CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – NASCAR car owner Ray Evernham shook up his organization Tuesday, swapping crews for drivers Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield while eliminating the crew chief position.

The move removed Tommy Baldwin as crew chief for Kahne. Baldwin will finish out the season as a consultant at this weekend’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, then leave to attempt to become his own team owner.

“He’s very interested in being a team owner, and I want to help him get started just like Rick Hendrick helped me get started,” Evernham said.

The shake-up at Evernham comes after what the owner readily admits has been a disappointing close to the season.

Although Mayfield made the Chase for the championship, he was on pace to finish 10th for the second consecutive season until Kurt Busch’s suspension assured him of moving up at least one spot in the standings.

Kahne failed to make the Chase and is 22nd in the standings.

Now Evernham has reorganized with a nod to Formula One’s leadership structure. Instead of having a single crew chief calling all the shots, Evernham’s teams will have a three-person leadership structure of a team director, a car director and an engineer.

“The job of the crew chief has certainly changed since I held that position,” Evernham said. “Today, the job of the crew chief is almost too big for one person. When you consider the growing responsibilities of managing the big picture for the team, overseeing all of the details for each race weekend, guiding all of the people and still having time to focus on the competition, it’s a challenge.”

Overseeing Mayfield’s team will be Chris Andrews as team director, Kirk Almquist as car director and Tim Malinovsky as engineer.

In charge of Kahne’s crew will be Kenny Francis as team director, Mike Shiplett as car director and Keith Rodden as engineer.

Evernham’s new third team will be temporarily headed by Rodney Childers while the rest of the crew is established.

“Just like major corporations move their leadership teams into new assignments every 12 to 24 months to expand their experience and collectively build the organization, we want to share our Group IQ to increase our performance and success,” Evernham said.

AP-ES-11-15-05 1756EST


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