Bubba Wallace will have a new crew chief for the remainder of the NASCAR Cup Series season. (HHP / Jim Fluharty Photo)
MOORESVILLE, NC – 23XI Racing officials announced Thursday that veteran crew chief Mike Wheeler will move full-time to the role of competition director.
Wheeler has held that position since 23XI Racing was founded, while also serving as crew chief of the No. 23 Toyota Camry driven by Bubba Wallace. With Wheeler now focused on the position of competition director, the team has named Bootie Barker as the number 23 crew chief for the remainder of the season.
“Mike Wheeler (Wheels) has been instrumental in building 23XI Racing,” said 23XI President Steve Lauletta. “From day one, Wheels has helped put this team together, with a focus on the competitive side. As we head towards 2022, it is important for us to have the right people in place to help take 23XI’s growth to the next level. When we finish the 2021 season, this move will allow Wheels to focus on our overall vision for 23XI and help Bootie (Barker) help Bubba and Team # 23 get strong in the last eight races. ”
As a veteran of the sport, Barker has been with 23XI Racing throughout the season and brings years of experience as crew chief to his new role. Throughout his career, Barker has served as Crew Chief in the NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series, Truck Series, and the ARCA Menards Series. Most recently, Barker was crew chief for Ty Dillon at Germain Racing in the 2017 Cup Series.
“Being part of 23XI Racing when it was just an idea, making plans a reality, securing our temporary store and working on building this team was a great opportunity and I look forward to continuing when the team is growing and expanding, ”said Wheeler. “I enjoyed the opportunity to be back on the pits this season with Team No. 23 and Bubba, but to be able to concentrate exclusively on the next steps that are needed to expand into a multi-car team to build a new shop and get this team where it is to win, every week is exciting for me and I am ready to give it my full attention as we finish this season and move into 2022. Bootie (Barker) was a great addition to 23XI Racing all season and with his experience he was the right choice to wrap up the 2021 season with Bubba and the No. 23 Toyota Camry Team. “
The change will take effect from this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway.