Amanda Vincent, NASCAR correspondent
NASCAR Nationwide Series team, JR Motorsports, announced a crew chief swap on Thursday for its part-time team and one of its full-time entries in the series.
Bruce Cook, who until now worked as crew chief on the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team that runs part-time with team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel, has moved over to the No. 88 Chevrolet driven full-time by series rookie Cole Whitt.
Our on-track performance isn’t meeting those standards, and we felt a change was necessary.
Tony Eury Sr., the competition director at JR Motorsports and former No. 88 crew chief, replaces Cook atop the No. 5 pit box. The move of Eury Sr. to the No. 5 team reunites him with Earnhardt Jr. Eury Sr. was Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief when he competed full-time in the Nationwide (then-Busch) Series in 1998 and 1999, claiming 13 race wins and two series championships.
“Our teams have a tremendous responsibility, not only to perform at the standards we set for ourselves, but reflect the commitment to excellence of our sponsors,” team co-owner Kelley Earnhardt Miller said. “Our on-track performance isn’t meeting those standards, and we felt a change was necessary.”
Earnhardt Jr. plans to race the No. 5 in two more races this year -- the next event at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13 and at Talladega Superspeedway on May 5. There is also a possibility that the No. 5 car will be entered in a few additional Nationwide races with another driver behind the wheel.
The move gives Whitt, who is sixth in the points standings, a crew chief that won six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races during last year's 25-race season in that series while working for Kevin Harvick Inc.
"Bruce’s demeanor is probably more suitable in the developmental process of young drivers, and Tony Sr. has the experience and familiarity with Dale Jr. that can help get our 5 car to Victory Lane," Earnhardt Miller said.
Tony Eury Jr.'s position as crew chief of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet team with driver Danica Patrick remains unchanged.