The driver of the No. 43 will have a new crew chief in 2022. Richard Petty Motorsports has revealed that Dave Elenz will join the team and work with Erik Jones in the NASCAR Cup Series after leaving the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the No. 9 team.
RPM announced the news with a press release on Wednesday, November 10. The team confirmed that Elenz will join forces with Jones as they kick off the Next Gen era. The 2022 season will mark Elenz’s first full season as a crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series following seven seasons in the Xfinity Series.
“I have watched Dave’s career develop, and I have always been impressed with him as a person and as a competitor,” Philippe Lopez, competition director for Richard Petty Motorsports, said in a statement from the team. “As a race engineer, he has won races and a championship in the NASCAR Cup Series, and as a crew chief he has won races and championships in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with a very diverse group of drivers. I am very excited to have him take on the role as crew chief for Richard Petty Motorsports as we rollout the Next Gen Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the 2022 season.”
Questions circulated about Jones’ future in the Cup Series throughout the season, but he made a major announcement on August 22. The Michigan native confirmed that he will return to RPM and the No. 43 for the 2022 season while pursuing the third win of his career.
Elenz Previously Won Championships With JR Motorsports
A NASCAR veteran that worked as both an engineer and a crew chief, Elenz has multiple championships on his resume. He secured his first during the 2013 season while working as an engineer for Hendrick Motorsports. Jimmie Johnson, the driver of the No. 48, won six races and secured his sixth championship.
Once he moved to JR Motorsports and took over as a crew chief, Elenz partnered with several drivers and secured wins. He guided Kevin Harvick (two), Chase Elliott (one), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one), William Byron (four), Tyler Reddick (two), and Noah Gragson (five).
The 2017 season featured Byron turning in a dominant performance for JR Motorsports with Elenz as his crew chief. He put the No. 9 Chevrolet in Victory Lane a series-high four times and secured his title with a third-place finish in the championship race.
One year later, Elenz and Reddick combined for two wins, including the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. They capped off the season with a win at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which secured the second consecutive championship for Elenz and JR Motorsports.
Gragson Confirmed Elenz’s Departure While in Phoenix
News first surfaced about Elenz’s move to the Cup Series during the championship four media day on Thursday, November 4. Gragson confirmed to media members that he would have a new crew chief for his return to the No. 9. Though he did not know who this new crew chief would be.
There was no initial news about Elenz’s destination for the 2022 season. However, Jayski’s Dustin Albino cited multiple sources and reported that the No. 43 team was the main option. Six days later, RPM issued the press release and confirmed the report.
“In 2001, when I started in NASCAR, my goal was to contend for a NASCAR Cup Series championship-title as a crew chief,” Elenz said in a statement. “The past seven years at JR Motorsports has prepared me for the next chapter in my career. Working with champion-caliber drivers like William (Byron), Tyler (Reddick), and Noah (Gragson) has not only fueled my desire to move up to the next level, but has also prepared me to the fullest for that next step.
“I appreciate Noah’s support and encouragement on this decision. I have immense gratitude for everyone at JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports and their continued support over the years. I cannot thank them enough. I am excited to start my next chapter with Erik (Jones) and Richard Petty Motorsports.”