Thursday, May 28, 2009

Breaking Today: Tony Eury Jr. Out As #88 Crew Chief

Once again there is big breaking news in NASCAR and SPEED has nothing on the air until Friday from Dover. NASCAR Now and Nicole Manske get another huge story the day after the Tony George mess was exposed by Robin Miller...from SPEED.

So, what everyone expected has finally happened. Tony Eury Jr. is moving to the Research and Development area inside Hendrick Motorsports and Lance McGrew is taking over the #88 team on an interim basis.

Hendrick has made it clear that all the resources of that organization will be used to help the performance of Dale Earnhardt Junior's team. In corporate speak, that means Junior better step-up to the plate and right now.

It should be interesting to see who winds-up reporting on this story for NASCAR Now and who comes on the show to speak as the expert analyst. The topper for ESPN would be to get Rick Hendrick live to be interviewed directly by Manske. She has turned out to be a natural in the studio setting and her hard-hitting interviews with some of the top personalities in the sport have been well worth watching.

NASCAR Now is at 6:30PM ET and re-airs at 11:30PM Pacific Time. Please feel free to add your comments on this topic below. Just click on the comments button. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Anonymous said...

I hope that Rick Hendrick is interviewed by someone like Marty Smith. I find Manske a very rude person.

jamie in NC said...

teresa...eury jr.......who will be next to take the fall for the great joon-yer

cvt said...

Speed can interrupt normal schedules for Dale Jr press conferences but not this? Hendrick is painting Jr into a tight corner with these developments. It will be interesting how he responds and how the tv press covers it.

Personally, I doubt it will change much. Until some strong personality takes control of the team,(a la Petree's comments)and takes Dale out to some track for a few days and tests with telemetry to establish what he describes is what the car is really doing, everyone will continue to spin their collective wheels trying to right this ship.

When Mark Martin can step into the 5 team and win, without any prior relationship with the team principals,you know it ain't the Hendrick organization.

Anonymous said...

Juneyer will completely be out of excuses here very shortly. When Hendrick makes statements like that he's pointing directly to one person. It's the one who can't find his pit stall.

He's simply not worth the hype.

Richard in N.C. said...

Yes, another example of the sad decline in SPEED's weekday fare - except for new episodes of WRECKED.

It would seem to me that for the good of the sport, especially in today's economy, NASCAR should try to get some more NASCAR programming on even if it and/or the tracks have to sponsor it. Or, at least, maybe EESPN could replay N-NOW a 2nd time on EESPN Classic.

Maybe Tony, Jr. is just not a good "in race" crew chief - they seem to have had a lot of problems in the last 1/4 or so of several races. As I recall Dale, Jr. won 2 Busch championships and 15 Cup races with Tony, Sr. or someone else on the box. Even Larry Mac and Ironhead were not a winning combination.

Richard in N.C. said...

Oh, yes, tonight would be the perfect night to have Ray E. on N-NOW.

TexasRaceLady said...

I've always thought that TonyJr and DaleJr were too close in age to be a successful team.

Dale was good when Pops was on the box --- because Pops was his Uncle and because he had the authority.

I think Dale needs someone he respects as an authority figure --someone to tell him to shut up and drive.

At least Lance McGrew does have experience with many drivers, and with Dale last year in the 5 N'wide car.

Anonymous said...

SPEED needs to develop their own nightly version of NASCAR Now. Period.

Good move by Hendrick. If you've ever heard JR and Tony JR on the radio, you'd know that while they are close, they do not speak to each other like professionals. It might help Dale immensely when he has a crew chief that won't tolerate profanity as the only feedback on how the car is operating in the turns.

ALso - everyone is dead right. The spotlight is now firmly on Dale Jr. Hell, even Jeff Gordon is lifting weights now. It is time for JR to step up and leave the party lifestyle and focus on his career.

I hope they put Manske on this. I'm not a huge fan of hers, but Marty Smith seems so buddy-buddy with the 88 team that I don't expect any hard questions out of him.

Anonymous said...

PS Classy move by Hendrick (would you expect anything less) by not firing Tony Jr outright and at least keeping him employed. I bet there are a lot of other teams, maybe Childress teams, who would love Tony Jr on their pit box. The man is smart, he just is too close to the people hes currently working with.

Anonymous said...

Also, I hope NASCAR NOW gets JR on the air, not Hendrick. Rick Hendrick is the king of talky slowly, smiling, and not saying much if he doesn't want to. Personally, I'd be much more interested in not only hearing from Dale Jr, but seeing his demeanor. Is he looking at this as an opportunity or as punishment? His body language would give the answer.

The Loose Wheel said...

TRL said it for me I believe.

This was a move that was going to be made at some point. Ive been very critical of how Rick has handled Jr from day one. He relaxed his standards the moment they brought him in, they allowed Jr to bring his crew chief when they had Darian Grubb sitting right there ready to make it happen. Just several things that never made full sense to me.

the excuses will be out shortly. I dont know that Whitesill is the answer nor do I think McGrew is that guy but one can hope. Sounds like they are hoping that Jr can form a relationship with Lance quickly but if that doesn't happen we're looking ahead to 2010 I believe.

Anonymous said...

Dave Moody on Sirius NASCAR Radio pointed out that he said from the start--Junior should have looked at the number of Championship trophies on Hendrick's mantle vs. the number on his, done, the math, and said, "Mr. Hendrick, how do YOU want to do this?" instead of insisting on his own CC and crew.

cvt said...

TRL "...Dale was good when Pops was on the box ---"

the stats they used on last night's showed...15 wins with Eury,Sr.

Anonymous said...

