Darian Grubb: Why I Decided To Be Denny Hamlin's Crew Chief

Darian Grubb had plenty of options when he began searching for a new job following his firing from Stewart-Haas Racing.

But first, he had to decide whether to be a crew chief or take a management role overseeing engineering with some team (like the one he was offered at Hendrick Motorsports). Grubb ultimately chose to remain a crew chief for family reasons – the 36-year-old figured he would stay atop the pit box for about four more years, until his son began to play T-Ball and soccer.

"Right now, I still have that competitive fire in me," he said. "I feel like if I'm not in that position on top of the box being able to make those calls and seat-of-the-pants decisions, then I'd really be missing out on something. I want to continue that."

After deciding to take a crew chief job, the question was: Where?

Grubb met with Joe Gibbs Racing and found the organization had many resources and much enthusiasm about his possible arrival, so he eventually chose to go there and become Denny Hamlin's crew chief.

Team president J.D. Gibbs said the team was already leaning toward parting ways with Mike Ford when Grubb became available, but he wasn't clear on how closely the two moves were linked.

Either way, Grubb presented a better "long-term" fit for the organization, Gibbs said.

Grubb said his motivation for the next few seasons came from wanting to win a championship with Hamlin – not to prove Tony Stewart made a mistake by firing him.

"I didn't choose to not be a crew chief with the situation I was in before," he said. "I really don't feel like I have anything to prove ... I'm not going to do anything for spite, because those are all the wrong reasons. I want to do it because I want to win a championship with those guys."

Will Grubb take all of Chevy/Hendrick's information with him to Toyota? The crew chief said he left all the technical information behind, but acknowledged "You can't unlearn lessons you've learned."

"Hopefully I can take those and put those to good use and try to win a championship with the 11 car," he said.

Gibbs ducked a question when asked by a reporter whether JGR was done with crew chief changes for this offseason or whether there would be more. The query was made because rumors persist about No. 20 team crew chief Greg Zipadelli trying to get his release from JGR to join Stewart-Haas as its competition director.

"This is all we're really focused on right now," Gibbs said. "I'm sure we'll have other discussions in the future, which we do every year. But right now, this is all we're looking at."

Gibbs also said Ford had been granted his release from JGR and was free to look for other jobs.

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