|Busch (L) and Rogers part company|
Multiple sources say Kyle Busch and longtime crew chief Dave Rogers will end their long-running association at season’s end, as part of a multi-divisional realignment involving both JGR and Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Since being named crew chief for the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota with three races remaining in the 2009 campaign, Rogers has guided the team to 13 victories in 175 starts and three Top-10 championship finishes. His sometimes-tempestuous relationship with Busch came to a head at Bristol Motor Speedway in late August, when Busch effectively abandoned his car on pit road after being involved in a crash and was told by Rogers to “park it behind the truck and take your whiny little ass to the bus.”
While Rogers’ departure from the No. 18 team was announced in-house on Tuesday of this week, no one from JGR has commented publically on the move. Rogers is expected to remain a part of JGR’s Sprint Cup Series operation, possibly as crew chief for newcomer Carl Edwards’ and the No. 19 Stanley Tools Toyota.
|Stevens (L) moves to Nationwide|
Sources close to the team say Adam Stevens will move from JGR’s Nationwide Series operation to replace Rogers atop the No. 18 pit box. Stevens has gone to Victory Lane five times this season with Busch, and is the obvious heir-apparent to Rogers.
Stevens will be replaced in the Nationwide Series garage by Eric Phillips, who has served as crew chief on the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Camping World Truck Series entry. Under his guidance, the Monster Energy team has won eight times in 17 starts this season with Busch (six wins) and Erik Jones (two wins). He won the Truck Series owner’s championship for KBM a year ago and is solidly in the running to defend that title this season.
There is no word on the 2015 status of Darien Grubb, who currently serves as crew chief for Denny Hamlin’s No, 11 Fed Ex Toyota at JGR. Jason Ratcliff is expected to return as crew chief for Matt Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota next season.