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Tony Eury Jr. out as Danica Patrick's NASCAR crew chief

September 17, 2012|By Jim Peltz
  • NASCAR driver Danica Patrick speaks to crew chief Tony Eury Jr. during a Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 1.
NASCAR driver Danica Patrick speaks to crew chief Tony Eury Jr. during a… (David Tulis / Associated…)

Tony Eury Jr., the crew chief who guided Danica Patrick's entry into NASCAR stock-car racing, has left her JR Motorsports team that races in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series.

"Unfortunately, Tony Jr. is no longer with the company," Dale Earnhardt Jr., the popular NASCAR driver who co-owns JR Motorsports, said in a statement.

Earnhardt said that "as we've discussed the direction of JR Motorsports moving forward, it is clear our differences in ideas were too vast to overcome." He did not elaborate on those differences.

Eury also is Earnhardt's cousin and a co-owner of JR Motorsports.

"I love him like a brother, and you'll never hear me say a bad thing about him," Earnhardt said of Eury, adding that a decision on Eury's successor to lead Patrick's No. 7 Nationwide car had not yet been made.

Ryan Pemberton, an experienced crew chief who recently joined JR Motorsports, was a leading candidate to succeed Eury, according to some news reports.

Patrick, the former IndyCar driver, is in her first full season in NASCAR's Nationwide Series.

After her 12th-place finish Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., she's 11th in the Nationwide point standings after 26 races, with no top-five finishes and two top-10 finishes.

Patrick also is driving in 10 races this year in NASCAR's elite Sprint Cup Series (in which Earnhardt competes) -- but with a different team, Stewart-Haas Racing -- with plans to graduate to that series in 2013.


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