Chip Ganassi Racing names new crew chief for Kyle Larson

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Chip Ganassi Racing got the offseason underway Monday by announcing a new crew chief for Kyle Larson.

Leading the No. 42 team in 2016 will be Chad Johnston. He makes the move after being crew chief for Tony Stewart for the last two years. NASCAR Talk reported on Thursday that Johnston wasn’t expected to return after this season.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to be joining Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and the opportunity to work with Kyle Larson,” Johnston said in a press release. “The organization has a great reputation in numerous forms of racing, and I’m looking forward to adding to that reputation in NASCAR. Kyle is certainly a unique talent, and I’m eager to get to work with him and the team as we look to build a foundation of success.”

Motorsport.com reports that Johnston will be replaced by Mike Bugarewicz, race engineer on the No. 4 of Kevin Harvick.

Johnston replaces Chris Heroy, who was crew chief for Larson in his first two Sprint Cup seasons in which the No. 42 never visited victory lane and recorded 10 top fives and 27 top-10 finishes. CGR confirmed to NASCAR Talk that Heroy is no longer with the organization.

“I’m excited to get to work with Chad and to start doing what needs to be done to get the team to victory lane next year,” Larson said in a press release. As a team, I think we are very close and the addition of Chad should help move our program forward for many years to come. Lastly, I would also like to thank Chris for all he did to help me grow in my first two seasons in the Cup series.”

Johnston’s only win as a crew chief came in 2013 at Sonoma Raceway on the pit box of Martin Truex Jr. in his final season at Michael Waltrip Racing.

A native of Cayuga, Ind., Johnston graduated from Indiana State University with a major in mechanical engineering and worked in the aerospace industry before entering the NASCAR world in 2004.