From Beshore for Busch, to Gustafson for Elliott: List of Crew Chiefs For 2021 NASCAR Cup Season

Published 01/02/2021, 11:40 AM EST
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 15: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, stands in the garage with crew chief Alan Gustafson during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


Crew Chiefs have always been a significant part of a driver’s successes or failures in NASCAR. Rallying the team around from the pit crew to the team management, a Crew Chief is a strategic facilitator that ensures the smooth operation of every driver’s contingent in the races.

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As we inch closer towards the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, we look at both the confirmed and likely Crew Chiefs for their respective drivers.

Chase Elliott- Alan Gustafson

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AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 08: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and his crew chief Alan Gustafson pose for a photo after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500 and the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The 2020 Cup Series campaign turned out to be a huge success for the pair, and so Gustafson was the natural choice to continue alongside Elliott. The 45-year-old has also previously worked with Jeff Gordon and remains a popular figure for the No.9’s team.

Denny Hamlin- Chris Gabehart

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 17: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, poses with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Having first ventured in the Xfinity Series, Gabehart has held the position of being Hamlin’s Crew Chief since 2019. The pair enjoyed tremendous success in the 2020 campaign and will hope to put up a title challenge this time around.

Kyle Busch- Ben Beshore

WATKINS GLEN, NY – AUGUST 04: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Crunchy Mint Toyota, and his crew chief Adam Stevens look on during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GoBowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Beshore previously worked with Joe Gibbs Racing and Roush Fenway Racing. With Busch’s previous Crew Chief Stevens moving to work with Christopher Bell, Beshore now gets the chance to revitalize the No.18 team.

Martin Truex Jr- James Small

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 08: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

With a change in command for 2020, Small was tasked with the duty of working with the 2017 Cup champion. Following a decent season, he will endure to see how he can help Truex Jr elevate his progress in the 2021 campaign.

Kevin Harvick – Rodney Childers

FONTANA, CA – MARCH 18: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, talks to his crew chief, Rodney Childers, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)

The pair have been united since the 2014 season and now head into their 8th season together. Harvick’s 2020 season will have given Rodney Childers encouragement, and they will look to strategize their season that hopefully ends in a title victory.

Bubba Wallace- Mike Wheeler

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 02: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Covert Auto Group Chevrolet, walks on the grid during the Salute to Veterans Qualifying Day Fueled by The Texas Lottery for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Wheeler worked at premier team JGR for nearly 14 long years before becoming Hamlin’s Crew Chief in 2016. He now partners Bubba Wallace at newly founded 23XI Racing and will certainly look forward to the fresh challenge.

Joey Logano- Paul Wolfe

MARTINSVILLE, VA – OCTOBER 28: Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, races Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Thomas Built Buses Ford, during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Wolfe became the Team Penske No.22’s Crew Chief in 2020 after a reshuffled process at the team. It is highly possible that the 43-year-old will continue working with the 2018 Cup champion in the new season.

Brad Keselowski- Jeremy Bullins

TALLADEGA, AL – OCTOBER 13: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, stands by his car during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 1000Bulbs.com 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Most notable for being Ryan Blaney’s Crew Chief, Bullins has been contracted to Team Penske for nearly 8 years now. He shifted to work with the former Cup champion as part of the team’s reshuffle in 2020.

Aric Almirola- Mike Bugarewicz

LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA – JUNE 27: Aric Almirola, driver of the #10 Smithfield Vote For Bacon Ford, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Pocono Organics 325 in partnership with Rodale Institute at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The 38-year-old comes with a lot of experience, having worked with Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer. It is likely that Bugarewicz remains Almirola’s Crew Chief for the 2021 Cup Series as well.

Kurt Busch- Matt McCall

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 27: Kurt Busch, driver of the #1 Monster Energy Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Tasked with rejuvenating the No.1 team, McCall has certainly shown signs of promise at Chip Ganassi Racing. Even Kurt Busch spoke positively about the former racing driver, and they are set to continue their relationship in 2021 too.

Some other drivers’ Crew Chiefs that have been confirmed for the 2021 season are as follows:

Alex Bowman – Greg Ives

Kyle Larson – Chris Monez

Ryan Newman – Scott Graves

Corey LaJoie – Ryan Sparks

Erik Jones – Jerry Baxter

Ryan Blaney – Todd Gordon

Chase Briscoe – John Klausmeier

William Byron – Rudy Fugle

Christopher Bell – Adam Stevens

Quin Houff – George Church

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Daniel Suarez – Travis Mack

Michael McDowell – Drew Blickensderfer

Ross Chastain – Phil Surgen

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Rest assured then, Crew Chiefs will continue to play a big role in the drivers’ performances in 2021. Which driver-Crew Chief pairing looks the strongest on the track? Let us know in the comments!

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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