Joe Gibbs Racing has confirmed to NASCAR Talk that Nick Odell, the front-tire changer on Kyle Busch‘s No. 18 team has been released from his contract with the team.
Odell’s departure was described as an internal team matter and unrelated to any punishment from NASCAR.
Odell, who had been changing tires on the No. 18 since 2008, will be replaced by Josh Leslie in Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Leslie has worked with JGR in the Xfinity Series and had been the front tire changer for the No. 13 Chevrolet of Casey Mears at Germain Racing. According to Germain Racing’s website, the Mount Clemens, Mich., native has 14 years of experience in racing.
The move comes just two days after Busch finished ninth in Sunday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway, the opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The news of Odell’s departure initially was reported by PitTalks.com.
JGR’s move comes on the heels of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team changing its front-tire changer before the playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway.