Meendering shifts gears, named Labonte's crew chief

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Jeff Gordon lost his car chief on
Monday when Jeff Meendering joined Petty Enterprises as crew chief
for Bobby Labonte.

Meendering began his career at Hendrick Motorsports 13 years ago
sweeping floors, and worked his way up to a pivotal role on
Gordon's crew. He was the interim crew chief during a six-race
stretch this season when Steve Letarte was suspended.

His new job with Petty starts immediately, and he'll accompany
Labonte to a tire test at Atlanta Motor Speedway next month.

"The opportunity to lead a team with the winning tradition of
the 43 car, and work for a legend in Richard Petty, felt like the
perfect fit," said Meendering. "Bobby Labonte is a champion and a
driver of the highest caliber. I have been fortunate to visit
Victory Lane several times with the 24 team, and I fully expect to
be a part of getting Bobby and the 43 car there again."

The 30 year old Meendering held a variety of jobs at Hendrick
until former crew chief Robbie Loomis tabbed him to work on
Gordon's crew.

Now vice president of race operations at Petty, Loomis reached
out to Meendering to lead Labonte's team.

"I've known Jeff for many years and I realize how truly lucky
we are to have someone of his caliber join our organization,"
Loomis said. "With the knowledge, experience and leadership he
brings to our team I am confident he will be a cornerstone of our
organization for years to come."