Eury Leaves DEI, Joins JR Motorsports

Eury Leaves DEI, Joins JR Motorsports

Eury Leaves DEI, Joins JR Motorsports
RacingOne.com

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has turned to a familiar face and proven winner to help lead the competition efforts of his race team, announcing today that his uncle and longtime NASCAR crew chief, Tony Eury Sr., has been named Director of Competition at JR Motorsports.

Commonly referred to as "Pops" around the NASCAR garage, Eury Sr. will oversee competition and technical support for all of JR Motorsports, which includes a full-time NASCAR Busch Series program, a USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series entry, and three late model teams. His new role at JRM will begin immediately, as he will work closely with crew chief Wes Ward, motorsports director Steve Crisp, and driver Shane Huffman in preparation for Saturday’s Camping World 200 NASCAR Busch Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on ABC). The No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life team enters the weekend on the heels of consecutive top-10 finishes at Kentucky and Milwaukee.

"Tony Sr. brings wins, championships, and an immeasurable amount of knowledge to JR Motorsports," Earnhardt Jr. said. "He also brings a sense of trust that you only have in family. This company needs his expertise, and I’m glad he sees the potential at JR Motorsports to want to work here. I hope I can provide him the same amount of success here that he has achieved over the years, and I hope he enjoys working here as much as I know he enjoyed working at DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.)."

Earnhardt Jr.’s latest addition continues a racing bond between the Eurys and Earnhardts that started more than three decades ago when Eury Sr. accompanied his longtime Kannapolis, N.C., friend, Dale Earnhardt Sr., to Daytona International Speedway in 1976. Racing in the NASCAR Sportsman Division (later renamed the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series) Earnhardt finished 13th in his first-ever race at Daytona. Eury continued to work on Earnhardt’s cars and travel to select races on a part-time basis through the mid-80s before joining Earnhardt’s company full time in 1987.

As a crew chief at DEI, Eury worked with a vast assortment of drivers who took turns driving Earnhardt’s Busch Series entry, including Neil Bonnett, David Bonnett, Bobby Hillin, Ben Hess, Jody Ridley, Michael Waltrip, Steve Park, and, of course, Earnhardt himself. His biggest challenge, however, came prior to the 1998 season when he was asked to mold an up-and-coming driver that had very little professional stock-car racing experience.

"I remember Dale coming up to me and asking if I could make a driver out of Dale Jr.," Eury Sr. said. "My remark to him was I don’t know why we can’t. Why would you want to spend money on someone else’s kid when you can spend money on your own kid?"

The partnership produced immediate results. With Eury Sr. as crew chief, Earnhardt Jr. collected 13 wins, 34 top-five finishes, and back-to-back NASCAR Busch Series championships in 1998 and 1999. The pair made the inevitable leap to the Nextel Cup Series, starting with a limited five-race schedule in 1999 and then the full slate in 2000. Eury Sr. remained Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief through 2004, winning 15 races, the Winston All-Star race, and the Daytona 500 before turning the reigns over to his son, Tony Eury Jr.

"Pops and I have a long history together, and I’m excited to see what he can bring to this company," Earnhardt Jr. said. "We’ve worked really hard to build JR Motorsports to what it is today, but it’s time we take it to the next level. There is nobody that can motivate a group of people better than Pops. I think his leadership and knowledge of race cars will benefit all the teams and employees at JR Motorsports."

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