Chris Gabehart

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Chris Gabehart
Personal information
Birth nameChristopher A. Gabehart
NationalityUnited States American
Born (1981-05-16) May 16, 1981 (age 41)
Lafayette, Indiana
CountryUnited States
SportNASCAR Cup Series
Team11. Joe Gibbs Racing

Christopher A. Gabehart (born May 16, 1981) is an American NASCAR crew chief who currently works for Joe Gibbs Racing as the crew chief for Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Cup Series, a position he has held since 2019. He had previously worked for Gibbs as a crew chief in the Xfinity Series for the team, working on the No. 19 of Brandon Jones in 2018, and the No. 20 of multiple drivers such as Hamlin, Erik Jones, Kyle Benjamin, and Ryan Preece in 2017 after a full season with Erik Jones in the same car in 2016.


Driving career[edit]

Gabehart began his career in racing as a driver, starting to race go-karts at age ten in the World Karting Association. Quickly succeeding in that series, he picked up numerous national championships before competing in late model racing. He drove full-time in the ARCA/CRA Super Series in 2007 for his family team. He won the series championship, but quit driving after that season due to sponsorship and financial issues.[1]

Crew chiefing career[edit]

Gabehart met Tom Busch, the father of NASCAR superstar Kyle Busch during his late model season in 2007, which led him to working as an engineer for Kyle Busch Motorsports' late model program and later in the Truck Series for the team. Then, Gabehart would move up to Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity and Cup Series as an engineer.[1][2]

2016–2018: JGR Xfinity teams[edit]

Gabehart's first crew chiefing job came in 2016, where he worked with defending Truck Series champion Erik Jones in his first and only full season in the Xfinity Series. They were in contention for the championship after a multiple-win season for the team, but lost the championship to fellow JGR driver Daniel Suárez. When Jones moved up to the Cup Series full-time in 2017, the car was driven by multiple drivers, including JGR Cup drivers Erik Jones, Hamlin and Suárez, as well as up-and-comers Kyle Benjamin and Ryan Preece. For 2018, Gabehart moved from the No. 20 to the No. 19 to crew chief Brandon Jones, who joined JGR that year from Richard Childress Racing.[3]

2019–present: No. 11 Cup Series team[edit]

In 2019, Gabehart was assigned as the crew chief of the No. 11 driven by Denny Hamlin. Both Hamlin and Gabehart started the season by winning the 2019 Daytona 500, breaking Hamlin's 47-race winless streak. With four wins, the duo finished the season fourth in the points standings.

Gabehart and Hamlin started the 2020 season by winning their second (and Hamlin's overall third) Daytona 500. Gabehart was suspended for four races after Hamlin's car dropped a ballast prior to the start of the 2020 Coca-Cola 600.[4] With a total of seven wins, the No. 11 team once again finished fourth in the points standings.[5][6]

On May 3, 2022, Gabehart was suspended for four races due to a tire and wheel loss at Dover.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Gabehart was born in Lafayette, Indiana, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky as a child, and returned to Indiana to attend Purdue University, graduating in 2005 with a mechanical engineering degree. He was the first member of his family to go to college.[2] Both Gabehart's grandfather Al Straub and father Kevin inspired him to go racing, as Straub had previously been a NASCAR driver in the 1960s and 1970s and his father had competed in NASCAR-sanctioned races at his home track of Louisville Motor Speedway.[1][8]


  1. ^ a b c "NASCAR crew chief Chris Gabehart brings Purdue engineering to victory lane". Purdue University Mechanical Engineering. Purdue University. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  2. ^ a b Spencer, Lee (June 29, 2020). "Pairing with crew chief Chris Gabehart fuels Denny Hamlin's success". Racin Boys. Nitroquest Media. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  3. ^ "Jones, Preece to race for JGR in Xfinity Series". Racer. Squarespace. November 15, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  4. ^ "Denny Hamlin loses ballast before start of Coca-Cola 600; penalty announced". Jayski's Silly Season Site. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. May 24, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  5. ^ Long, Dustin (July 24, 2020). "Friday 5: Denny Hamlin, Chris Gabehart are NASCAR's dynamic duo". NBC Sports. NBCUniversal. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  6. ^ "Driver Survey: Comparing crew chiefs Rodney Childers, Chris Gabehart". NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. July 31, 2020. Retrieved August 5, 2020.
  7. ^ "NASCAR issues penalties to JGR No. 11, Kaulig No. 16 teams for lost wheels at Dover". NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. May 3, 2022. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  8. ^ Story, Mark (July 11, 2019). "The Kentuckian who is coming home as a Daytona 500-winning crew chief". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved August 5, 2020.

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