Oct 6, 2013; Kansas City, KS, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) talks with crew chief Darian Grubbs before the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Virginia Tech’s biggest impact on the sports world has always been in football where Frank Beamer and company seem to always develop tons of player that will play in the NFL including Logan Thomas who will be competing at the NFL Combine today but that isn’t the only sport where they’ve made an impact. However, Virginia Tech is also known as one of the best engineering schools in the country and today at the Daytona 500, a former Hokie and graduate of Virginia Tech’s engineering school will be hoping to win his second Daytona 500 as a crew chief.
Before Darian Grubb got heavily involved in NASCAR and worked his way up to being a championship crew chief, Grubb was enrolled in Virginia Tech’s prestigious engineering program. Grubb worked a lot with Volvo Heavy Trucks throughout his time in Virginia Tech and was allowed by the university to build a schedule that allowed him to do exactly that. Grubb also worked a lot with General Motors while he was at Virginia Tech and while these co-op programs did cause him to go 5 years to get his degree, it built the base for him to become a Sprint Cup Champion Crew Chief.
Darian Grubb has been a crew chief for a few years now and is already seen as one of the best in the business but he started out in the Cup Series as someone that worked his way up at Hendrick Motorsports. Grubb was the car chief for Jimmie Johnson and the #48 car for years but when Chad Knaus was suspended for a few races including the Daytona 500, Grubb had his chance. Grubb took advantage of that opportunity as Jimmie Johnson would win the 2006 Daytona 500.
Feb 15, 2014; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) celebrates in victory lane after winning the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Grubb would then get his big break when Tony Stewart formed an alliance with Gene Haas to form Stewart-Haas Racing. Grubb would take over in 2009 as the crew chief for Tony Stewart’s #14 car and Grubb would have a lot of success. Grubb and Stewart still struggled to get that championship and just before the 2011 Chase, Stewart told Grubb that he would be let go after the season. Grubb would fnish off the season with Stewart in an amazing way as the duo would win the 2011 Sprint Cup Championship thanks to Stewart winning 5 of the 10 Chase races. Grubb would leave for Joe Gibbs Racing to become the crew chief for Denny Hamlin and the #11 car.
Grubb is looking to win his second Daytona 500 this year with Denny Hamlin and the duo have had a great Speedweeks so far. It all started when Hamlin won the Sprint Unlimited 8 days ago to give that team a lot of momentum. This continued when Hamlin won his Budweiser Duel this past Thursday to get him the fourth starting position though the starting spot really doesn’t matter. Darian Grubb has proven that Virginia Tech produces graduates that can make an impact on the sports world even if they weren’t an athlete.