JR Motorsports announced Monday that veteran crew chief Ernie Cope will turn the wrenches on Chase Elliott's #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet for the 2015 season. Cope will replace crew chief Greg Ives who has been with Elliott in the 2014 season, winning three races and currently leading the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings. Ives will move to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr in the 2015 season.
"It became clear rather quickly that the absolute best option for Chase and the NAPA team next year is already in this building,” general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said. “Ernie builds fast cars, has a good rapport with Chase, and is familiar with the inner-workings of our company. Hopefully that will create a seamless transition at the end of the year, and the No. 9 team will continue its championship form right into 2015.”
Cope is a veteran of the NASCAR Nationwide Series as he has 242 races under his belt as crew chief in that series. In those races Cope has helped his drivers to 12 wins, 91 top five finishes, 137 top ten finishes and 16 pole positions. Cope has a very impressive resume in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as well. He has 83 races in his career in that series with nine victories. This season Cope has worked on the #5 team at JR Motorsports and has three wins, two with Kevin Harvick and one with Kasey Kahne. Prior to working at JR Motorsports Cope worked at Kevin Harvick Inc . and Richard Childress Racing, primarily working with driver Kevin Harvick. Cope and Harvick have enjoyed a lot of success over the seasons. Ten of Cope's 12 NASCAR Nationwide Series victories have come with Kevin Harvick as the driver.
“Kevin and I have enjoyed a lot of success, and we’re not done yet,” Cope said. “There is a lot of racing left this year, but in putting the pieces together for 2015, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to compete the full race schedule. I’ve been able to do that only once, and that was in 2011 with Elliott Sadler when we finished second in the championship. I’d like another shot at it, and Chase Elliott is an extremely talented race car driver.”
No word on who will be the crew chief of the #5 JR Motorsports entry in 2015 at this time.
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