Dale Earnhardt Jr. names Whitesell as new crew chief

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have a new crew chief starting with Sunday's race at Dover because of a slump that has dragged deep into the season.

Tony Eury Jr. was removed as crew chief of Earnhardt's No. 88 team yesterday. The two are cousins and have worked together during Earnhardt's entire career.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.

They left Dale Earnhardt Inc. last season to drive for Hendrick Motorsports. But despite driving for NASCAR's top team, they have one win in 48 races with Hendrick and are 19th in points. They hit rock bottom with Monday's 40th-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Team manager Brian Whitesell will be the crew chief this weekend. Lance McGrew will take over next week on an interim basis as team owner Rick Hendrick decides on a long-term plan for NASCAR's most popular driver.

Earnhardt and Eury spent Tuesday and Wednesday testing on the road course at Virginia International Raceway. Hendrick told them he was splitting the pair upon their return.

Earnhardt has just three top-10 finishes this season.