Cliff Daniels has a new role in NASCAR: seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson‘s crew chief.
Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday (July 29) that Daniels will take over the play-calling duties for Johnson effective immediately.
Daniels replaces Kevin Meendering, who was in his first year with Johnson after replacing long-time crew chief Chad Knuas.
“We have great confidence in Cliff’s ability to win races with Jimmie and the team,” Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said in a team statement. “He’s a natural leader and tremendously talented from both a technical and communication standpoint. Cliff’s familiarity with Jimmie and the No. 48 team culture will benefit us a ton. He will bring the spark that’s been our missing ingredient.”
According to Hendrick, Meendering will remain part of Hendrick Motorsports.
“Kevin is a talent,” Hendrick said. “We have areas where he can make a major impact and help all four of our teams be successful. Everyone thinks the world of him, and we plan to keep him as a key member of our organization for as long as he wants to be here.”
“Cliff has really shined since he came back to the [No.] 48,” Johnson added. “When he returned, there was an immediate change in the team dynamic that all of us felt. We’ve worked together for a long time, have a ton of mutual respect and a shared vision. I have no doubt the strong connection and working relationship is going to pay dividends right away.”
Johnson is currently 17th in Cup points, 12 points out of the playoff cutoff,
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Bryan Nolen is the Podcast Manager for Frontstretch.com. He also hosts the Frontstretch Podcast with Bryan Nolen and occasionally makes appearances on The Happy Hour Podcast. He has a Sportscasting degree from the Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting. He resides in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two rabbits.
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Sounds like someone hit the panic button.
Panic time for JJ. Rearranging the deck chairs aren’t going to stop the sinking ship. He doesn’t deserve to be in the playoffs anyway.
He probably does if you insist on pretending there are 16 drivers that deserve a chance at the championship. Once you get out of the top ten in points (and I’d even argue top 5), it gets really laughable to think some of these guys with such average seasons are championship material (even though the crapshoot nature of the current playoff format gives them a shot).
2020 Jimmie still gets over $ 10 Million in salary alone. Then he rides off into the sunset.
Why does that matter to you?
I agree Bill, making the “Playoffs” should be difficult. Top 16 isn’t exactly difficult when you consider the amount of competitive drivers there are that can make it (SHR, CGR, HMS, JGR, Penske (17?) Roush hasn’t exactly been competitive the last few years.
31 drivers have started every race this year, so you only have to be in the top 50% to be a title contender….
Could be a nice seat opening up soon. Erik Jones you watching
Good-bye Jimm-i-e-not-y! Cheaper driver coming soon to a car near you.
Bring back Lance McGrew as crew chief for JJ!