Friday 5: 23XI Racing takes different approach to building pit crews Kyle Busch to run five Xfinity races for Kaulig Racing Kevin Harvick leaves mark as behind-the-scenes mentor for ‘my kids’ in NASCAR Dr. Diandra: Determining the 10 all-time best Cup drivers at Daytona Kyle Busch to run five Truck races for KBM in 2023
At 33, Josh Shipplett expected to work another five years as a pit road tire loader. But when 23XI Racing decided to have their own pit crews rather than hire them from Joe Gibbs Racing, it changed Shipplett’s plan.
He became the team’s pit coach and was tasked with developing the 23XI Racing pit crew program.
“Opportunities for coaches in this series aren’t available every day,” Shipplett told NBC Sports. “To be able to do it from the ground up and build something the way 23XI believed and what I believed in, I knew it would be difficult, but in my mind it would be much harder to go somewhere else and change. philosophy they already had.
“Being able to start over and being able to coach is something that probably shouldn’t have happened, so I had to jump on it.”
Performance 23XI Racing Bubba Wallace And Tyler Reddick and their pit crew will be one of the key storylines this season.
co-owner Denny Hamlin said the goal is for both cars to make the playoffs this season. The performance of the pit crew will be the key to this. The 23XI Racing pit crews had some problems last year. A more consistent unit could help Wallace and Reddick win more often.
Shipplett is used to winning. His first cup race as a tire carrier was in the 2011 Daytona 500 with Wood Brothers Racing who won that day with Trevor Bain. Shipplett was also the tire carrier when Hamlin won the 2019 and 20 Daytona 500. Last year, Shipplett served as a tire carrier for the No. 45 23XI Racing and was part of Kurt Busch’s winning Kansas team.
Hiring a crew member with no coaching experience to run the new program could be seen as a gamble, but 23XI Racing didn’t see it that way.
“I think it’s part of how we look at everything here,” Steve Lauletta, president of 23XI Racing, told NBC Sports. “We have an engineer who worked for the DTM (German grand tourer series). We have a Formula 1 mechanic. This is how Danny looks at it. That’s where his input is so helpful. He’s been doing this for quite some time and he has a vision of how he wants the management and the people here to work together as a team in 23XI.
“I think he has a good eye for talent. It doesn’t mean how many teams you’ve worked on, it means can you do what we want to do here? Can you look at it differently? Can you innovate how it’s done? What is your approach, not what is your experience.”
One of the major changes Hamlin wanted to make to the pit crew this season was to increase the number of experienced team members.
“We will continue to develop young talent in the future, but we don’t have time to develop them on the race track,” Hamlin told NBC Sports. “We need results now and quickly. We want to continue on a good trajectory.”
Shipplett hired those who had that experience. Last year, only three of the 10 pit crew members worked for 23XI Racing. Others came from Hendrick Motorsports, Team Penske, Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing.
Wallace’s pit lane crew is new compared to what he had at the start of last year: front tire fitter Austin Dickey, rear tire fitter Adam Hartman, tire fitter Brad Donaghy, jack jockey Jordan Page and tanker Josh Pech. Only Paige was in 23XI Racing last year in car number 45.
Reddick’s crew will be front tire changer Houston Stamper, rear tire changer Brian Bottlemey, tire fitter Wade Moore, jack Nathan Ricketts and tanker Brian Dhill. Only Dhil and Stamper started last year with 23XI Racing.
Last year, pit crews Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI Racing introduced a new way to service cars. Previously, the front tire changer would change the right front wheel and then move to the left front and change that wheel, while the rear tire changer would do the same at the rear of the car.
In the new pit style, the front tire changer on the right side fits the rear wheel on the left side and changes it. The rear tire changer on the right side goes to the left front and changes this tire.
“From the moment you leave (the pit wall) to the moment the car goes down, everything is going at 100 mph,” Shipplett said of the new style of pit stop. “Nothing ever slows down. There is never a moment in a stop where you can say, “Okay, I’ve done my job right now, let’s move on to the next step.” It all just merged into one. I think it caused a lot of problems.”
The new way of pitting was faster, but any failure could negatively affect the stop, losing seconds and position on the track.
