Roswell, GA (Sept. 19, 2012) – Darian Grubb, crew chief for the No. 11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin, has been named the third quarter winner of the KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Crew Chief Spotlight Award.
Grubb, who led Hamlin to two victories and the top seed for the 10-race “Chase for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship,” during the third quarter, now has the inside track to the coveted KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Crew Chief of the Year Award. Grubb, who by the way, was the 2011 KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Crew Chief of the Year while leading Tony Stewart to the Sprint Cup title, also took the first quarter honors to start 2012.
The chemistry between Grubb and Hamlin has been evident all year, but kicked into high gear during the races leading up to the Chase. Grubb’s leadership of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 machine helped propel Hamlin to a runnerup-finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July to begin the third quarter. A sixth at Indy kept the team moving in the right direction, but it was back-to-back wins at Bristol and Atlanta, in which Grubb made critical decisions in the latter stages of both races, that elevated the team to four wins this season and the top of the heap to begin the Chase.
“This team deserves to win a championship,” said Grubb, who captured two KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Crew Chief of the Race awards during the third set of nine races. “We have really been able to communicate – not only Denny and I – but the entire team. I am just a part that came in here to help them out. We still have work to do in these final nine races to get the success we all want.”
The weekly race awards were voted on by the expert panel of Penske Racing Sprint Cup crew chiefs, Todd Gordon and Paul Wolfe, along with Claire B. Lang of SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and FOX/SPEED analyst and former champion crew chief Jeff Hammond.
“In a relatively short time, Darian Grubb has established a relationship with his driver, Denny Hamlin, that instills trust and belief in each other’s talents,” said Lang. “It’s hard not to miss how Hamlin’s confidence in himself and his team has grown with Grubb at the helm. Grubb’s leadership has helped bring Denny Hamlin to life this past quarter and into the chase with confidence. Congratulations to Darian for a hard-earned Crew Chief Spotlight award win.”
“Darian continues to amaze me with how he handles himself and his race team,” added Hammond. “Right out of the box at the beginning of the year, they were good, and now when it really counts, they have stepped it up again. I look for this No. 11 team to be a title contender, and for Darian to be tough to beat for his second straight KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Crew Chief of the Year Award. We will find out in November.”
Grubb is being presented a large bundle of KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* products and a check for $2,000 as a result of winning the third quarter Spotlight Award. Each quarterly winner has been awarded the same prize during the 2012 season. Chad Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, was the victor of the second quarterly Spotlight Award. The final quarterly winner will be announced after the November season finale’ in Homestead, FL.
The crew chief with the most quarterly wins will be honored as the KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Crew Chief of the Year, which will also be announced after season’s end, and will be presented a $10,000 check.
Penske’s Wolfe, crew chief for Brad Keselowski of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, has four wins – Bristol, Talladega, Kentucky and Chicago. The team now sits atop the Chase standings with nine races to go. Gordon and the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge have recorded a second-place finish at Martinsville earlier this year, and a fifth at Watkins Glen in August with Sam Hornish, Jr.
About the KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Crew Chief Challenge:
Gordon and Wolfe, along with Hammond and Lang, serve as the panel for the KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Crew Chief Challenge. Each week the quartet vote to determine The Crew Chief of the Race, based on which crew chief demonstrates the most outstanding strategy and ingenuity during each race. The winner won’t necessarily be the crew chief that goes to victory lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference to their team. The weekly winning crew chief receives a bundle of KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* products. Each Crew Chief of the Week is incontention to be named one of the four KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Crew Chief Spotlight awards and will be a guest on Lang’s “Dialed In” program on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 at 8 p.m. EST on Wednesdays throughout the season. The crew chief with the most quarterly wins will be honored as the KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $10,000 check and the end of the 2012 season.
About KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL*:
KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* partners with businesses to create Exceptional Workplaces for their employees and patrons. KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL* helps transform workplaces making them safer, healthier, and more productive. Key brands in this segment include KLEENEX®, SCOTT®, WYPALL*, KIMTECH* and JACKSON SAFETY*. KIMBERLY-CLARK PROFESSIONAL*, located in Roswell, Ga., is one of Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s four business segments and can be visited on the web at www.kcprofessional.com.