Hendrick pit coach Munksgard leaving NASCAR for job outside of racing

Warren-native Lance Munksgard is leaving NASCAR as pit crew coach for Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for a job outside of racing, according to pittalks.com.

Munksgard will work for Fourseventy Claims Management in McGregor, Texas, and is relocating.

During his NASCAR career, starting as a tire carrier in 2002, Munksgard was a part of teams that won 19 Sprint Cup races, a Pit Crew Challenge championship, Daytona 500 wins in 2013 with Johnson and this year with Earnhardt, and was also a key member of Johnson’s sixth Sprint Cup championship team last season. He became a pit crew coach in 2003 and has worked for Michael Waltrip Racing, Red Bull Racing, and Hendricks Motorsports since November 2011.

“I was blessed to have been able to live a dream of working with the best mechanics and pit crew members in NASCAR over the years, which was an unforgettable experience,” Munksgard told pittalks.com. “I couldn’t have asked for a better organization than HMS to finish my NASCAR career.”

Munksgard, a 1991 graduate of Warren Area High School, “just wanted to have more weekends and time with the family,” he said. “I’m looking forward to more family time and being able to enjoy watching the races as a spectator, although that maybe tough for the first several races. It was a really tough decision, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Munksgard’s last race with HMS was two weeks ago at Darlington, where Earnhardt finished second and Johnson was third to race winner Kevin Harvick.

Greg Morin and Chris Krieg, who had been Munksgard’s assistants, will oversee the pit crews of the No. 48 and 88.

“HMS is a truly professional company that starts from Mr. Hendrick down through the management, crew chiefs, and through the pit crews,” Munksgard told pittalks.com. “It was a true pleasure to work with a strong coaching staff and pit crew members at HMS and watch them progress each week. I will truly miss the competition on pit road each week and wish all the guys on pit road the best of luck.”