On Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Greg Ives, currently the crew chief for Chase Elliott’s No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, will serve as crew chief of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series starting in 2015. Ives will be replacing Steve Letarte, who will be in the broadcast booth starting next season as an analyst on NBC’s NASCAR telecasts.
Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick is very happy to have Ives in the fold.
“Greg was our number-one choice,” Hendrick said in a press release. “This is a talented guy who already has a terrific rapport with Dale Jr. and is a fit with the organization. He and Chad had a lot of success together, and all of our crew chiefs think the world of him and what he’s accomplished. Greg’s proven that he can win races, and he has all the tools to do big things.”
For Ives, next year will be his first opportunity to be a crew chief in the Sprint Cup Series. He’s up for the challenge.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me and my family,” Ives said. “Dale Jr. and I have a great relationship from being in the same shop at Hendrick Motorsports and my time at JRM. We have a lot left to do this season in the Nationwide Series, but I’m excited about what’s ahead and look forward to sharing some wins with JR Nation in the future. I couldn’t ask for a better situation than working with one of the best drivers and teams in racing.”
Earnhardt Jr. is very happy to have Ives, a known quantity, as his crew chief starting next year.
“I know what Greg is all about and really respect him,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “He’s a strong leader with a cool personality, and we’re both competitors who want to win. It was important to find someone who would fit at Hendrick Motorsports and inside our shop, and he will for sure do that. We got the best guy for the job, and I look forward to working with him next year.”
“From a JR Motorsports perspective, I’m extremely proud of how this worked out,” Earnhardt Jr. continued. “Since the end of 2012, we’ve focused on JRM and Hendrick Motorsports working together as closely as possible and developing talented people for the next level. This is a perfect example of that happening the way we hoped it would.”
Previous to his work as Elliott’s crew chief, Ives served as an engineer on Jimmie Johnson’s team for the first five of Johnson’s championships. Late in 2012, he moved to JR Motorsports, where he was named as Regan Smith’s crew chief. With Smith, Ives won two races in 2013 and led Smith to a third-place finish in points. For 2014, Ives was moved to Elliott’s No. 9. Through 19 races, Elliott has three victories and currently leads the points. Ives will finish the season with Elliott before moving over to the No. 88 team.