Darian Grubb

“All 434 residents of Floyd are cheering right now,” said an ESPN announcer Sunday as Tony Stewart pulled off a victory in the latest Sprint Cup race at Martinsville.

The Floyd reference followed an earlier mention that Stewart’s crew chief, Darian Grubb, is from Floyd County and is easily the county’s biggest thing on the NASCAR circuit since the glory days of Curtis Turner.

“Darian hails from the nearby town of Floyd,” ESPN declared after an interview with the crew chief during the race.

Actually, Darian is from Floyd County, not the town of Floyd but that’s close enough for an ESPN talking head.

Darian is the son of Duyane Grubb, owner of Grubb Construction Company, and Wanda Hollandsworth Grubb.  Duyane built our house for original owner Eric Quesenberry in 1977 and I graduated from high school with Wanda in 1965.

Darian, armed with an engineering degree from Virginia Tech, worked for Volvo for a while and then entered NASCAR when he landed a job on Richard Petty‘s team.  He moved on to Hendrick Motorsports where he built a reputation and first hit the national spotlight when he took over as interim crew chief for Jimmy Johnson when Chad Knaus ran afoul of the NASCAR rulebook and was suspended.  Grubb ran the ream for Johnson’s victory in the Daytona 500 that year.

Tony Stewart spirited Grubb away from Hendrick to helm his race team two years ago.  His win Saturday puts him in contention for a third Sprint Cup championship.

(Updated at 9:45 p.m. to correct maiden name of Darian’s mother. Jeez.You’d think I could get the name of a former classmate right. My apologies to Wanda.)

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