Ryan Pemberton, NASCAR Crew Chief and JR Motorsports Veteran, Dies at 54

Jackson Wheeler
2 Min Read


Ryan Pemberton, a veteran of the NASCAR garage who most recently served as the competition director for JR Motorsports Xfinity Series program, died Sunday at age 54.

“Ryan Pemberton was instrumental to JR Motorsports’ success during the decade he spent with us,” JR Motorsports CEO Kelley Earnhardt Miller said Monday in a prepared statement. “He had such a passion for competition and, as a leader, knew how to motivate everyone he worked with. He will always be part of the JRM family. Our hearts go out to his wife Andrea and daughters Payton and Britton during this tremendously difficult time.”

No cause of death was given by the family.

During the decade Pemberton spent with JR Motorsports, the organization won the driver’s championship three times: first with Chase Elliott in 2014 and then two consecutive years with Tyler Reddick, 2018-19.

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Todd Warshaw//Getty Images

Ryan Pemberton, right, had much success at JR Motorsports.

The younger brother of former NASCAR competition vice president Robin Pemberton, Ryan got his start in NASCAR in 1988 with Jack Roush when Robin was Mark Martin’s crew chief. Later in 561 NASCAR Cup Series starts as a crew chief, Ryan won a race with Joe Nemechek in 2004 and Brian Vickers in 2009.

He also was Martin’s crew chief when Martin lost a photo finish to Kevin Harvick in the 2007 Daytona 500. Other drivers Ryan worked with included Derrike Cope, Ernie Irvan, Jerry Nadeau, and Dave Blaney.

In 76 starts as a NASCAR Xfinity Series crew chief, Ryan recorded three victories with Larry Pearson and Regan Smith.

The last four years have been devastating for the Pemberton family. In 2021, Bray Pemberton, Ryan’s nephew and Robin’s son, died. Then in 2022, Randy Pemberton, Robin’s and Ryan’s brother, died. Randy was well-known for his television work in the sport.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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