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Crew chief announcement caps off busy stretch for No. 48 team

Photo by Kyle Stephens/TRE

The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team’s 2022 season has been wild – a win, crew chief Greg Ives’s expected departure at year’s end and Noah Gragson’s unexpected fill-in tenure for Alex Bowman – and this week was no different.

On Wednesday, the team learned Noah Gragson will again fill in for Alex Bowman for the next three races — at Las Vegas, Homestead-Miami and Martinsville.

Before the 2022 season began, Gragson was named to the No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet for those races. However, with Gragson’s Hendrick reserve driver role taking precedence, A.J. Allmendinger will drive the No. 16 car instead.

Two days after the announcement of Gragson’s continued fill-in tenure, Hendrick Motorsports named Blake Harris as the replacement for crew chief Greg Ives.

Harris currently serves as Front Row Motorsports driver Michael McDowell’s crew chief but will depart FRM to be crew chief for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team in 2023.

Harris has served as McDowell’s crew chief in 28 of 32 races so far in 2022 (Harris was suspended for four races). Together, Michael McDowell has earned 11 top-10 finishes, a 15.3 average finish and 51 laps led – all career-best stats for him.

Photo by Dominic Aragon/TRE

Front Row Motorsports hasn’t indicated who will replace Harris.

Harris previously served as Martin Truex Jr.’s car chief before joining FRM. He also served as Truex’s crew chief when he finished second at Texas in October 2020.

Noah Gragson has never made a NASCAR Cup Series start at home in Las Vegas, his best track in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition (minimum four starts). The Las Vegas native he has earned six top-5s, 55 laps led a 3.6 average finish and top-10s in all seven Xfinity starts at the track.

The South Point 400 goes green just after 2:30 p.m. ET from Las Vegas Motor Speedway (TV: NBC, Streaming: NBC Sports App; Radio; PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Ch. 90). The No. 48 team won the March Las Vegas race with Alex Bowman driving.

Photo by Marteen Vigil/TRE

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