Dave Elenz, No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team engineer, will oversee No. 5 JR Motorsports crew in 2015
FORT WORTH – The trend is continuing at JR Motorsports for promoting Hendrick Motorsports’ engineers as crew chiefs.
Dave Elenz will be the new crew chief for the No. 5 JRM Chevy in 2015. He is replacing Ernie Cope, who is taking the place of Greg Ives on the No. 9 crew with driver Chase Elliott. Ives, the former team engineer for Jimmie Johnson at HMS, was named Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief for next season.
Who is Dave Elenz?
Elenz, a Gaylord Mich.-native who attended Clemson University, moved from the No. 88 team with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and replaced Ives on the No. 48 Hendrick team after the 2013 season. Ives spent one year with Regan Smith at JRM before guiding Elliott to the top of the standings this season.
Elenz started at Jasper Racing, where he first met JRM competition director Ryan Pemberton. The pair worked together at Ginn Racing and Red Bull Racing prior to Elenz joining the Hendrick Motorsports stable.
With engineering taking a greater role at the core of a team’s success in NASCAR, Pemberton says Elenz will be a perfect fit.
“The tools the crew chief uses in this day and age is all SIM-oriented, it’s all technology,” Pemberton said. “Having a crew chief that has an engineering background and a lot of experience on top of the pitbox with great guys like Steve Letarte and Chad Knaus makes a lot of sense. Everything it takes to make a car go fast is engineer driven so it helps to have someone with that type of background to be a leader.
“The knowledge, the skill sets that he has fits perfect for what we have but also with our relationship with Hendrick. Dave has the friends, he has the relationshps and he has knowledge of the Hendrick tools helps expedite the process and not having to learn things from scratch.”
The No. 5 team campaigned with Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne this season.