CONCORD, N.C. – With the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season now in the rear-view mirror, rest, relaxation and enjoying the offseason are certainly on the agenda.
But it’s hard not to look ahead to what the 2018 campaign will bring – particularly for Darian Grubb.
This month, Grubb was named the crew chief for the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team of driver William Byron, who will make his Cup Series debut in 2018.
And he can’t wait to get started with the driver who just won the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Grubb said. “Obviously he’s a massive talent, and having him come in here, it’s kind of injecting a whole new feel that it’s going to be a younger organization.”
Grubb, 42, led Tony Stewart to the 2011 Cup championship and has posted 23 total victories in the series, which ties him for third among active full-time crew chiefs. He has recorded 18 pole positions, 72 top-five finishes and 132 top-10s in his career atop the pit box.
Working with a rookie, he noted, will be different.
“It’s more about just kind of learning what William doesn’t know,” Grubb explained. “He works so hard at what he does. I don’t think there’s much we’re going to teach him, I think it’s going to be now just how do we apply it?”
But Byron is such a special driver, he added, that it’s easy to forget he’ll be competing for Rookie of the Year honors next season.
“I’ve never seen anybody that seems to get it so fast,” Grubb said. “He really is learning and you don’t even realize he’s learning. He’s coming in and looks like a veteran on the racetrack.”
So, while the next few weeks will be about recharging after a long season, knowing he’ll be aligned with Byron for the driver’s transition to the Cup Series has Grubb – and the entire 2018 No. 24 team – raring to go.
“We know what we’re working for, we know what we’ve got to prep for next season, we know kind of where the guys are going to lay out on the teams and those things,” the crew chief said. “It just gives everybody a breath of fresh air. You know what you’re doing.
“Now, it’s time to buckle down and make sure you’re ready.”