|Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his uncle, Tony Eury Sr., at Texas in 2010. Eury Sr. is stepping |
down as competition director of JR Motorsports. Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 7, 2012) – JR Motorsports and its competition director of five years, Tony Eury Sr., announced today the decision to amicably part ways, effective today.
Eury is a winner of 55 NASCAR races in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series as a crew chief.
He has 28 years in the NASCAR industry, the last five of which were served as competition director and crew chief for JR Motorsports. The company has amassed all nine of its victories under Eury’s watch. JR Motorsports’ last victory came on Sept. 4, 2010, with driver Jamie McMurray.
“The conversation Tony Sr. and I had was one of the most difficult I’ve ever been a part of,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports. “I believe Tony Sr.’s passion for the sport is exceeded only by his yearning to excel in it, and that itself became the issue that both he and I struggled with. At JR Motorsports we do this to win races and compete for championships, and lately we have not met that standard. Being the competitor that Tony Sr. is, I know that bothers him more than anyone.”
In an effort to improve performance, a crew chief swap was implemented in April between Eury Sr. and Bruce Cook. Cook took over of the company’s flagship No. 88 team driven by Cole Whitt, while Eury turned his attention to the partial entry No. 5 team driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ron Fellows while still serving as competition director. Whitt responded with two top-fives and eight top-10s in 19 races, while the Earnhardt/Fellows duo scored fifth-place finishes in three of its four races.
The No. 5 entry has no more races scheduled in 2012. Eury Sr.’s son, Tony Eury Jr., remains crew chief for JR Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevrolet and co-owner of the company with Earnhardt Jr. and Earnhardt-Miller.
“I want what’s best for Dale Jr., Kelley, Tony Jr., and all those employees. I really do,” said Eury Sr.
“We accomplished a lot in a short time, and nobody is prouder of that than I am. I’m not sure what’s next for me, and I’m not sure I’m in a hurry to find out.”
Eury came to JR Motorsports in 2007, compiling seven wins, 48 top-fives and 86 top-10s as crew chief of the No. 88 team. Prior to that he spent 21 years at Dale Earnhardt Inc., where he won two Nationwide Series championships with Earnhardt Jr. in 1998 and 1999.
“I can’t think of anyone who has impacted my career and development as a driver more than Tony Sr.,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I know my dad ultimately put me in the Nationwide Series car back in the ’90s, but Tony Sr. was the one who convinced him to do it. He was with me through two Nationwide Series championships and five full seasons as a Cup driver. We won a lot of races together, and as much as he impacted my career as a race car driver, he means more to me on a personal level. He’s done a lot for this organization, and I thank him for it.”
- Courtesy of JRM release