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McGrew named interim crew chief of No. 88 Sprint Cup team

CONCORD, N.C. (May 28, 2009) – Hendrick Motorsports today named Lance McGrew as interim crew chief of the No. 88 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. beginning with the June 7 event at Pocono Raceway. Team manager Brian Whitesell will lead the team this weekend at Dover, Del.

“Our performance hasn’t been where it should be,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s impossible to pin that on any one factor, but a change is the right decision at this point. We have a plan in place, and we’re going to move forward with it.”

Whitesell and Rex Stump, Hendrick Motorsports’ lead chassis engineer, have been assigned to support McGrew on a full-time basis. Whitesell, who won two of seven races as Jeff Gordon’s interim crew chief in 1999, will join McGrew and team engineer Tom Stewart on the No. 88 pit box to assist with race strategy.

“We’re going to put our full resources toward improving the situation and winning races,” Hendrick said. “It’s going to be a collective effort that includes all of our drivers, all of our crew chiefs and all of our engineers. Everyone in our company will be involved on some level.”

Tony Eury Jr. will move from the crew chief position into a key role with Hendrick Motorsports’ research and development group. Eury posted one victory, one pole position, 19 top-10 finishes and 11 top-fives in 48 races with the No. 88 team.

“I have mixed feelings, and that’s just natural,” Eury said. “But I enjoy working at Hendrick Motorsports, and this is where I want to be. I’ll do whatever I can to help all of our teams and try to be a part of another championship. I think a new challenge will be good.”

“Tony and I talked through this last night,” Hendrick said. “I want him here, he wants to be here, and he’s going to be a big contributor to our future success. I have an unbelievable amount of respect for the job he’s done and for the caliber of person that he is.”

McGrew, 41, earned the 2003 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship with driver Brian Vickers. He won the October 2006 Sprint Cup race with Vickers at Talladega, Ala., and most recently led Cup rookie Brad Keselowski to a seventh-place finish May 9 at Darlington, S.C.

As a crew chief, McGrew has posted victories in all three of NASCAR’s major touring series: Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck. He has won races with drivers Vickers, Jeff Gordon, Ricky Hendrick, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin and most recently Tony Stewart Feb. 14 at Daytona Beach, Fla.

A native of Baton Rouge, La., McGrew has experience working with Earnhardt. Last season, the pair ran three Nationwide Series races, posting top-10 finishes April 5 at Texas Motor Speedway and May 24 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. They also finished 15th on March 8 at Atlanta.

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