Eury Jr. named Stremme's crew chief at Swan Racing

JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer Published:

By Jenna Fryer | Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tony Eury Jr. will return to the Sprint Cup Series as crew chief for David Stremme at upstart Swan Racing.

The Monday hiring was part of new owner Brandon Davis' plan to use the offseason to make the team competitive.

"We have a long-term vision for Swan Racing and the addition of Tony Jr. is another step in that process," said Davis, CEO of independent oil and gas company Swan Energy. "Tony brings a world of experience to Swan Racing and will be part of our long-term success."

Eury had spent the last three seasons as crew chief for Danica Patrick at JR Motorsports until his release from the Nationwide Series team in September because of a difference in philosophy between Eury and Dale Earnhardt Jr., his cousin.

Eury also had been a co-owner of JR Motorsports. He won 19 Sprint Cup races with Michael Waltrip and Earnhardt at Dale Earnhardt Inc., and went with Earnhardt to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. He and Earnhardt won a pair of races at Hendrick Motorsports, but were split apart 12 races into the 2009 season. Eury then moved full-time to JR Motorsports.

At Swan Racing, he'll be re-united with director of competition Steve Hmiel, whom Eury worked for at DEI. Davis announced Hmiel's hiring last week.

"I am really impressed with the team Swan Racing is building and I am proud to be part of it," Eury said. "I am looking forward to working with David Stremme behind the wheel and with competition director Steve Hmiel."

Stremme is thrilled with the direction of the team, which is making key hires and is committed to race next season. Stremme parked early in 20 of 28 races last season.

"The team has transformed itself virtually overnight. It's hard to believe just how different this team is in such a short period of time," Stremme said. "This is how you build success from the ground up, you hire quality people, put their experience to work and execute on race day. Let's go racing."

Sam Schmidt to test Tristan Vautier at Sebring

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier will test an Indy car this week for Sam Schmidt Motorsports at Sebring International Raceway.

The team will test Wednesday and Thursday at the Florida road course. Simon Pagenaud will drive the car the first day, then stay behind to help fellow Frenchman Vautier in his first IndyCar test Thursday.

Vautier has proved to be a quick study so far. He won his debut race in Indy Lights last season en route to the championship, and did the same in the Star Mazda Series in 2011.

Meanwhile, team owner Schmidt announced last week that reigning Star Mazda championship driver Jack Hawksworth would drive for him in Indy Lights next season. Hawksworth won eight races and the title last year.

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