Veteran official Robin Pemberton leaving NASCAR

Pemberton AP

Robin Pemberton, one of NASCAR’s more influential figures over the past several decades, is leaving the sport at the end of the year.

Pemberton had a successful career as a crew chief before joining the sanctioning body in 2004. His most recent role has been NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition.

“Robin has left an indelible mark on the sport while at NASCAR,” NASCAR vice chairman Mike Helton said in a statement. “He joined us at a critical time and very quickly gave our highly visible competition group the credibility and confidence it needed to be successful with the industry. He traded a successful career as a competitor to help lead the sport for 12 seasons. We’re extremely grateful for his many contributions.”

At NASCAR, Pemberton helped revamp the inspection and rules process and oversaw a switch to the Electronic Fuel Injection and blended race fuels. He also helped develop and introduce NASCAR’s “Generation 6” car in 2013, a vehicle that had several safety and technological improvements.

Pemberton is perhaps best known for saying “Boys, have at it,” during a 2010 news conference, encouraging drivers to police themselves on the track.

Pemberton began his 17-year career as a crew chief in 1985 and led teams with drivers that included Bobby Allison, Mark Martin, Kyle Petty and Rusty Wallace. His most successful seasons were with Martin (finishing second in points in 1990) and Wallace (with whom he won 15 races in seven seasons).

“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish during my time at NASCAR,” Pemberton said. “This sport has been my entire professional career and working with all the competitors and the auto manufacturers for the last 12 seasons has been a thrill. I feel good knowing that the work this team has done has had a positive impact on the sport.”