2:09 PM CST, December 16, 2011
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Friday that Jason Ratcliff has been named crew chief for its No. 20 Sprint Cup Series team, replacing Greg Zipadelli who is leaving the organization to pursue an opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing.
“We appreciate everything Greg has done for us here at Joe Gibbs Racing. He has been a big part of our success, but we felt the timing was right to make this transition for our race team which allows Greg the opportunity to pursue a director of competition position with Tony (Stewart),” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We also felt that the timing was right to bring Jason (Ratcliff) to our Cup operation. He is a proven leader with a tremendous track record in our Nationwide program and we think he and Joey will work well together.”
Ratcliff spent the previous seven years as crew chief for JGR’s No. 18 Nationwide Series team. No team has been better over the past three seasons as the team won two consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championships in 2009 and 2010. They narrowly missed out on a third consecutive title this past season finishing just a few points off the pace in second. Over the past three seasons JGR’s No. 18 Nationwide Series team has won an incredible 30 races, with 68 top-five, and 85 top-ten finishes. In addition, they have led an astonishing 6,124 laps over that time.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to join our Cup operation and work with Joey and everyone on the 20 team,” said Ratcliff. “There is a great history with this program and we have two of the best sponsors in the sport with The Home Depot and Dollar General. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Joey a few times now on the Nationwide side so there is a familiarity there, but I’m looking forward to getting started fulltime and working alongside Dave (Rogers) and Darian (Grubb).”
Zipadelli has been the crew chief for JGR’s No. 20 program since the team was formed in 1999. Over the 13-year span he has won 33 total races and two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships with driver Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005). He was also on top of the pit box for Joey Logano’s first career victory in 2009 which made him the youngest driver ever to win on the Cup level. Zipadelli is leaving JGR to pursue an opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing.
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