Hendrick alum named crew chief for Labonte
Jeff Meendering, who served as interim crew chief for Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolets for six races while Steve Letarte was on suspension, has been named crew chief for Bobby Labonte's No. 43 Dodges at Petty Enterprises.
Meendering, 30, takes over immediately and will be with the team as it participates in a tire test at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Dec. 11 and 12.
Meendering was with Hendrick Motorsports for 13 years and for the past two seasons has served as the team's car chief.
"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, who started out sweeping floors as a teen with the Hendrick team.
"I saw firsthand the commitment it takes in the shop to win races and championships," he said.
TV ratings decline for season-ending races
The Nov. 18 Ford 400 season finale of the Nextel Cup Series in Homestead, Fla., received a 4.2 national rating on ABC, down 11 percent from the same race one year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research. Last season's race on NBC received a 4.7 national rating. All 10 races in this season's Chase for the Nextel Cup produced lower TV ratings - many significantly so - than last season.
The Cup season finale was the seventh-highest-rated sports program of the weekend, coming in behind four NFL games and two college football games.
The Nov. 17 Busch Series finale received a 1.2 rating on ESPN, down from a 1.9 a year ago on TNT. The Nov. 16 Truck Series finale received a 0.4 rating on Speed, down from a 0.6 on the same network a year ago.