With Tony Jr. as crew chief, Dale Jr was the boss. With someone else as crew chief, they can maybe have a shot of being the leader of the team.

I saw Jimmie Johnson on Trackside this Friday and he talked about how hands-off he is and how much he lets Chad make decisions and how he focuses on input. What a 180-degree difference from the way Tony-Dale were operating.

Who will score the first Dale Jr interview? Will it be Marty Smith? Will we have to wait to pre-race Dover? Will David Newton write a long story citing "anonymous sources" that tells us how Dale is really feeling? Who will get the scoop?

Anonymous said...

Tony Jr. isn't the crew chief on Dale's Nationwide team -- and he can't run up front there, either.

I think Ed Hinton or Darryl Waltrip (Sunday) get the first JR interview.

Dot said...

Wow, it's about time. I'm so glad that Mr H left the other teams intact.

I think JR and Mr H should appear together. My guess is Marty will do the interview.

I don't know anything about CC McGrew. I just hope he can help JR and the 88 team. If not, it will be him who is blamed. I don't envy him. Talk about being under the microscope.

Richard in N.C. said...

Rick Hendrick did not become so successful by being dumb. He's taken Dale, Jr. off the hook by removing Tony, Jr. - Hendrick did it, rather than putting Dale, Jr. on the spot to have to do it, apparently. Also, in my view he took some of the heat off Tony. Jr.'s replacement by making him "interim" crew chief.

Heard Eric K. on ESPN Radio this afternoon talking about Dale, Jr. and Tony, Jr. and he sounded more interested and engaged than when he was on N-Now.

Jo from SC said...

Good work by Marty Smith today, especially the exclusive interview with Lance McGrew before the HMS PR people got to him. (Speed could hardly televise a teleconference, BTW.) Manske's naievete showed when she asked Ray Evernham what advice he gave Rick Hendrick on the situation--Ray handled the dumb question very neatly. I would have liked to have seen somebody bring up the Terry Labonte parallels--Hendrick let TL and his crew chief go their own way on chassis (they bought theirs rather than using in-house chassis) and setups and the 5 car couldn't keep up with the 24 and 48. Looks like the 88 was playing the same game and that McGrew is being sent in to change the corporate culture of the 88 team that came over from DEI--good luck to him.

Anonymous said...

Great job by Dale Jarrett in reining in Mankse's speculation. Very good perspective where she was trying to go for the blame game.

Vicky D said...

Some of the questions Manske has asked on NN in the last few weeks have been very strange to us. I think we all knew this was coming - now let's see some results.

red said...

jd, i gotta say: mcgrew wasn't one of the names i thought was kicking around the garage . . .

guess it's a deeper housecleaning than just a crew chief replacement. sounds like a culture shift.

Dot said...

JD, can you, or will you let a fellow Planeteer give us a little bio on McGrew? Thanks.

I have a feeling he's gonna be on TV quite frequently in the coming weeks.

glenc1 said...

I think McGrew was a logical choice...he was just kinda stealth...I agreed with Andy P the other day, they didn't need some young kid, they needed experience. They found a voice of reason who hopefully can *tell* him what to do. I'm guessing Jr had some say on the 'who'. I'm rooting for it to work out; I just like Junior, can't help myself.

cvt--there have *always* been one or two Hendrick teams that never ran as well as the others. Rick is very good, but he's not a god. Mark is exceptional; he's not average. The 25 car ran mediocre for years with a host of drivers.

And I hope Tony E Jr finds a home...perhaps bringing up a younger driver. I agree, *not* having a relationship with someone can be a good thing.

I thought Ray was okay, he was choosing his words carefully, but it was nice to hear his insight on Rex. I agree with Jo, Nicole's 'advice' question was presumptuous, and his answer was good.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that NN spent an entire show expolring the Jr and Jr situation from so many perspectives. Good grief, this was not World War III.

As others here, I could not believe some of the questions Manske asked just to keep the thread going.

She is a collegue of Ray Evernham, and she unbelievably asked him if he would be a crew chief for Dale Jr!! Mankse ought to watch NN more often. Ray has said over and over again he would not return to NASCAR and NEVER be a crew chief again. (He would go to HMS in some capacity, but certainly not to deal with the constant of NASCAR.)

Ray has not been a crew chief in many years. Since then he has been a car owner and made millions and millions of dollars when he sold his team.

One has to wonder if Manske got a chance she'd ask Rick Hendrick if he would drive again. Maybe she'd ask Roush, Childress the same.

NN and the ESPN gang kept the Mayfield saga going when there was nothing to tell. They mostly went after NASCAR and tired to egg drivers into complaining about the "list."

JJ Yeley has on his site a memo from Tuesday (2 days ago) that the #41 Toyota would not compete at Dover. JJ said "No reason given at this time."

Then Jayski had the list of those competing at Dover (Wed.) and the #41 was included. Shana also said that Mayfield Motorsports would be racing.

What is going on? I mean certainly from Tuesday to Thrusday someone at ESPN could have gone to the shop and seen if there were any bodies there. Maybe ESPN has been so pro-Mayfield that they just could not bear to do it.

Let's see what they do Friday.

Anonymous said...

@anon 4:31 they had a good one with NA$CAR Nation but it turned into a T&A show with sprinklings of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and name any tabloid show as they're all the same. Speed1 (Jim Liberatore) was implementing a lot of our suggestions and then he was let go and Chris Long came in and everything went to H - E - Double Hockeysticks in a handbasket.

Oh dear! How sad and scary that some off the wall questions were asked :(

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new column up about the Thursday edition of NASCAR Now on ESPN2 for your comments.