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Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 2015 crew chief will come from his organization

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Jeff Siner - jsiner@charlotteobserver.com
Chief Greg Ives (right) talks with former NASCAR star Bill Elliott after Elliott's son, Chase Elliott (9) ran practice laps on Feb. 20, 2014 at Daytona International Speedway. Ives will be crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the 2015 season, Hendrick Motorsports announced on Wednesday.

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  • Next Race

    GoBowling.com 400

    Where: Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Pa.

    When: 1 p.m., Sunday

    TV: ESPN

    Radio: Motor Racing Network

    Last year’s winner: Kasey Kahne



Hendrick Motorsports didn’t have to look far to find a new crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Greg Ives, a former engineer on Jimmie Johnson’s Sprint Cup Series team and currently Chase Elliott’s crew chief in the Nationwide Series, will assume the same role for Earnhardt in the Cup series beginning next season.

Ives, 34, will replace the No. 88 team’s crew chief, Steve Letarte, who will move into a broadcasting role with NBC Sports after the 2014 Cup season.

For the remainder of the year, Letarte and Ives will remain in their current roles.

“I know what Greg is all about and really respect him,” Earnhardt said. “He’s a strong leader with a cool personality, and we’re both competitors who want to win. It was important to find someone who would fit at Hendrick Motorsports and inside our shop, and he will for sure do that. We got the best guy for the job.”

This season at JR Motorsports, Ives and Elliott, the 18-year-old son of 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup champion Bill Elliott, have won three races and lead the points standings. Ives served as crew chief last season for Regan Smith, who won two races and finished third in the standings.

A native of Bark River, Mich., and graduate of Michigan Tech, Ives joined HMS as a mechanic in 2004 before moving into an engineering role on Johnson’s No. 48 team in 2006.

“Dale Jr. and I have a great relationship from being in the same shop at Hendrick Motorsports and my time at JRM,” Ives said. “We have a lot left to do this season in the Nationwide Series, but I’m excited about what’s ahead and look forward to sharing some wins with JR Nation in the future.”

Notes

Summer Shootout champions: Six champions were crowned Tuesday night after the final round of the 21st annual Summer Shootout Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Daniel Hemric, Joshua Brimecombe, Tom Pistone, Carson Ferguson, Jensen Jorgensen and DJ Canipe won their respective divisions.

Hemrick won the Legend Car Pro division; Brimecombe the Legend Car Semi-Pro division; Pistone the Legend Car Masters division; Ferguson the Legend Car Young Lions division; Jorgensen the Bandolero Outlaws division; and Canipe the Bandolero Bandits division.

Final Dash4Cash race: Saturday night’s Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway will mark the fourth and final round of the Dash4Cash program, which awards $100,000 to an eligible series regular in the race.

Ty Dillon won the $100,000 bonus last weekend at Indianapolis and is eligible again this weekend. Joining him are Trevor Bayne, Brian Scott and Smith. Whoever finishes the highest among the four will win the bonus.

This week, a fan will be paired with each driver, giving a fan the opportunity to win the bonus as well.

Blaney on a roll: With a string of six consecutive top-10 finishes, Ryan Blaney has catapulted from ninth to first in the Truck series standings.

Blaney, who drives for Brad Keselowski Racing, leads Matt Crafton by four points heading into Saturday’s race at Pocono (Pa.), where he is the defending winner.

Fall run at Darlington: Registration for the Darlington Marathon is available at DarlingtonMarathon.com. The 5K and a 1.366-mile fun run will take place Sept. 26 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The half and full marathons, along with a marathon relay, will begin at 7 a.m. Sept. 27.

White begins new Truck ride: Jason White will run a part-time schedule this season in the Truck Series with NTS Motorsports and will make his debut with the team Saturday at Pocono.

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