NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway, March 2014: Ryan Pemberton via Greg Engle YouTube, screenshot

The NASCAR community mourns the loss of one of their own as they say goodbye and farewell to longtime veteran crew chief, Ryan Pemberton.

Photo by Frank Albrecht, free to use under the Unsplash license

Pemberton, 54, passed away over the weekend. Over the ten years Pemberton had worked within the NASCAR realm, he helped drivers Chase Elliott and Tyler Reddick both win a combined three driver’s championship.

Pemberton spent most of his time, prior to working with JR Motorsports as the competition director for the NASCAR Xfinity Series, as the crew chief for Regan Smith, whom he also helped secure a victory in 2014.

Online, NASCAR staff, celebrities, and fans alike shared their collective sadness over the loss of Pemberton.

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“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Ryan Pemberton…” posted Roush Yates Engine CEO Doug Yates. “I met Ryan when he came to work for my Dad and we became close friends.”

“Ryan always made me laugh. He won races as a crew chief and led JRM as the competition director. He will be missed!”

“I am absolutely and without reservation in shock right now,” posted the Scene Vault Podcast from its official X account. “Ryan Pemberton… our interview guest scheduled to start with this week’s episode… died suddenly yesterday.”

“I’d already posted the completed episode on Patreon before I got the news a couple of hours ago. Obviously, we’ll rework it and post an updated version on Wednesday in Ryan’s memory.”

Pemberton came from a family with a rich history in racing and had a significant career working with drivers like Derrike Cope, Ernie Irvan, Jerry Nadeau, Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek, and Mark Martin. Notably, Pemberton and Martin narrowly missed victory in a photo finish against Kevin Harvick at the 2007 Daytona 500.

The Pemberton family has experienced recent losses, with the deaths of broadcaster brother Randy Pemberton in 2022 and nephew Bray Pemberton in 2021.