Former crew chief for 2011 Sprint Champion Tony Stewart, Darien Grubb has been picked up by Joe Gibbs racing to replace the dismissed Mike Ford as crew chief for Denny Hamlin.
The best kept secret of last season was that Stewart informed Grubb halfway into the Chase that he would not be kept on after the season ended. Casual fans and outside observers were scandalized after the news got out that the affable Grubb had been let go. But knowledgable fans know that Tony lost at least three races during the season due to miscues on top of the pit box.
On more than one occasion, Stewart could be heard either on the radio or in post race interviews grumbling and wondering how he lost a race he had been running away with. No great surprise that the highly competitive Stewart was shopping for a new crew chief.
Grubb started out as an engineer at Hendrick Motorsports, coming to the public notice as the marionette for a suspended Chad Knaus during one of Jimmie Johnson's championship seasons. When Stewart created Stewart-Haas racing, they brokered to use Hendrick engines and chassis, and Rick Hendrick offered Grubb to Stewart in the package.
Now with Joe Gibbs, Grubb will be using Toyota equipment, which is an entirely different package. It will be interesting to see if he can have any level of success there. I hope he does as the guy seems eminently likeable.
Tony picked up the talented Steve Addington from Penske and the nutbag Kurt Busch's team. I'm sure Addington ran, did not walk, to Stewart's to get away from the bi-polar Busch, who has since been dumped by the perfectionist Penske.
With all the drivers and crew chiefs flying around, NASCAR looks like it's being run by some fantasy league players. It's going to be an interesting 2012 season.