Tony Eury Sr. released by JR Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team Tony Eury Sr., competition director for JR Motorsports, has been released from his family’s team, the organization announced Friday. Eury Sr. is Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s uncle and served as crew chief for his nephew’s two Nationwide Series championships in 1998-99 and 15 of his NASCAR Cup victories from 2000-2004. Earnhardt co-owns JR Motorsports with Rick Hendrick and Tony Eury Jr., who is the crew chief for Danica Patrick at JR Motorsports. The team cited the competitive struggles of the organization as the reason for “amicably” parting ways with Eury Sr. after nearly five years together.
“I can’t think of anyone who has impacted my career and development as a driver more than Tony Sr.,” Earnhardt said in a statement. “I know my dad ultimately put me in the Nationwide Series car back in the ’90s, but Tony Sr. was the one who convinced him to do it.
“He was with me through two Nationwide Series championships and five full seasons as a Cup driver. We won a lot of races together, and as much as he impacted my career as a racecar driver, he means more to me on a personal level. He’s done a lot for this organization, and I thank him for it.”
JR Motorsports drivers Cole Whitt (eighth) and Danica Patrick (10th) have underperformed this year, and their teams are 12th and 17th in the team owner standings. The organization has not won in two years dating back to Jamie McMurray’s win in September 2010.
“The conversation Tony Sr. and I had was one of the most difficult I’ve ever been a part of,” said Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, Earnhardt’s sister and the general manager of JR Motorsports. “I believe Tony Sr.’s passion for the sport is exceeded only by his yearning to excel in it, and that itself became the issue that both he and I struggled with.
“At JR Motorsports we do this to win races and compete for championships, and lately we have not met that standard. Being the competitor that Tony Sr. is, I know that bothers him more than anyone.”
Eury Sr. started the season as crew chief for Whitt but was replaced in that role by Bruce Cook in April.
Eury Jr. remains Patrick’s crew chief and a co-owner of the team.
“I want what’s best for Dale Jr., Kelley, Tony Jr., and all those employees,” Eury Sr. said in a JR Motorsports statement. “I really do.
“We accomplished a lot in a short time, and nobody is prouder of that than I am. I’m not sure what’s next for me, and I’m not sure I’m in a hurry to find out.”
Eury Jr. is not happy about his father's release but said he understood the decision.
"It’s a very unfortunate deal. It was something that I don’t know how to express," he said. "We had to do something at the company. They think they can make competition come up. We definitely haven’t got the wins or the top fives that we wanted this year. But we have done pretty good with two rookie drivers that have showed a lot of progression and stuff.
"But in these days, it’s all about performance and that’s just one step. It may not be the last thing we change. Whatever we have got to do to make the sponsors happy, to be able to get them, there are not that many in here in this garage anymore."
Eury Jr. said he was involved in the decision but indicated that he was outvoted.
"It came up one other time, and it kind of caught me off-guard. It’s whatever they decide," he said. "There’s four of us involved in it. If three (or) four of us are involved with the decision, then that’s the way it’s got to be. Hopefully from here on, we’ll make the right decision on what we do to replace him." [Sporting News]http://aol.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2012-09-07/tony-eury-sr-released-jr-motorsports-dale-earnhardt-jr-nationwide-series[/url]
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