Joe Gibbs Racing has signed champion crew chief Darian Grubb to work alongside Denny Hamlin in 2012.
Grubb lands at JGR after winning the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title with Tony Stewart, having worked at Stewart Haas Racing for the past three seasons and with Hendrick Motorsports for six years before that. He replaces Mike Ford, who had been with Hamlin since 2006, coming closest to the championship last year when they led the Chase into the season finale, winning eight races through the year.
This season Hamlin made it into the Chase, as he has done ever year since his first full season in Cup, but won only once before the playoff series and went on to finish ninth in the championship.
"I'm thrilled to join Joe Gibbs Racing," said Grubb. "The chance to work with Denny is something I'm excited about.
"When you sit down with Joe and J.D. Gibbs you can't help but be excited about this opportunity and the team aspects of JGR. There is no question about the level of support you get here and I'm looking forward to working with everyone across the entire organization."
Grubb's experience as crew chief is not as lengthy as Ford's but he has won races with each driver he has been paired with, since filling in for Chad Knaus in the 2006 Daytona 500, when Jimmie Johnson started his first championship season with a victory.
"Darian is a great addition to our organization and person to lead our No. 11 FedEx team," said team owner Joe Gibbs. "Obviously he has proven the ability to guide a team to a championship and we are excited to have him working with Denny toward achieving that goal here at Joe Gibbs Racing."
Following today's announcement it remains to be seen where Ford will land, with an opening at Penske Racing being left following Steve Addington's departure to Stewart-Haas Racing. A crew chief for Danica Patrick's part-season schedule with SHR is also yet to be named.