Earnhardt Ganassi makes changes ahead of 2012 season

Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images
The 2011 season was a disappointment for the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teams. Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya both finished outside of the top 20 this season: McMurray was 27th while Montoya fared just slightly better in 21st. 

That is a letdown when you consider that McMurray's 2010 season featured a Daytona 500 win along with a victory at the Brickyard 400, while Chip Ganassi's IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti also won the Indianapolis 500, scoring the owner the "triple crown" of auto racing. McMurray won three Cup races that season, and Montoya added one win to the team tally.

In comparison, 2011 has only brought McMurray two top 5s and four top 10s with a total of five DNFs. Montoya's stats are no better with two top 5s and eight top 10s.

With the season just having concluded, changes are being made at the organization to prepare for 2012. An announcement came this week that longtime competition director Steve Hmiel, team manager Tony Glover and lead engineer Ed Nathman have all been released from the organization.

Hmiel had been with Earnhardt Ganassi since its merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc. and spent 11 years with the organization.

Glover has also been with the team since the beginning. He was originally a crew chief and team manager at Sabco Racing, which Chip Ganassi purchased in 2000. Glover is a three-time Daytona 500 winning crew chief with drivers Ernie Irvan in 1991 and Sterling Marlin in 1994 and 1995.

These changes follow the news that Juan Pablo Montoya will have a new crew chief atop the No. 42 pit box next season as Chris Heroy assumes that responsibility. Heroy was a highly coveted engineer at Hendrick Motorsports and is a first-time crew chief. He replaces interim crew chief Jim Pohlman, who took over crew chief duties for the team at Indianapolis.

With the shakeup, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing hopes the changes will help the organization find its way back to victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series in 2012.

Earnhardt Ganassi makes changes ahead of 2012 season Earnhardt Ganassi makes changes ahead of 2012 season Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, December 02, 2011 Rating: 5