Veteran Kevin Meendering will serve as the fill-in crew chief for the No. 5 HendrickCars.com team for the next four NASCAR Cup Series races, Hendrick Motorsports confirmed on Monday.
Meendering currently serves as the competition development manager for Hendrick Motorsports. He has 21 starts as a Cup Series crew chief for the organization. In 98 NASCAR Xfinity Series races atop the pit box, he also has three wins, 39 top-five finishes and 77 top-10s. As a crew chief with JR Motorsports, he led driver Elliott Sadler to top-five results in the series standings from 2016-2018 and won the regular season championship in 2017. Currently, Meendering is overseeing Hendrick Motorsports’ three-race Xfinity effort.
Crew chief Cliff Daniels, jackman Brandon Johnson and front-tire changer Donnie Tasser are out for four races after the team inadvertently lost its right-front tire during the final stage of the Cup race at Sonoma Raceway. The wheel came off of driver Kyle Larson’s No. 5 Chevrolet on lap 84, bringing out the fourth and final caution of the day at the 1.99-mile road course. The 2021 Sonoma winner finished 15th in the race.
The four-race suspensions are routine. Section 10.5.2.6 of the NASCAR Rule Book covers the “loss or separation of an improperly installed tire/wheel from the vehicle.”
Daniels, Johnson and Tasser will miss the Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway (June 26), followed by Road America (July 3), Atlanta Motor Speedway (July 10) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 17).
Larson is the defending race winner at Nashville, one of his 11 points-paying wins to date with Daniels atop the box. The Larson-Daniels combo won the 2021 Cup championship together.
Larson and Meendering were already slated to work together next weekend as the Elk Grove, California, native is set to run the first of the three Hendrick Motorsports Xfinity Series races at Road America on July 2.