left.gif (848 bytes) main.gif (882 bytes)
News The Earnhardt Connection
Text links are located at the bottom of the page.

Earnhardt, Skinner switch crew chiefs
Welcome, North Carolina (June 8, 1998)

Larry McReynolds will take duty as Mike Skinner's crew cheif beginning this weekend in Michigan.

In an effort to improve the performance of both his NASCAR Winston Cup Series race teams, owner Richard Childress has made a major change affecting the two operations. Beginning with this weekend's Miller Lite 400 at Michigan Speedway, the two teams will trade crew chiefs.

Larry McReynolds moves to the No. 31 Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse Chevrolet driven by Mike Skinner, while Kevin Hamlin takes over crew chief duties for the No. 3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt.

RCR general manager and team engineer Bobby Hutchens, who held co-crew chief responsibilities for the No. 3 with David Smith in 1996, will assist Hamlin at the track.

"As the car owner, it is ultimately my responsibility to our sponsors and fans to provide the best teams possible," Childress said. "We have the talent and the equipment to win races. It's my hope that this move will be a step in the right direction in getting both Dale and Mike into the winner's circle.

"I believe the style of the two crew chiefs will mesh better with our two drivers. Kevin is a more laid-back individual and I think that will work well with Dale, and Larry is more of a hands-on person and that is what Mike needs at this stage of his career.

"I believe this move will benefit both teams. This is not the ideal time to make such a move, but I believe it is needed to get both teams in the winner's circle in the near future."

Both Hamlin, who has been crew chief for the No. 31 since its inception at the beginning of 1997, and McReynolds, who has worked with Earnhardt since 1996, agreed with the owner.

"This is a move to make both teams stronger," McReynolds said. "Richard believes this move will improve the performance of both teams, and I will do my best to make sure that is what happens."

"We all believe that this decision will help both teams," Hamlin said. "And both Larry and I are going to do everything we can to make sure that is the case."

Earnhardt began this season with a win in the Daytona 500, but things have not gone as the team would have liked since then. Earnhardt presently stands 12th in the race for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship.

Skinner finished eighth at Daytona, but the 1997 Rookie of the Year and 1995 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion was forced to miss three races after injuries he suffered at Atlanta and Texas. Skinner is currently 38th in the points standings.

Richard Childress Racing has won 63 races and six championships in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.