Chip Bolin, the team engineer who led Matt Kenseth to his lone victory of this season on an interim basis, is the leading candidate to step up to crew chief on the No. 17 squad when Robbie Reiser moves into management next season.
Roush Fenway Racing announced Thursday that Reiser, Kenseth’s crew chief since the driver’s rookie season, will become general manager of the team’s Nextel Cup operations. Reiser will succeed Max Jones, who will become co-owner and general manager of the Yates Racing end of the seven-car Roush-Yates alliance in 2008.
Bolin became Kenseth’s crew chief on an interim basis after Reiser was suspended four races for violations discovered during inspection after Daytona 500 pole day. Bolin was on the box when Kenseth recorded his lone victory of this season, at California Speedway in February.
Reiser’s departure will break up what has been one of NASCAR’s longest driver-crew chief relationships. Reiser and Kenseth came to Roush together in 1999, and have recorded 15 victories, the 2000 rookie of the year award and the 2003 Cup championship.
"This is a great opportunity for me, and I’m looking forward to the next phase of my racing career," Reiser said. "If it’s anywhere near as fun, competitive and successful as the previous phase, then we’re going to be in good shape. It wasn’t an easy decision to stop being the crew chief of the No. 17 team, but now I get to work with all of our Cup teams and help improve our performance as a whole. I’m looking forward to the new challenge."