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Crew chief changes for Smith, Labonte

Tue 24th, July 2012

Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Furniture Row Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing announced on Tuesday a crew chief change for their single-car teams in the Sprint Cup Series, beginning with this weekend's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Veteran crew chief Todd Berrier has left Bobby Labonte's No. 47 team at JTG Daugherty and moved over to Furniture Row where he will replace Pete Rondeau in the role at Regan Smith's No. 78 team. Berrier was also the general manager at JTG Daugherty, but the team has hired former Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Bobby Hutchens to take over that position.

David Hyder will be the interim crew chief for Labonte at Indianapolis.

Berrier had served as Kevin Harvick's crew chief at Richard Childress Racing for 11 years, guiding Harvick to victories in the Daytona 500 (2007) and the Brickyard 400 (2003). He joined Labonte's team for the start of the 2012 season. Labonte, the 2000 Cup Series champion, is currently 23rd in the point standings, with only one top-10 finish so far this year (earlier this month at Daytona).

"Furniture Row Racing has a reputation in the Sprint Cup garage for its commitment and potential," Berrier said in a team statement. "I welcome this opportunity and can't wait to begin my new position at Indianapolis this weekend."

Rondeau, a former crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip at Dale Earnhardt Inc., had been paired with Smith at Furniture Row since May 2010. He led Smith to his first win in the series in May 2011 at Darlington.

Smith is 26th in points and has yet to post a top-10 finish this season.

Hutchens came on board with Stewart-Haas before the team began competing in Sprint Cup at the start of the 2009 season, but he was released from SHR in June 2011.

"Bobby Hutchens is someone I have admired for a long time and the individual I've turned to many times for direction over my 18 years as a car owner," JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter said. "In my opinion, he is the best in the business, and we are fortunate to have someone of his caliber step in to help steer our team in the right direction during this important transition."

Furniture Row and JTG Daugherty's announcements of new crew chiefs comes one week after Roush Fenway Racing revealed that Chad Norris will replace Bob Osborne as crew chief for Carl Edwards' No. 99 team. Osborne will remain with Roush Fenway as a senior member of the organization's management team and steering committee.

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