The No. 5 team will have a new person atop the pit box for the next four NASCAR Cup Series races due to Cliff Daniels serving a suspension. Hendrick Motorsports has revealed that Kevin Meendering will be the man filling this role.
HMS announced the news on June 20 with a press release. The team confirmed that Meendering will be the crew chief at Nashville Superspeedway (June 26), Road America (July 3), Atlanta Motor Speedway (July 10), and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 17). Meendering is currently the competition development manager for Hendrick Motorsports, but he will take on an important role on a temporary basis.
Daniels is currently serving a four-race suspension due to an issue at Sonoma Raceway. Larson’s No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro lost a wheel after making a green-flag pit stop, which was a violation of Sections 10.5.2.6 in the NASCAR Rule Book: “Loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle.” This infraction resulted in suspensions for Daniels, front changer Donnie Tasser, and jackman Brandon Johnson.
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Meendering Has Previous Crew Chief Experience
The races at Nashville Superspeedway, Road America, Atlanta Motor Speedway, and New Hampshire Motor Speedway will not be the first races featuring Meendering as a crew chief. He has previous experience in both the Xfinity Series and Cup Series.
Meendering has called 119 races split between the two series. 98 were with JR Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler during the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Xfinity Series seasons. The two men celebrated three wins together during the 2016 season, and they ended the year second overall in the standings behind Daniel Suarez. The former Joe Gibbs Racing driver captured the championship by a mere two points.
Meendering also served as Jimmie Johnson‘s crew chief for part of the 2019 Cup Series season. He was atop the pit box for the first 21 races, which resulted in eight top-10 finishes, three top-fives, and one pole win. However, Daniels took over as the crew chief for the trip to Watkins Glen International, as well as the remainder of the year.
Larson & Meendering Will Pull Double-Duty 1 Week
While Larson did not expect to have Meendering atop the pit box for four Cup Series races, he did have another event on his schedule. The two men were already set to work together in a different NASCAR series.
HMS announced on June 2 that it would make a limited return to the Xfinity Series during the 2022 season. The organization will field the No. 17 Chevrolet Camaro at Road America on July 2, Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 30, and Watkins Glen International on August 20.
Larson will kick off the part-time schedule at Road America while working with Meendering. The two men will pull double-duty at the Wisconsin road course while trying to sweep the weekend. Bowman will then take over at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he makes his first Xfinity Series start since 2018. William Byron will round out the schedule with the trip to Watkins Glen International.