23XI Racing Driver Bubba Wallace to Link Up With New Crew Chief From Bristol Onwards

Published 09/18/2021, 10:13 AM EDT
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) makes a pit stop during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Recently, reports emerged that 23XI Racing have shuffled their management. To be precise, Mike Wheeler will no longer act as the crew chief for Bubba Wallace and the #23 Toyota. Instead, he is being promoted to the role of full-time director of competition at the fledgling outfit.

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With the crew chief role vacant, the team have assigned Bootie Barker in Wheeler’s stead. It is also worth mentioning that Barker will remain on the pit wall for the remainder of the season from Bristol onwards. Prior to the shift to full-time role as director of competition, Wheeler handled both duties.

With this move, he could focus on growing the organization into a bigger outfit. Considering that there are plans to expand to a two-car program in 2022, this is all the more important.

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What did the 23XI Racing director say?

“Being a part of 23XI Racing from when it was just an idea, to seeing the plans come to life, securing our temporary shop and working to build this team has been an amazing opportunity and one I’m excited to continue as the team grows and expands,” said Wheeler.

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“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be back on the box this season with the No. 23 team and Bubba, but to be able to solely focus on the next steps it takes to expand to a multi-car team, build a new shop and get this team to where it’s in contention to win each and every week is exciting for me and I’m ready to give it my full attention as we finish this season and move in to 2022.”

Feb 28, 2021; Homestead, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace(23) races during the Dixie Vodka 400 Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The outfit came into being last year through the efforts of Denny Hamlin and NBA legend Michael Jordan. In the process, they recruited African-American driver Bubba Wallace to drive the #23 car. Admittedly, the team has faced some struggles in its debut season.

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The driver sits 22nd in the championship with two top-five finishes to his name. On the bright side, he does have a career-best finish of second at Daytona. Now, he and Barker are teaming up for the remainder of the season as they seek to snatch 17th in the championship.

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Dhruv George

12102 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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