Championship-winning crew chief Darian Grubb will call the shots for William Byron and the No. 24 team next season.
“This is our last major piece of the puzzle for next season,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “Darian is an all-around terrific person and a proven winner. The experience and leadership he brings will be a difference-maker for William and everyone on the team. He has a clear vision for the future and already is plugged in with our other crew chiefs. He’s a great fit.”
The 2018 season will be Byron’s rookie year in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Veteran Grubb will lead the team he is currently working with, as the No. 5 becomes the No. 24 next season. Grubb was named the interim crew chief for current driver Kasey Kahne last month, replacing Keith Rodden.
A veteran of the NASCAR garage, Grubb won the 2011 Cup Series championship with Tony Stewart. His 23 career wins at the premier level put him third among active full-time crew chiefs. Grubb also has 18 poles and 132 top-10 finishes atop the pit box.
A long-time Hendrick employee, Grubb originally joined the company in 2003 as the lead engineer for Jimmie Johnson’s team. He has also worked with Casey Mears and been the engineering manager of the Nos. 5 and 88 teams.
Following a stint at Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, Grubb return to Hendrick in 2016 to oversee racecar manufacturing. In August, Grubb was promoted to director of competition systems.
“The opportunity to work with William and the No. 24 team is big,” said Grubb. “William is a phenomenal young driver and already a great communicator in the racecar. I’m looking forward to building a strong relationship with him and working with Alan, Chad, Greg and all of our talented people. Everyone on the team will be committed to continuing the winning tradition of the No. 24.”
Byron will move into the Cup Series after a full year in the Xfinity Series with JR Motorsports, where he has won three races to date and remains in contention for the championship. The Charlotte, N.C. native is the 2016 Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year and the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion.
“I have so much respect for Darian and everything he’s accomplished in this sport,” Byron said. “There aren’t many people with a resume like his and I will definitely tap into that knowledge from day one. He knows how to win races and win championships. To have that kind of person leading the No. 24 team gives me a ton of confidence about what we can all do together.”
The rest of the Hendrick Motorsports line-up for 2018 includes Greg Ives with Alex Bowman, who takes over the No. 88, Chad Knaus with Jimmie Johnson, and Alan Gustafson with Chase Elliott, who switches to the No. 9 next year.