Monday, November 18, 2013

It's official: Jamie McMurray has a new crew chief

   Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (EGR) announced Monday that Keith Rodden has been named crew chief for Jamie McMurray and the No. 1 Chevrolet SS. Rodden will assume the role effective immediately to prepare for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. 

   The Observer first reported the crew chief change on Nov. 5.

   "We are very happy to get a crew chief that is the caliber of Keith,” said EGR owner Chip Ganassi. “He brings a lot of great experience with him to our organization. We are building the foundation for what we believe will be long-term success in our NASCAR operation and Keith fits into those plans perfectly. I look forward to having him in the organization and leading the No. 1 team.”

   Rodden joins EGR from Hendrick Motorsports where he was most recently in the role of lead engineer for the No. 5 Chevy and driver Kasey Kahne. In his two seasons as the lead engineer on the No. 5, the team won four races and made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in both seasons.

   “I am excited and appreciative for this opportunity and can’t wait to be just a small piece of an excellent team that Earnhardt Ganassi Racing is building,” said Rodden. “Chip has quality people and is also building great race cars. This team has shown that they can win races and compete at the highest level of this sport and I look forward to working with Jamie and everyone on the team as we work to prepare for the 2014 season.”

Forget NASCAR history, Jimmie Johnson is set to make TV history

   Newly crowned six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will become the first athlete to guest host ESPN’s flagship news and information program "SportsCenter."

   Johnson will join regular anchors John Anderson and Lindsay Czarniak for the 6 p.m. ET show on Tuesday, Nov. 19, on ESPN.

   Billy Crystal and Ken Jeong are the only other celebrity guest hosts of SportsCenter in the show’s 34-year history. Crystal was the first in 2012 and Jeong hosted earlier this month on Nov. 1.

   “We’re always looking for opportunities to change it up and give SportsCenter viewers a different take on the day’s news, have some fun and do some memorable television,” said Jack Obringer, SportsCenter senior coordinating producer. “And having a six-time champion like Jimmie Johnson on your set is pretty cool.”