Smooth transition

Driver Clint Bowyer speaks during an interview at the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Media Day at the House of Blues September 12, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images for NASCAR)

CHICAGO, Ill.—Will the replacement of a key member of his team be a challenge for Clint Bowyer, as the driver of the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota enters the Chase?

Bowyer doesn’t think so, and on Wednesday at the House of Blues, he talked about the addition of Brett Griffin, who will take the place of MWR general manager Ty Norris on the spotter’s stand, starting this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

Griffin’s voice won’t be unfamiliar to Bowyer. When he and Jeff Burton raced as teammates at Richard Childress Racing–where Burton and Bowyer paired up in restrictor-plate events–Griffin spotted for the tandem.

Griffin, who serves as NASCAR Nationwide Series spotter and business manager for Elliott Sadler, lost his job as Burton’s spotter after Sadler announced plans to leave RCR at the end of the season despite leading the NASCAR Nationwide standings.

Burton’s loss is Bowyer’s gain, and Griffin comes to the No. 15 team with Burton’s strong endorsement.

“It’s going to be fun,” Bowyer told the NASCAR Wire Service. “I like Brett. We’ve been friends off the race track for a long time. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him. I talked to Jeff Burton a lot about him, and he was like, ‘Hire him–hire him in the morning. Hire him right now.’ I’ve just got a lot of confidence in him. I don’t think it’ll be a transition at all because we know each other so well, and he does such a good job where he is.

“I’ve listened to him a lot, and most of the things I ask for, he does. I wanted to make sure Ty was OK with it, because, first and foremost, Ty helped me get where I’m at in so many different levels. I didn’t want to take anything from him. If he wanted to be a part of that, I wasn’t about to make a change until next year. But the opportunity came up, and Ty kind of wants to focus on his job and make sure all three cars are running well. I think it’ll just be a good thing.”

Griffin announced the job change on Twitter, and Bowyer responded by feigning surprise.

“I was just screwing with Brett,” Bowyer said. “He announced it, and I was like, ‘What?!’ It was kind of funny, but that’s the kind of relationship we have. That’s why I don’t think there’ll be any transition period. It’ll be business as usual.

“And I’ve worked with him before at Talladega. In the tandem races, when Burton and I ran together, he was the spotter I used. I’ve worked with him, so I know what I’ll have—it’ll be fun.”

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