself wouldn't be drawn on what was likely to happen with Grubb now that the two had bounced back to win the championship together. “There's a lot of things in the offseason and decisions that have to be made,” Stewart said. “Obviously, we wanted to get through this championship battle first, and we'll sit down as a group, obviously, this week and figure out the direction of our program.

"I know what his status is for the rest of the night," he added: "I'm going to get him drunk."

As news spread about Grubb's firing, the sense of disbelief was summed up by one reporter's question at the post-race press conference: "How does a guy who wins a championship, five races out of ten - just everything you accomplished - find himself without a job at the end of the year? The whole thing is just baffling."

"It is to me, honestly," responded Grubb.

But if he's really having to hit the situations vacant this week, then he couldn't ask for a better calling card than '2011 championship winner' - and it's hard to believe that he'll be out of work for very many hours before another team snaps him up.




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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]
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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)
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