|12/16/11 11:34AM||Kyle Busch, Mike Beam, Nationwide, New Crew Chief for Kyle|
Beam leaves Roush for Kyle Busch Motorsports
By Dave Rodman, NASCAR.COM
December 15, 2011 5:24 PM, EST
Crew chief Mike Beam, who won 12 races and nine pole positions during the past two seasons working with driver Carl Edwards on Roush Fenway Racing's No. 60 Ford Nationwide Series program, has left RFR for a similar position at Kyle Busch Motorsports, a source familiar with the deal told NASCAR.COM.
Beam also engineered the 2011 Nationwide owners' championship for Roush Fenway.
Mike Beam (Getty)
Kyle Busch, who's won 40 of his all-time series-best 51 career Nationwide Series victories in the past four years driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, plans to split his 2012 allotment of Nationwide races between his own car and JGR's.
Busch, who has helped JGR win both Nationwide drivers' (2009) and owners' championships (2008-10), plans to run his to-be-numbered Toyota for the full 2012 season attempting to win the owners' title, with another driver Busch hopes to announce, along with sponsorship, next month.
A Roush Fenway Racing spokesperson confirmed Beam had left the Roush Fenway organization this week. Beam's RFR biography states his NASCAR premier series career began at age 24 at Petty Enterprises, including time as crew chief. It cited his work with drivers including Richard Petty, Michael Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Sterling Marlin and Elliott Sadler, as well as former Roush Fenway Truck Series driver Ricky Craven.
Beam has three Cup Series victories (two with Elliott and one with Craven, at PPI Motorsports), 16 poles, 55 top-five finishes and 137 top-10s. At the beginning of his career Beam won two NASCAR Late Model Sportsman championships -- the forerunner of the Nationwide Series -- with the late Butch Lindley.
RFR continues to try to piece together its 2012 Nationwide program, with crew chief Mike Kelley the program lead. Kelley led 2011 drivers' champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s team and actually worked with Edwards for the last three races in 2009, scoring a win at Phoenix and a pole and second-place finish at Homestead.
Last month, in the immediate aftermath of the Homestead finale, owner Jack Roush said sponsorship would determine which of his drivers, Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne, would race full time in Nationwide and which would pilot the Wood Brothers' No. 21 Ford in the Sprint Cup Series in which Bayne won the 2011 Daytona 500.
Edwards had already said he would not run a full Nationwide schedule in 2012.