Paul Menard Receives a New Crew Chief Starting at Talladega

Paul Menard Receives a New Crew Chief Starting at Talladega

by October 18, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images

TALLADEGA, Ala. — The 32nd race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, will bring about some changes for Paul Menard as he will receive a new chief in the form of Justin Alexander.

Alexander will replace Menard’s crew chief since 2010, veteran Richard ‘Slugger’ Labbe. Labbe stepped down as crew chief for Richard Childress Racing’s No. 27 entry after the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte to move into a leadership position within RCR’s Research and Development department.

With Labbe moving to the team’s R&D department, Alexander, the lead engineer on the No. 27 team, has been bumped up to the role of full-time crew chief for Menard for the final five races of the season – a role that excites the rookie crew chief.

“[I’m] very excited, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” Alexander said. “It’s a special opportunity. I’d like to thank RCR and Menards and all for giving me this opportunity.

[This] is something I’ve always wanted to do since I’ve been in racing and to be at this level. And now that I’m here, it’s very special, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Alexander will step in to a team that currently sits 21st in the owners standings and has scored four top-five and 12 top-10 finishes this season.

Alexander has only one career start as a crew chief in NASCAR – a Nationwide Series start in 2006 with Jimmie Johnson driving for Hendrick Motorsports at Auto Club Speedway, a race that Johnson finished 21st.

Even though he only has that one race from eight years ago as first-hand experience as a crew chief, he has worked for some of the best crew chiefs in the business during his respective tenures at both Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick Motorsports.

“I’ve worked with Chad Knaus and Steve Letarte and I’ve learned a lot from those guys,” Alexander stated. “They both have different styles in doing things. And honestly, you don’t really know until you get to this position to how you’re going to run things. But, I have my own way and it’s not like anybody else’s. But I’m learning as I go a little bit and so I’m looking forward to it.”

Alexander says that he’s especially looking forward to making his Sprint Cup crew chief debut at Talladega, a track that should provide an easy transition for Alexander into crew chiefing at the Sprint Cup level.

“I think this a good place,” he says. “Talladega is not too terribly intensive on the setups of the cars, so to speak, and changes on pit road. From that standpoint, it makes it a little bit easier. But really, anywhere, I think I’d be fine. But Talladega is a good place to start.”

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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