Hendrick Motorsports announced on Wednesday that Greg Ives will crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 Sprint Cup Series team beginning in 2015. Current crew chief Steve LeTarte is leaving at the end of the season for a broadcast opportunity with NBC Sports as he puts more focus back on his family.
“Greg was our number-one choice,” Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick said. “This is a talented guy who already has a terrific rapport with Dale Jr. and is a fit with the organization. He and Chad had a lot of success together, and all of our crew chiefs think the world of him and what he’s accomplished. Greg’s proven that he can win races, and he has all the tools to do big things.”
Ives began his career at Hendrick Motorsports in 2004 as a mechanic, before moving into the position as an engineer on Jimmie Johnson’s team in 2006. Ives was the race engineer for Johnson’s historic run of five consecutive Sprint Cup Series. With taking his spot on the 88 team for 2014, he will work alongside Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knaus in the 48/88 shop at Hendrick.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me and my family,” the 34-year-old said. “Dale Jr. and I have a great relationship from being in the same shop at Hendrick Motorsports and my time at JRM. We have a lot left to do this season in the Nationwide Series, but I’m excited about what’s ahead and look forward to sharing some wins with JR Nation in the future. I couldn’t ask for a better situation than working with one of the best drivers and teams in racing.”
The Bark River, Michigan native has spent the previous two seasons at JR Motorsports, crew chiefing in the Nationwide Series. In 2012, he worked with Regan Smith, leading Smith to two victories and a third place finish in points. Currently, Ives is working with Chase Elliott this year and has three victories while leading the point standings.
“I know what Greg is all about and really respect him,” Earnhardt said. “He’s a strong leader with a cool personality, and we’re both competitors who want to win. It was important to find someone who would fit at Hendrick Motorsports and inside our shop, and he will for sure do that. We got the best guy for the job, and I look forward to working with him next year.
“From a JR Motorsports perspective, I’m extremely proud of how this worked out. Since the end of 2012, we’ve focused on JRM and Hendrick Motorsports working together as closely as possible and developing talented people for the next level. This is a perfect example of that happening the way we hoped it would.”