Meendering Petty Crew Chief Petty Enterprises, the winningest organization in NASCAR history, announces Jeff Meendering as the new crew chief of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger driven by 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte.
Meendering, 30, will take over crew chief duties of the 43 team immediately and will see his first on track action with Labonte during a Goodyear tire test at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway, December 11-12. He joins Petty Enterprises after a 13-year stint with Hendrick Motorsports where for the past 2 ½ seasons he held the position of car chief on the #24 team of Jeff Gordon.
In addition, Meendering assumed the role of interim crew chief of the #24 car for six races during the 2007 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Under his guidance the team scored top-10 finishes in each of the six races, with a high finish of second at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.
“The opportunity to lead a team with the winning tradition of the ‘43’ car and work for a legend in Richard Petty, felt like the perfect fit,” said Meendering. “I started out as a teenager sweeping floors at Hendrick Motorsports and saw firsthand the commitment it takes in the shop to win races and championships. Robbie Loomis gave me the opportunity to join the ‘24’ team in 2001 and I learned from him, and Steve Letarte, how to prepare and execute at the track. Bobby Labonte is a champion and a driver of the highest caliber. From what I have seen this team has all the pieces in place to compete for wins and make the ‘Chase.’ I have been fortunate to visit Victory Lane several times with the ‘24’ team and I fully expect to be a part of getting Bobby and the ‘43’ car there again.”
Meendering will step into an organization that is showing a commitment to winning. Petty Enterprises recently announced that they will move into the Mooresville, N.C. shop the previously housed Robert Yates Racing. The hiring of Meendering will provide a talented leader to ease in the transition period.
“We see Jeff as another very important piece in our process of growing Petty Enterprises back into a championship-contending team,” said Vice President of Race Operations Robbie Loomis. “I’ve known Jeff for many years and I realize how truly lucky we are to have someone of his caliber join our organization. He will be tremendously valuable in helping us with all of the transition we have this off-season, with the move and competing with the Car of Tomorrow at all of the tracks next year. With the knowledge, experience and leadership he brings to our team I am confident he will be a cornerstone of our organization for years to come.”
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