Frontstretch has learned Roush Fenway crew chief Eddie Pardue was fired last week after his crew’s involvement in a fight at a Daytona strip club. Multiple sources confirmed Nationwide Series veteran Pardue was released once management learned of the incident, which occurred in the middle of a Nationwide Car of Tomorrow test at Daytona. Sources say the crew for his No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford went to the club one night during the test, where a physical altercation with several patrons ensued. No charges were filed, but once word spread of the fight an undisclosed number of crewmen were fired, along with Pardue despite him not being in attendance at the club. One source suggested Roush was making an example with his dismissal in the wake of a miserable season during which their Cup and Nationwide teams have gone winless.
Pardue had been a Roush employee for seven years and a Nationwide crew chief for the past four, working with drivers Greg Biffle, Colin Braun and Matt Kenseth among others at the No. 16 Ford. Prior to the test, the car was enduring its worst season in history, without a top-five finish in a dozen starts while accumulating six DNFs with Braun, Kenseth and Brian Ickler.
“Eddie Pardue is no longer employed here, and that was a performance-based decision,” said Kevin Woods, Roush Fenway’s Director of Corporate Communications, when asked to respond to the allegations. The organization would not expand further when asked about additional personnel let go, as Woods explained the company’s policy is not to comment on internal employee matters.
Since Pardue’s release last week, Ben Leslie has been working as the interim replacement at the No. 16. Ickler is scheduled to drive this weekend at Nashville.