Shiplett said that while the team was practicing the new style of pit stop, “it’s definitely not the main focus.”
Instead, he would have preferred permanent stops. The essence of the positions won on the pit road. Shipplett noted that if a pit crew has three nine-second pit stops and a final stop of 12 seconds or more, the team is likely to lose more ground at that slower stop than they have won together at the three faster stops.
“Let’s have that (good) average,” Shipplett said of average pit stop time, “but let’s not do it by doing three really quick stops and then crashing.”
Although he has not been a coach before, his pit road experience will help 23XI Racing crews.
“You lived it,” Shipplet said. “You can see where people are pushing, maybe where they shouldn’t be pushing.”
Shiplett is also training with the mechanic crews because he will be carrying tires for Travis Pastrana’s car. Pastrana rides number 67, the third entry in 23XI Racing at Daytona. He is not guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500 and must earn it in qualifying or in his qualifying race.
Although Hamlin said he plans to get the car ready for Kurt Bush If Busch wants to race after he recovers from his injury last summer, he has no plans to run the No. 67 car outside of Daytona at the moment. The focus will continue to be on the pit crews of Wallace and Reddick.
2. No change for Trackhouse Racing
Owner of Trackhouse Racing Justin Marks said earlier this week on SiriusXM NASCAR radio that “we’re not interested” in joining Toyota.
His comments come in light of what David Wilson, president of Toyota Racing Development, recently told NBC Sports about Toyota’s interest in expanding its Cup lineup in 2024.
“Our relationship with Chevrolet is very important to us,” Marks said on SiriusXM Speedway this week. “We have tied ourselves to the trajectory, to the commitment, to the passion they have for this sport.
“It is clear that they have invested heavily in their technology and innovation center in Concord, North Carolina, supporting the teams of their key partners. We are one of three teams that are key partners, along with (Richard Childress Racing) and Hendrick (Motorsports), which is an incredibly valuable collaboration for us. … I think more Toyota on the race track would be good for David and his group there, but not with Trackhouse.”
❌ “We are not interested.”
Despite the hype around @TeamTrackhouse potential change of manufacturers in the background @DavidWilsonTRDfuture plans for toyota, @JustinMarksTH fully committed @TeamChevy.
🗣️ “It’s a mainstay of American car culture.” pic.twitter.com/OOYULTcZez
– SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) February 9, 2023
3. Advice to Jimmie Johnson
Next week in Dayton, seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will drive a Next Gen car for only the second time. He rode it one day in Phoenix for a test in January.
Since there will be no Cup practice before the qualifying races, the only laps Johnson will drive in Dayton will be his qualifying laps on Wednesday. Qualifying races will be held on Thursday. Johnson, co-owner of the Legacy Motor Club, is one of six drivers competing for the four spots available for non-chartered vehicles.
“He’s already asked a few questions about super speedway racing with these cars,” says a teammate. Eric Jones said. I know he is doing his homework.
What did Jones say to Johnson about how these cars drive on the superhighway?
“It’s just that the traction of these cars is very different. … It’s harder to move through the pack,” Jones said. “It seemed to me that in the old car, especially in the last year or two, you could make big and aggressive movements. They were risky, but you could get back to your starting position pretty quickly to get to where you want to be and try to win the race.
“With this car, if you don’t get into the top four at the end of the race, I don’t feel like you have a chance unless something crazy happens towards the end of the race. I think you should be racing more than ever. You must have a fast car more than ever.”
The Clash featured mufflers on Cup cars last weekend. It remains to work a little.
Silencers slightly reduced the sound of cars, but the rumble remained for lovers of loud noise.
However, one aspect of mufflers is that some drivers have spoken about how hot it was in the car.
“It was very hot with the mufflers” Chase Briscoe said after the Clash. “I got very angry.”
Justin Hailey said he and teammate Kaulig Racing AJ Allmendinger Last weekend there were no problems with smoke and heating.
Corey Lajoie said he thought the mufflers worked well.
“I like the sound,” he said of the muffled car. “I love beating that shrill noise out of him. I feel like we could pack it better than they do now. Looks like we’re trying to fit 10-pound mufflers into a five-pound box right now. I think there is a way to do this and…