Friday, May 20, 2022

23XI Racing Moves Michael Wheeler to Competition Director, Bootie Barker Takes Over as Bubba Wallace Crew Chief


Bubba Wallace has a new crew chief, Bootie Barker

Bootie Barker has been named the new crew chief for Bubba Wallace for the remainder of the 2021 season. Michael Wheeler, who had been serving as the crew chief for the No. 23 team, will move to competition director.

The change is set to start effective immediately with this weekend’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol.

23XI Racing is beginning to make changes to their organization as the one-car upstart team shifts into a two-car team for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.

“Mike Wheeler (Wheels) has been a huge part of helping build 23XI Racing,” said 23XI President Steve Lauletta. “From day one, Wheels has helped put this team together, with a focus on the competition side.”

Wheeler is ready for his new position.

“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be back on the box this season with the No. 23 team and Bubba,” Wheeler said in a team release, “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.”

With Wheeler guiding the way, Bubba Wallace has recorded a career-high two top-five finishes in 2021. Wallace sits 22nd in the NCS championship standings in 23XI Racing’s first year of existence.

What About the New Crew Chief, For Bubba Wallace, Bootie Barker?

Bubba Wallace’s new crew chief Bootie Barker is a 15-year veteran crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series. But Barker has not served in the position since the 2017 season with driver Ty Dillon at Germain Racing.

As far as his Cup Series career is concerned, Barker has primarily worked with underfunded teams. He has 17-career top-10 finishes in 481 starts as a Cup Series crew chief.

Barker is a four-time winning crew chief in NASCAR Xfinity Series competiton.

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images | Getty Images


Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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