On Thursday Morning, JR Motorsports announced that Mike Bumgarner – the team’s director of race operations since 2014 — would be taking on the role of crew chief for Michael Annett and No. 1 Pilot / Flying J Chevrolet in 2021. Bumgarner hasn’t served as a full-time crew chief since 2013, when he guided JR Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevrolet to three top-fives and 11 top-10s.
“Mike is the type of person that will do whatever it takes to get the job done,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JRM. “He has been a big part of all three of our NASCAR Xfinity Series championships in a variety of roles, and returning him to the crew chief position of our No. 1 team is huge for JR Motorsports. Mike is a natural leader that I know our group will rally around, and I can’t think of anyone better to lead the No. 1 team with Michael Annett.”
The Huntersville, North Carolina-native has 64 starts as a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on his resume, including four victories with Kyle Busch in 2007. Most recently, Bumgarner led Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to a fourth-place finish at Richmond Raceway in 2018.
Bumgarner sat on top of the pit box twice in 2018, most recently leading Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to a fourth-place finish at Richmond Raceway, while also leading Tyler Reddick to a seventh-place finish while subbing for Dave Elenz.
“I’m very excited to be the leader of the No. 1 team here at JR Motorsports,” Bumgarner said. “What the team has established over the last few years with Michael and Travis Mack…they’ve made a lot of gains. Travis did a heck of a job with the team and they got better, and I am looking to add to that. Looking at where those guys ended the 2020 season, I want to continue on that path in 2021.”
“I don’t think it’s going to be a big change,” Bumgarner said of the transition. “If anything it’s going to help me be better. I haven’t been able to go to the race track and see what things are going on. You try to learn as much as you can from what the teams bring back to the shop and add that to our cars. Being more involved is a positive and I’m excited for that, being able to go to the track again. I’ll have to learn the stage-racing side of it, and I’m looking forward to that challenge.”
Bumgarner joins Michael Annett and the No. 1 team after a career-high season, with the team scoring 22 top-10 finishes throughout the season’s 33-race schedule.
“Mike is a great addition to our No. 1 Pilot Flying J team,” said Annett. “The respect he has throughout the organization and the sport is second to none. We know him and how he works, and he has been instrumental in the building of our cars as a company. I am looking forward to the 2021 season and continuing our mission to earn another championship for JR Motorsports.”