NASCAR announced Tuesday that Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton will leave the organization at the end of 2015. The former crew chief joined NASCAR in 2004 and is perhaps most famous for his “Boys, have at it” proclamation uttered at prior to the start of the 2010 season. The pronouncement was a philosophy that allowed drivers to settle their disputes on the track.
Under his tenure, Pemberton has also overseen many technical and safety enhancements within the sanctioning body. These include an overhaul of the inspections and rules processes and procedures; the transition from carbureted engines to more modern Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) and to racing fuels that are a blended E15 mixture. Perhaps his biggest project was the development and debut of the Generation 6 style car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2013. Those cars are still in use to this day. This season also marked the debut of a new pit road officiating system that relies on few NASCAR inspectors on pit road and more cameras to police violations. Pemberton is credited with helping to bridge the gap between the sanctioning body and the competitors in the NASCAR garage.
“Robin has left an indelible mark on the sport while at NASCAR,” said NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton. “He joined us at a critical time and very quickly gave our highly visible competition group the credibility and confidence it needed to be successful with the industry. He traded a successful career as a competitor to help lead the sport for 12 seasons. We’re extremely grateful for his many contributions.”
Prior to joining the executive ranks of NASCAR, Pemberton was an accomplished crew chief for nearly 500 races in NASCAR’s top division over a 17 year career from the mid-1980s to 2001. Among the drivers Pemberton oversaw, Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Bobby Allison and Kyle Petty. Drivers under Pemberton’s watch won 23 races, with Mark Martin’s second-place finish to Dale Earnhardt in 1990 being Pemberton’s best championship run as a crew chief.
“I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish during my time at NASCAR,” Pemberton said. “This sport has been my entire professional career and working with all the competitors and the auto manufacturers for the last 12 seasons has been a thrill. I feel good knowing that the work this team has done has had a positive impact on the sport.
“I look forward to the next challenge.”
NASCAR did not name a replacement. However, the sanctioning body said Pemberton will help in the transition to a new competition lead for the balance of the year.
(Originally published on Examiner.com)
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