DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In a decision that he said was about "putting his family first," Greg Ives announced his decision to step away as a crew chief following the conclusion of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
"You have to be selfish with your career and what your goals were and expectations were. You definitely have to be selfish with that," Ives said. "I remember the first day that Chad (Knaus) came to me and said I want you to come on the road with me as an engineer on the 48. I got home with excitement and all of a sudden my wife Jessica said, 'we’re pregnant with our first child.'
"Since that day, she’s always stood behind me and with me in everything I’ve done. It’s gotten to a point 17 seasons later, here I am with a 16-year-old this weekend, an eight-year-old and my 10-year-old right in the middle. It’s been a great ride but ultimately it came to the point where I am ready to be home with my family."
Ives is currently serving as the crew chief for Alex Bowman and the No. 48 Ally Racing team. The two have qualified for the 2022 playoffs thanks to their win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. This year’s postseason will mark their fifth consecutive playoff appearance together. Ives revealed that his decision was made a few weeks ago.
"I wanted time to tell Alex," Ives explained. "I needed time to tell the team and get it out before the playoffs start just so that there are no distractions."
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Following the season, the 42-year-old will move into a new role with the organization that he described as "the middle man on different projects." He also acknowledged that both he and Knaus, who is the vice president of competition of Hendrick Motorsports, had been trying to work together again.
During his time at Hendrick Motorsports, Ives has been the crew chief of the No. 48 team with Bowman (since 2021) and before that he was the crew chief of the No. 88 Chevrolet with Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2015-17) and Bowman (2018-20). When Earnhardt Jr. missed time in 2016 while recovering from a concussion, Ives worked with Bowman as well as Jeff Gordon.
Ives’ 10 wins as a Cup Series crew chief are the seventh-most among active crew chiefs. The Bowman-Ives pairing’s seven Cup Series wins are the fifth-most among active driver-crew chief pairings. The 2021 season saw Ives and Bowman team up for four wins – a season-high mark for both crew chief and driver.
"It’s emotional but I’m happy for him," Bowman said of Ives' decision. "I think it’s going to be good for where he is at in life. I think all the go-kart dads are going to have to worry with how much time he’ll have with Parker now."
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The Bark River, Michigan, native’s history with Hendrick Motorsports runs deep. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan Tech and his resume ended up in the hands of Brian Whitesell (now the vice president of manufacturing at Hendrick Motorsports). He invited Ives to meet during 2004 Daytona Speedweeks and so the future crew chief drove 1,500 from Michigan to Florida before landing a formal interview a few weeks later. Ives would go on to join the No. 24 team of Gordon, the four-time Cup Series champion, as a shop mechanic.
Ives was offered a traveling position by Knaus as the race engineer for the No. 48 team ahead of the 2006 season. His arrival to the team came in the same season that Jimmie Johnson’s run of five consecutive Cup Series championships kicked off. Ives spent seven years with the No. 48 team and was a part of 42 wins from 2006 to 2012.
For the 2013 season, he moved to JR Motorsports, a NASCAR Xfinity Series team owned by Earnhardt Jr. and affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports, to become a crew chief for Regan Smith. After a two-win season, he was paired with Chase Elliott in the future Hendrick Motorsports driver’s first year in the Xfinity ranks. Together, they won three races and the 2014 Xfinity Series championship. The title was the first for JRM.
Following two years at JRM, Ives returned to Hendrick Motorsports and worked with Earnhardt Jr. In his first season as a Cup Series, they won three races with Ives’ first Cup Series crew chief win coming at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3, 2015. That season, Ives received the MOOG Problem Solver of the Year Award, which is presented to the crew chief who posts the best overall performance, most consistently demonstrates problem-solving excellence and wins the most Problem Solver of the Race awards. He would work with Earnhardt Jr. for two more seasons, including the driver’s final Cup Series season in 2017.
Starting in 2018, Ives was paired with Bowman and has been the crew chief for all seven of the Tucson, Arizona, native’s wins in the sport’s top series. The duo won their first race together at Chicagoland Speedway on June 30, 2019 and won again at Auto Club Speedway in the third race of 2020. In 2021, they teamed up for four wins and they were the team atop the pylon for Hendrick Motorsports’ historic 1-2-3-4 finish at Dover Motor Speedway on May 16, 2021.
The pair’s most recent win at Las Vegas came on the strength of Ives’ two-tire call ahead of the two-lap sprint to the finish in NASCAR Overtime. That call gave Bowman the track position needed to capitalize for the victory.
"I’m excited to have 11 more chances to win with him and thankful for the wins we have together so far," Bowman said.