DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. – Mike Ford, see ya.
Darian Grubb, yer out.
Dave Rogers, thanks for stopping by.
Crew chiefs have come and gone for Denny Hamlin as Joe Gibbs Racing looks for the elixir that will bring Hamlin his first NASCAR championship.
Up next, Mike Wheeler, a longtime JRG employee and Hamlin's third consecutive new crew chief. The duo opened eyes at Speedweeks with a victory in the exhibition Sprint Unlimited.
Hamlin said the move was precipitated by a long-term plan to get Wheeler crew chief experience and then reunite him with the No. 11 team. Wheeler was an engineer for Hamlin's team for 10 years before he went to the Xfinity Series last year to crew chief.
"He's been through crew chief changes," Wheeler said. "They're hard for people."
Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus are the championship standard, winning six titles over 14 seasons at Hendrick Motorsports. Brad Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe have one championship over their five-year pairing.
The rest? Only three other combos have lasted at least three seasons.
The pressure is immediate for Wheeler — win Gibbs his first Daytona 500 in 23 years.
"We had such a long drought of not winning a championship," Hamlin said. "That pressure was starting to build and the frustration probably from Joe Gibbs Racing is starting to get felt from everyone, so we got that done and now it's just like, 'OK guys, let's win the 500.' "