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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR’s touring series have consistently proved to be a great destination for drivers looking to move up the NASCAR ladder.
It is also a proven way for crew members to have opportunities to move up as well.
Scott Widener, who as crew chief helped Burt Myers win the 2010 NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour championship, has been hired by JTG Daugherty Racing as a rear suspension specialist.
Former Richard Childress Racing crew chief Todd Berrier joined JTG Daugherty Racing in the offseason and will serve as team general manager as well as crew chief for driver Bobby Labonte this season.
Widener, who went to high school with Berrier, said the job offer came about just before the holidays and he spent time talking it over with his family and Myers.
“I prayed about it a lot because it is a big move for me and my family, but we decided this is an opportunity of a lifetime and I couldn’t pass it up,” Widener said. “I appreciate Todd giving me the chance to work at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series level.”
Widener, who had been part of Myers’ Whelen Southern Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series teams for more than five years, said working at the NASCAR touring and weekly level has helped him prepare for his new job as rear suspension specialist.
“Working on a tour you have to know what to do to get the car working right with a limited amount of practice and you have to be able to adjust to each track to race on every week,” Widener said. “I think any person looking to work on a national series team can learn a lot and get a feel of what is expected of them by working on a NASCAR touring series team.”
Berrier, who moved up from the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series where he won eight races while working at Richard Childress Racing for nearly 20 years until he moved into his new position late in 2011, echoed Widener’s comments.
“I get asked all the time by people who want to know how they can get a job in racing and I tell them you have to know how things work in this business and one of the best ways to learn that is by working at the NASCAR touring level,” Berrier added. “You need to understand what it takes to handle the work load and all the in and outs of working at this level and working with a Whelen Modified or a K&N [Pro Series] team can get you valuable experience.”
Berrier also said just knowing how to work on a car is not good enough sometimes.
“You have to know the ins and outs of racing and you can learn that at your weekly or touring series in NASCAR,” Berrier said.
While Widener will no longer be a crew chief on a team, he will be responsible for the entire under carriage of the car from the fuel cell back on Labonte’s car.
“I won’t have the stress of having to make decisions during the race, but I am entering this job with an attitude to work as hard as I can and learn as much as I can about the job and help JTG Daugherty Racing be as successful as possible this season,” Widener said. “I will miss my friends on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, but I know they are all wishing me the best and I will still follow how Burt does on the tour in 2012.”
Although Myers is losing a big part of his race team, he is happy for his friend.
“Scott has been a big part of our team over the past few years and I consider him a good friend,” Myers said. “This is a great opportunity for Scott and I know everyone on our team wishes him the best.”
Ronnie Holbrook will assume the position previously held by Widener on Myers’ team.
“Ronnie, who we call ‘Monk’, is going to move up and take over crew chief duties,” Myers added. “It will be a smooth transition for our team and we are ready to go in 2012.”