Aug 1, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT
Greg Ives won five consecutive Sprint Cup titles as an engineer for Jimmie Johnson and is currently a crew chief in the Nationwide Series.
But when he becomes the big man on the box for Dale Earnhardt Jr. next season, it’ll mark his first run as a crew chief in NASCAR’s top level.
However, both Earnhardt and Johnson believe that Ives will prove that he’s worthy of the opportunity he’s been given.
“We want to try to get better. I think we have in making this decision,” said Earnhardt, who noted that he was happy to not be “in limbo” about who would replace his current crew chief, Steve Letarte, at season’s end.
“I haven’t been able to really talk to the guys yet, but the ones that I have been able to talk with – they feel like that is what we have done. We are going to be a better team for it once we get going next year. I mean, it’s a big relief to get it off my shoulders and not worry about who we are going to be working with.
“What kind of personality he is going to be and whether or not we are going to get along or whether he is going to work and whether the chemistry is going to be good and the cars will be fast – I don’t have to worry about that. I feel good about it.”
Earnhardt also said he was glad that Letarte, Johnson’s crew chief, Chad Knaus, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, and HMS general manager Doug Duchardt all agreed that Ives was the best choice.
“Number one: It was great to hear how confident Rick and Doug and Chad and all them were in this particular choice,” he said. “That gets me excited. I can get right behind that.
“I already know how good Greg is, but just knowing that Chad and everybody believes in that decision and thinks that we will be even better off than we are today.”
As he’ll be working with the 88 camp, Ives will also be seeing a lot of Johnson, Knaus and the 48 crew since the two squads share shop space.
Johnson is hopeful that with Ives on board, the dynamic between the teams will remain solid after Letarte heads over to NBC Sports, where he’ll work as a NASCAR analyst.
“[Ives has] worked very hard to develop as a crew chief and individual,” Johnson said. “He’s been a crew chief on Junior’s Nationwide programs and if you look at his stats and what he’s accomplished there as a crew chief, you can say he has definitely earned this opportunity.
“I’m very happy for Greg and his family and look forward to seeing him more on a daily basis. I went through so many years seeing him all the time and he was such an integral part of finding speed in our race cars, and it’s going to be nice to see him a lot more often now.”
May 24, 2015, 9:09 AM EDT
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May 24, 2015, 7:15 AM EDT
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May 24, 2015, 6:45 AM EDT
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May 24, 2015, 6:15 AM EDT
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May 24, 2015, 6:00 AM EDT
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May 24, 2015, 5:08 AM EDT
Weiron Tan and Jake Eidson are winners Saturday at the artist/track formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park.
May 23, 2015, 6:04 PM EDT
Chip Ganassi Racing driver will make his 300th career start Sunday.
May 23, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT
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May 23, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
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May 23, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT
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May 23, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT
Live coverage from Glen Helen starts with the pre-race show at 4 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra and continues with first motos at 5 p.m. ET. Second motos will be live on NBCSN at 7 p.m. ET.
May 23, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT
Red Bull driver matches his best qualifying result of the season, but feels a top three grid slot was within reach.
May 23, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
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May 23, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
Lotus driver will start tomorrow’s race from 15th place on the grid.
May 23, 2015, 2:01 PM EDT
Townsend Bell recaps a busy week, and a particularly busy Carb Day.
May 23, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT
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May 23, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT
Ferrari driver explains how the fall in temperature ahead of qualifying meant Ferrari could not challenge Mercedes in Monaco.
May 23, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
Toro Rosso driver dropped to the back of the grid after failing to complete a weight check during qualifying on Saturday.
- WATCH LIVE: Monaco GP Race Day on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7am, NBC from 7:30am 0
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