It is not uncommon to see a driver transition to crew chief in racing. Daytona 500 winning crew chief Chris Gabehart once competed in a Super Late Model and is a former ARCA/CRA Super Series champion. Now another series champion will make the transition to crew chief while still doing some driving of his own during the 2019 season.
Defending ARCA Midwest Tour champion Dalton Zehr is scaling back his time behind the wheel to take over crew chiefing duties for John Beale Racing. John Beale Racing is coming off a 1-2 finish in the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series points standings one year ago, with Casey Johnson beating team owner John Beale by just 19 points to take the title, while former TUNDRA SLM champion Zehr won his first Midwest Tour championship by five points.
Zehr says he is looking forward the new challenge that lies in front of him in his role of crew chief. It will also allow him to have a race schedule that will appease to him without getting in the way of his new duties.
“It’s different. I’m all about challenges in racing,” Zehr told Speed51.com. “I’m excited to play the part and try to improve this program as a whole. I’m going to miss driving in some ways as much as I did, but at the same time running 45-50 races and weekly shows has kind of burnt out. I want to run bigger shows, so this is a good path for me.”
The current plans for John Beale Racing involve racing full-time in the ARCA Midwest Tour, as well as defending their championship in the TUNDRA SLM Series. John Beale Racing also ran the full Midwest Tour schedule one year ago with Casey Johnson and John Beale as drivers.
Meanwhile, Zehr will still compete in select races for the team. With a scaled back schedule behind the wheel, Zehr plans on running the bigger shows in the Midwest, and will also try to make it to races he normally would not have made it to.
“I’m not going to be racing as much but I do plan on running the Alive for Five Series (at Dells Raceway Park). I’m hoping to do some special events like the Snowball Derby, the Nashville 400, or the Governor’s Cup with John Beale as the driver. I’m looking to go to some bigger shows this year, just not as many.”
The first scheduled race for Dalton Zehr and John Beale Racing will be this Sunday, April 7 at Dells Raceway Park for the Icebreaker 100. It will be the opening round of the Alive for Five Series. Both Zehr and John Beale Racing had top fives in last year’s race, with Zehr finishing second and John Beale Racing driver Casey Johnson finished fourth.