LAS VEGAS – Although Carl Edwards is set to have his third crew chief in three seasons, based on reported changes coming at Joe Gibbs Racing, he’s not worried about what could happen.
Motorsport.com reported this week that Dave Rogers will replace Darian Grubb as Edwards’ crew chief next season and that Mike Wheeler, an engineer for Hamlin’s team, will be Hamlin’s crew chief.
Gibbs and team officials wouldn’t confirm the changes Thursday but the moves could lead to more Gibbs magic.
Consider what Gibbs has done lately:
- In 2013, Gibbs paired Matt Kenseth with Jason Ratcliff. Kenseth, in his first year with the organization, won a series-high seven races and finished second in the points.
- In 2015, Gibbs paired Kyle Busch with Adam Stevens. Although they had worked together in the Xfinity Series, this was their first year together in Cup. After missing 11 races because of injuries, Busch won five races and the championship.
- In 2015, Gibbs paired Rogers with Hamlin and Hamlin won two races – equal to what Hamlin had won the previous two seasons combined – and finished ninth in the points.
“I don’t think there’s an easy way or a formula, it’s really trying to put everything together and say, ‘OK, how do we use the talent we have to best suit us trying to win races and get each of our cars to run well,’”Gibbs said Thursday after the NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon.
Edwards said he puts his faith in Gibbs on how his team is built.
“Whatever ends up happening, I believe in it, and I think we’ll be fine,’’ Edwards said. “I’m not worried about any potential changes.’’
Some new driver-crew chief pairings have had success in recent years.
Rodney Childers and Kevin Harvick won the title in 2014 in their first year together. That same year, Luke Lambert and Ryan Newman, although they didn’t win a race, finished second in the points.
In their first full year together, Cole Pearn and Martin Truex Jr. won a race and finished fourth in the points.
“It appears that the right people together at the right time produce results,’’ Edwards said. “I don’t know that there is any formula for the amount of the time that you have to get to know one another. I would have thought that a long time ago, but looking around watching the way things happen and the way success is built in the sport, it seems to be less a function of time, more a function of what’s really happening.’’