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Thursday, February 2, 2023
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Lance McGrew Retires From Hendrick Motorsports After 23 Years With Team

Lance McGrew retire nascar cup series hendrick motorsports crew chief
Lance McGrew (right), seen here with Jimmie Johnson at a NASCAR Cup Series test in 2007, has retired following a 23-year career with Hendrick Motorsports. Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

Lance McGrew, an integral piece of the Hendrick Motorsports family for the last 23 years, has officially retired, according to an article on HendrickMotorsports.com.

The 54-year-old says that he had countless good memories during his time with the organization.

“You’ve been in the business for so long you tend to forget a lot of things,” McGrew said in the interview on the Hendrick Motorsports website. “All the little nuances and the people that you’ve worked with. The people that have come and gone. Places you’ve been to and seen outside of the racetrack. It’s just too many good times to remember.”

McGrew’s tenure in the Hendrick Motorsports family began in 1999, when he served as a crew member on Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 NASCAR Xfinity Series (then Busch Series) team, JG Motorsports. By 2001, McGrew had been promoted to crew chief for the Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series program with Ricky Hendrick as his driver.

In their first season together, McGrew and Hendrick teamed to score a win, eight top-fives and 19 top-10 finishes. Hendrick would finish sixth in the Truck Series point standings that season.

As Ricky Hendrick transitioned from driver to the behind the scenes side of Hendrick Motorsports, McGrew was paired with up-and-coming driver Brian Vickers. The combination of McGrew and Vickers was a potent one, as out of the box, the duo scored a NASCAR Xfinity Series championship in 2003 after a three-win season.

McGrew would remain the crew chief of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports entry in the Xfinity Series in 2004, this time with Kyle Busch as his driver. That pairing was successful as well. Busch won an impressive five races in 2004 en route to a second-place finish in the Xfinity Series point standings.

McGrew guided Vickers through his 2005 and 2006 NASCAR Cup Series campaigns, where the duo scored Vickers’ first-career NASCAR Cup Series win at Talladega Superspeedway in the fall of 2006.

Following the 2006 season, McGrew was reassigned to the team’s research and development on the Car of Tomorrow (COT). Under McGrew’s leadership on the development of the COT, Hendrick Motorsports thrived as Jimmie Johnson won four straight championships to start off the tenure of the new car.

McGrew would be called back to the pit box to serve as the crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who had begun to fade in the team’s No. 88 entry.

McGrew and Earnhardt struggled to find success together over the remainder of the 2009 season, and they finished 21st in the championship standings in 2010.

The final year for McGrew as a crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series came with Mark Martin in 2011.

Following this stint as a crew chief in Cup, McGrew was tasked with helping bring Hendrick Motorsports development driver Chase Elliott up the ranks. I think things turned out well, as Elliott is now a NASCAR Cup Series champion.

Overall, McGrew secured 12 wins in the NASCAR National Series as a crew chief for Hendrick Motorsports, which is impressive in its own right, but its the work that McGrew did behind the scenes that led to the Hendrick Motorsports organization becoming one of the dominant forces in the history of the sport in the mid-2000s to now.

Toby Christie
Toby Christiehttp://tobychristie.com
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of TobyChristie.com. Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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