Even as Darian Grubb prepared to accept the rewards Friday night for leading Tony Stewart to a Sprint Cup Series championship, his job search was in full motion.
The crew chief helped Stewart win five races last season – all in the Chase for the Championship.
Three of those wins came in the final six races – and after Stewart told Grubb he wouldn’t be back in 2012.
“I’m definitely going around, talking to a lot of people and trying to decide what direction I want to go in,” Grubb told Motor Racing Network.
“I’ve talked to pretty much everybody in the garage area at some point. I’ve got it narrowed down to a couple of choices now, and I’m trying to make the best out of that situation and see what I want to do.
“I wish them the best there with everything they’re doing at Stewart-Haas Racing, but I’ll be moving on hopefully to greener pastures somewhere else.”
One of those options is a return to Hendrick Motorsports, where he worked as an engineer and interim crew chief for Jimmie Johnson when Chad Knaus was suspended for four races in 2006.
Grubb and Johnson went on to win two races in that stretch, including the Daytona 500.
“I have had discussions with Darian,” team owner Rick Hendrick said. “When he left (at the end of 2008), we told him we’d always have a place for him if he wanted to come back. Darian is a very smart guy. I know he’s entertaining a lot of offers out there.”
If Grubb returns to Hendrick Motorsports, it won’t be as a crew chief. Since all four of Hendrick’s teams have crew chiefs in place for the 2012 season, Grubb will have to return to the organization’s engineering department.
HAIL TO THE CHAMP: Stewart will get his trophy and a big check Friday night in Las Vegas for winning this year’s Sprint Cup Series championship, but he will be home in Columbus, Ind., on Saturday as the guest of honor for the town’s Christmas parade.
Stewart was also the guest of honor in 2005 after he won the Brickyard 400.