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Dale Earnhardt Jr. gets new lead engineer for 2016

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 - Qualifying

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 20: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

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The vacant lead engineer spot on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup team has been filled.

According to a report by Chris Knight of, Tim O’Brien has been confirmed in his new role by HMS. O’Brien previously was lead engineer during the 2015 season for the No. 55 team of Michael Waltrip Racing.

O’Brien joined MWR in 2012 and initially worked on Clint Bowyer’s team. Prior to that, he spent nearly a decade with Chip Ganassi’s IndyCar and NASCAR operations.

The Indiana native has a mechanical engineering degree from Ryan Newman’s alma mater, Purdue University.

O’Brien fills the vacancy left when Kevin Meendering departed HMS last month to serve as crew chief for Elliot Sadler in the Xfinity Series in 2016 for JR Motorsports.

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