Tony Eury Jr Returns to Sprint Cup As Crew Chief at Chicagoland

Anthony HammettCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2009

JOLIET, IL - JULY 09: Tony Eury Jr., crew chief for the #25 Chevrolet, works on the car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 9, 2009 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Eury Jr. is getting a second chance on NASCAR's biggest circuit.

The former crew chief and cousin of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will man a Sprint Cup crew chief pit box again Saturday night at Chicagoland when he leads Brad Keselowski and the No. 25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet against NASCAR's best in the 400.

This is a big opportunity for a man who just a few weeks ago seemed to have hit rock bottom in his racing career as a crew chief.

In May, Rick Hendrick decided to release Eury Jr. as crew chief for the struggling No. 88 team. Earnhardt Jr. started the year with problems in Daytona which quickly became problems every week.

Someone had to take the fall for the results. That person was Tony Eury Jr.

He has no ill feelings towards Earnhardt Jr.

“I think it just kind of ran its course,” Eury said. “There were definitely some things that happened and evolved that brought us to this point. In general, it was time.

There is no other way to put it. We just needed to try something different. Dale Jr. is not getting any younger, so let's give him the opportunity to work with somebody else and try something.

Definitely the road we were going down, it wasn't a bed of roses so let's try something different. That's where it was at.”

However, now Eury Jr. has a chance to work with a new driver and a new team. Keselowski has Tony Eury Sr. as his crew chief in the Nationwide series. Hopefully the transition between new crew chief and driver will go smoothly, beginning at Chicagoloand tonight.

With his return to Cup action, Eury Jr. doesn't appear to be feeling any pressure or the need to outdo the team that released him earlier in the season.

“I'm at an organization right now where I can be a part of one, whether I'm the leader of it or just being a part of it. It means something.

To go out here and say that my goal this weekend is to out-run Dale Jr., no. My job this weekend is to go out here and get Brad Keselowski his best finish of the year.”

It isn't a full time return yet since Keselowski is only running a limited Nextel Cup schedule, but hopefully it will be a nice start to a comeback for a crew chief who has alot to prove to doubters.

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