Cliff Daniels has replaced Kevin Meendering as crew chief of the No 48. Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Jimmie Johnson.

Daniels served as Johnson's race engineer for his 2016 championship season and since worked in the organization's competition systems group. He returned to the engineering role for the June race at the Sonoma Raceway and will take over the pit box for this race at Watkins Glen International.

“Cliff has really shined since he came back to the ‘48,’” Johnson said. “When he returned, there was an immediate change in the team dynamic that all of us felt. We’ve worked together for a long time, have a ton of mutual respect and a shared vision. I have no doubt the strong connection and working relationship is going to pay dividends right away."

The Smithfield, Virginia native graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and worked for RAB Racing and for Stewart-Haas Racing before coming to Hendrick.

“We have an opportunity to win an eighth championship and a lot more races with Jimmie,” Daniels said. “I’m proud to be in this position and have total faith in the team and our ability to perform at the level everyone expects. We have the best driver, the best organization and the best leadership, so everything we need to be successful is in place. It’s always been my goal to become a crew chief, and I’m thankful to Mr. Hendrick for his confidence.”

Meendering has been re-assigned to a senior competition role within the team. He moved to Johnson's pit box this season after the seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion split with longtime crew chief Chad Knaus.  Knaus now commands the pitbox for teammate William Byron.

“We have great confidence in Cliff’s ability to win races with Jimmie and the team,” said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick. “He’s a natural leader and tremendously talented from both a technical and communication standpoint. Cliff’s familiarity with Jimmie and the No. 48 team culture will benefit us a ton. He will bring the spark that’s been our missing ingredient.”

Johnson sits 17th in the standings 21 rounds into the 2019 season with eight top tens and one pole to his credit. He lies 12 points outside of the Playoff cutoff spot occupied by Ryan Newman with five races remaining in the regular season.