Matt DiBenedetto will have a new face atop his pit box effective immediately. On Tuesday, Wood Brothers Racing announced Greg Erwin has been replaced by Jonathan Hassler as the crew chief of the #21 Ford Mustang beginning with the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway.
“Starting with this weekend’s all star race in Texas, Jonathan Hassler will assume the crew chief role for our 21 Mustang,” wrote the team on social media. “We want to thank Greg Erwin for leading our team for the previous three seasons.”
Erwin, a former crew chief for teams like Robby Gordon Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing who won five races with Greg Biffle at the latter in the late 2000s, joined the Team Penske organisation at the turn of the decade. After winning twelve Xfinity Series races with Penske, he joined team affiliate WBR in 2018 to lead Paul Menard and the #21. DiBenedetto took over as the #21’s driver in 2020.
Despite making the playoffs in their first year together, the DiBenedetto/Erwin duo has struggled through the first half of 2021. DiBenedetto has just three top tens and sits seventeenth in points after sixteen races, with his most recent race at Sonoma on Sunday ending in twenty-third; in some instances, DiBenedetto was on the verge of a top ten only to fall back. While such drop-offs can be attributed to multiple factors beyond just the crew chief, WBR hopes the CC switch can help the team turn the tide.
Hassler, who has worked at Penske since 2008 as an engineer, made his crew chiefing début at Martinsville in April for DiBenedetto after Erwin tested positive for COVID-19. DiBenedetto would finish that race in twelfth.
DiBenedetto will start third in the All-Star Open on Sunday.