Earnhardt out of limbo

Seth Livingstone - NASCAR Wire Service Saturday, Aug 02 1528

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won the June 8 race at Pocono, says this week’s announcement of Greg Ives as his crew chief for 2015 was a huge relief.

“I don’t like being in limbo,” Earnhardt said.

But that doesn’t mean that parting ways with his current crew chief Steve Letarte is becoming any easier.

“There’s a lot of emotion,” said Earnhardt, who sits second in the Sprint Cup standings. “Every race gets a little bit harder knowing this is Steve’s last year. I know that winding down into the Chase is going to get pretty emotional for both of us.”

Earnhardt appears happy with the selection of Ives as well as the timing.

“We are not trying to photocopy Steve and plug in a guy just like him,” he said. “We want to try to get better. I think we have in making this decision. I already know how good Greg is, but know that Chad Knaus (Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief) and everybody believes in that decision. I think we will be even better off than we are today.”

Knaus says he’s looking forward to working alongside Ives at Hendrick Motorsports.

“Greg is obviously a very good fit with me and the rest of the team at the 48/88 shop,” Knaus said. “He worked his way up from a mechanic to a chassis set-up guy to the No. 48 lead engineer and won championships with us. I think from that standpoint (the decision) is really a no-brainer.

“Dale has matured enough now that he can handle (the situation). (Greg) brings fast race cars. When you have fast race cars everything else seems to just take care of itself.”