It was officially announced earlier today by Kevin Harvick Inc. that Rick Ren, crew chief for Ron Hornaday's No. 33 team, has left the team to pursue a management opportunity.
It's been rumored in the latter half of the 2009 season that he was leaving to Kyle Busch Motorsports to become general manager—a rumor that co-owner Kevin Harvick denied.
Harvick said that he was not going anywhere, since Ren was under contract for the 2010 season and that the team would return intact for the 2010 season.
"Ron and Rick have been a powerful combination over the last few years in the Truck Series," said KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick.
"With success comes opportunity and we wish him well in the next step of his career."
This news means two things: Kyle Busch Motorsports will be racing next season and for KHI to have let him leave they must have replaced him with another certain stellar crew chief.
Otherwise there is no way that the team would have let Ren leave were he still under contract, though this is just speculation on my part.
There is really only one crew chief that could step in, take over the leadership of the reigning champions allow the team not to miss a beat, and more importantly, defend their title. He also is a championship winning crew chief and is none other than Trip Bruce.
While no replacement has been announced yet regarding Horn's new crew chief, we could know who it is as early as next week.
Here are two other possible crew chiefs who are also equally good: Richie Wauters and Jeff Hensley.
For it to be Hensley it means he's not going with Brian Scott to Braun Racing.
"The guy behind the wheel is the catalyst of everything that has turned this into a championship caliber team and I feel confident that our program will continue to be successful."
While I'm glad that Ren got the opportunity to get into management with KBM, I'm just bummed it's not with KHI and he won't be around to defend the championship with Horn and the No. 33 team.