Photo: Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing

Rodden Out as Crew Chief for Kahne, Grubb Takes Over for Playoffs

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

After a dismal 21st place finish at Chicagoland Speedway to kick off the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, there will be a bit of a shake-up on top of the pit box for Kasey Kahne and his No. 5 team for the remainder of the season.

Darian Grubb, who served as the crew chief for Tony Stewart during his 2011 championship season and is the current director of competition systems for Hendrick Motorsports, will assume the crew chief role for Kahne’s team starting next weekend at New Hampshire and stay in that role for the final nine races of the 2017 playoffs.

“I’m looking forward to working with the team for the rest of the season,” said Grubb. “I enjoy competing in a playoffs environment, and we have tremendous resources at Hendrick Motorsports to pull from. I’m ready to get started this weekend.”

Along with his current role at HMS and his championship season with Stewart in 2011, Grubb has been at Hendrick for the majority of his professional career, first joining the organization in 2003 as a race engineer for Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 team. Grubb served in that role through the end of the 2006 season, even getting a promotion up to interim crew chief for four races in 2006, winning the Daytona 500 and at Las Vegas two weeks later.

Grubb moved over to Casey Mears’ team in 2007, leading his driver to a win in the Coca-Cola 600 before being named the engineering manager for the No. 5 and No. 88 teams the following season.

In 2009, Grubb left Hendrick to become crew chief for the No. 14 team at Stewart-Haas Racing, winning 11 races and the 2011 championship with Tony Stewart. He would move over to Joe Gibbs Racing from 2012 to 2015 to be crew chief for Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards, winning a total of nine races over those four seasons.

Grubb returned home to Hendrick in 2016 as the vehicle production director and was promoted to his current role last month.

“Darian is an extremely talented and experienced crew chief,” said Hendrick Motorsports president Marshall Carlson. “Having been back with us for more than 20 months, he knows all of our people and processes. There’s no one more prepared to hit the ground running at this point in the year.”

As far as Keith Rodden, who has been Kahne’s crew chief since 2015 and led the No. 5 team to one win (2017 Brickyard 400), he will remain under contract with Hendrick through the remainder of the year and will be reassigned other responsibilities within the company.

The crew chief change applies only to the 2017 season as Hendrick has yet to finalize who will serve as crew chief for the team in 2018, which will be renumbered to the No. 24 when William Byron takes over driving duties.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.