Surprisingly, Grubb found himself switching horses during the offseason, when JGR declined to re-sign him, in favor of veteran Dave Rogers. He was quickly snapped up by Hendrick Motorsports, where he punched-in Monday morning as HMS’s new Director of Vehicle Production. But as he told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Tradin’ Paint today, the move caught Grubb by surprise.
“I guess fifth in points just wasn’t good enough in some people’s eyes; five points away from running Homestead,’’ said Grubb, with more than a hint of bitterness. “I was somewhat surprised.”
Grubb is no stranger to solid seasons, followed by post-season unemployment. In 2011, he hoisted the Sprint Cup Series championship trophy at Homestead Miami Speedway just weeks after being told that he would not return the following season.
He revealed today that he was put on notice once again at the start of the 2015 Chase; warned that his job was not secure.
“The first conversation I had about it was one week into the Chase,” he said. “I was told that I needed to get nine more solid weeks in, and I was like, ‘Well, I’ve been through this before.’ Last time, it was six weeks’ notice. This time, it was nine.”
Grubb said he was never concerned about finding a new position.
“I knew something was going to come up. I knew I was going to be making some changes. I didn’t know what it was going to be, but I had to start thinking about it. I had to explore some options.”
The end result of that exploration is a new management position at HMS, where he will oversee production of race cars for drivers Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott. That position will require him to travel extensively, accompanying the four HMS teams to the racetrack more weekends than not. He understands that yet again, he will judged on performance, and performance alone.
“The performance of this entire organization is all about how four cars do on Sunday,” said Grubb. “We’re going to try to put forward whatever it takes to get the best product we can on the racetrack (and) give those four teams the best option they can have to win races.”
Nothing less will do for an owner as accustomed to success as Rick Hendrick. And as Grubb has learned the hard way in two of the last five years; it’s win, or else.