None of the four drivers who will compete for the Sprint Cup championship this weekend have ever won a Cup title and only one of their crew chiefs has a Cup championship on his resume.
Darian Grubb, crew chief for the No. 11 Toyota of Denny Hamlin, won the title in 2011 while working for Tony Stewart. In 2011, Grubb had already been informed that he would not be returning to Stewart’s team the following year.
This year, his future plans again are uncertain, but he’s expected to remain with Joe Gibbs Racing, which has indicated that it will do some personnel shifting in the offseason as the team adds Carl Edwards to its driver lineup.
“I’m not updating any résumés or anything like that,” Grubb said on this week’s NASCAR teleconference, which featured all four championship contending crew chiefs. “We know we all have jobs. There’s security. We all know for a fact that we’re going to be working together within this organization, so we’re going to go out and try to finish the business at hand first no matter what happens and try to win that trophy at Homestead.”
He said he wouldn’t be upset if he were to win the title again, only to find himself working with a different driver the next year.
“To me, that doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’m still going to do the same effort and the same work that I do every week regardless of who I’m working for.
“If it’s Denny again next year, we’re going to try to win two in a row. And if it’s for somebody else, then we’re going to try to win together that way also.”
Crew chief Todd Gordon has the youngest and least experienced driver in the title hunt, but he said his driver, Joey Logano, 24, is mature enough to win the title on Sunday.
“It’s a different format and it’s one race to get it done,” Gordon said. “I think Joey has the mental maturity and his ability to focus in when he needs to to be very successful in this format.”
Ambrose’s goodbye: Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead will be the final Cup race for Marcos Ambrose before he returns to his native Australia to resume his career in the V8 Supercar series.
“It’s been about nine years since my family and I came over the water to try out this experiment of NASCAR and it’s been great,” Ambrose said. “We’ve won races, had good runs and met a lot of wonderful people. But it’s time to take my family back across the pond and go home.”
He said he’d like to leave his fellow NASCAR drivers a little something to remember him by this weekend at Homestead.
“We are finishing our NASCAR season and we just want to spoil the guys in the Chase,” he said.
Newest up-and-comer: While most of the racing world has been talking this week about the success of another youngster, Chase Elliott, who clinched the Nationwide Series championship last week at Phoenix International Raceway, another 18-year-old driver is making a strong case to be included in the up-and-coming category.
Erik Jones won last week’s Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix, which gives him four truck wins in just 17 career starts in the series. He got his first truck win last year at Phoenix and also has victories this year at Iowa Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Jones, who drives the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports in his limited schedule, said he’s looking forward to a full-time ride for KBM in 2015.
“Just excited for next year, full season with them and chasing down the championship,” he said. “It’s going to be a great year for sure. Can’t wait to get it started. It’s been an awesome season with three wins. Just can’t believe it.”