Approaching the Indianapolis Motor Speedway race weekend, JTG Daugherty Racing announced today significant changes that include a new general manager and crew chief change for the No. 47 single-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operation.
Bobby Hutchens joins the racing organization as general manager.
“Bobby Hutchens is someone I have admired for a long time and the individual I’ve turned to many times for direction over my 18 years as a car owner,” said JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter. “In my opinion, he is the best in the business and we are fortunate to have someone of his caliber step in to help steer our team in the right direction during this important transition.”
David Hyder will assume the role as interim crew chief for this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“We have our eye on the crew chief that we want for the long term, but couldn’t get it all done in time for the next few races,” Geschickter said. “We would rather make the right decision for the long term. We are fortunate to have David Hyder working at JTG Daugherty Racing every day as crew chief for the K&N Pro Series East team that we have been preparing each week for Cale Conley. He has a wealth of Sprint Cup experience and we know he will do a great job until we make our decision.”
Todd Berrier, who joined JTG Daugherty Racing at the end of the 2011 season as crew chief and general manager, recently accepted a position with another team that was announced today. Co-owner Brad Daugherty stated that the departure will not deter the team from reaching its goals.
“Todd Berrier did a great job and we wish him the best in his new opportunity,” Daugherty said. “We have great people throughout the organization and with the leadership of a champion like Bobby Hutchens we will stay focused on being the number one single-car team competing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit.”
This season, Labonte’s best finish in 19 starts is 10th at Daytona International Speedway in the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola. Following the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion is 23rd in the official driver standings. In the midst of the season, Labonte and his team embrace the changes.
“Like Tad mentioned, Hyder has been in our race shop all year with the K&N Pro Series East team and he knows all the guys and some of them have worked on his cars,” Labonte said. “The fact that he already knows everyone and has experience in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, makes him a great choice to help us in our transition.
“Bobby Hutchens is very knowledgeable and experienced,” Labonte continued. “He has a want and desire to do this, which will really help our small team become more structured so that we can keep moving forward. This is going to be a great advantage for us.”
Labonte’s team is prepared for the Brickyard this weekend as they display SCOTT Products on the hood of the No. 47 Toyota Camry. In 18 starts at the Brickyard, Labonte has one win (8/05/2000), four top five, five top 10 and has led 30 laps. His best start is 3rd (2000) and he holds the race record (155.912 mph on 08/05/2000).
“I think it’s going to be a little different this time around because it is the first time the NASCAR Nationwide Series cars are on the track,” Labonte said. “Normally, the track usually tightens up throughout race. This track is fun and challenging. It can be a hard track to pass on. Therefore, track position is going to be the key. I love going there. The year I won there with Joe Gibbs Racing, we were on a roll. We had everything going for us. After it was all said and done, not many guys can say they’ve won there. It’s just an awesome feeling. At the end of the day reflecting back, we won the Brickyard and the championship in the same year. It’s a neat feather in your cap. I’m looking forward to being back and racing there this weekend.”