Alba Colon, often credited for the success of the NASCAR program at Chevrolet and one of only a handful of female engineers to establish an extensive career in motorsports, has left the manufacturer for an executive position at Hendrick Motorsports.
The team confirmed Tuesday that it had hired Colon to oversee its competition systems group, a position formerly held by Darian Grubb, who will crew chief rookie William Byron this season.
In her new role, Colon will work to enhance the team's simulation programs, analytics platforms, data acquisition and communication technologies, and at-track research and development. She will begin working for the team later this month.
Her move comes at a time when Hendrick is looking to rebound from a subpar season where it won only four Cup series races and Chase Elliott (fifth in points with 12 top-5s) was the only driver with at least five top-5 finishes.
Colon, a Spain native who grew up in Puerto Rico, is well known throughout the racing industry and her story has been championed by many when trying to increase diversity in the sport. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez with an engineering degree and joined Chevrolet in 1994 as an engineer on its NASCAR program.
She worked her way through the company's racing ranks and by 2000, she was head of GM's drag racing programs. In 2001, she was named to head up the NASCAR Cup program.
Chevrolet won 11 NASCAR Cup driver titles and 14 manufacturer titles with Colon.
GM, in a statement, said: "Alba Colon was a key contributor to Chevrolet's racing success for over two decades, including 14 NASCAR Cup manufacturers' championships as our program manager in the series. We thank Alba for all of her contributions to Chevrolet Motorsports."