Cliff Daniels has a new role in NASCAR: seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson‘s crew chief.
Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday (July 29) that Daniels will take over the play-calling duties for Johnson effective immediately.
Daniels replaces Kevin Meendering, who was in his first year with Johnson after replacing long-time crew chief Chad Knuas.
“We have great confidence in Cliff’s ability to win races with Jimmie and the team,” Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said in a team statement. “He’s a natural leader and tremendously talented from both a technical and communication standpoint. Cliff’s familiarity with Jimmie and the No. 48 team culture will benefit us a ton. He will bring the spark that’s been our missing ingredient.”
According to Hendrick, Meendering will remain part of Hendrick Motorsports.
“Kevin is a talent,” Hendrick said. “We have areas where he can make a major impact and help all four of our teams be successful. Everyone thinks the world of him, and we plan to keep him as a key member of our organization for as long as he wants to be here.”
“Cliff has really shined since he came back to the [No.] 48,” Johnson added. “When he returned, there was an immediate change in the team dynamic that all of us felt. We’ve worked together for a long time, have a ton of mutual respect and a shared vision. I have no doubt the strong connection and working relationship is going to pay dividends right away.”
Johnson is currently 17th in Cup points, 12 points out of the playoff cutoff,