With the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season less than three months away, Trackhouse is getting right to work with their preparations as the team prepares to roll out two full-time Cup Series entries next season.
The preparations are going strong as the team officially moved into their first standalone shop on Monday, showing a great sign of progress for the second-year team. Trackhouse moved into what was formally the NASCAR shop for Chip Ganassi Racing, located in Concord, North Carolina. However, thanks to their alliance with Richard Childress Racing, the car was prepared inside the RCR shop last year at Welcome, North Carolina.
Founder and team owner Justin Marks gave Trackhouse employees the previous Friday off to allow the rebranding to take place. Employees of the team gathered for a small breakfast before collectively walking into the shop for the first time.
The start of something new.
— Trackhouse Racing (@TeamTrackhouse) November 22, 2021
“I intentionally wanted all the employees to walk into the shop together as one team,” Marks said. “It was cool to watch their faces. Their reactions were priceless.”
Both Daniel Suarez and Ross Chastain were in attendance for the opening of the rebranded shop. Team partner and recording artist Pitbull was not in attendance; however, a pre-recorded video was played for employees on Monday to show his support.
Kyle Sykes, the creative and digital director for Trackhouse, was the main designer behind the shop rebrand. The Wisconsin designer was responsible for all of the No. 99 schemes in 2021, much to the critical acclaim of fans and members of the sport.
Sykes is used to car design, but building design was a whole new beast to take on for the second-year team.
“It really helped that the shop was essentially a blank canvas. Much like all the paint schemes I do, there were many concepts for each area, but I believe we landed on the best look all around,” Sykes told TobyChristie.com. “I like to have moments where I walk up to my design and just let it soak in. I take some time to admire it and realize how crazy it is to see it come to life from my computer screen. I tend to like to do that privately, so I have a deeper appreciation for what I get to do. ”
Sykes had a few responsibilities from the shop’s exterior to the lobby and the shop floor for members of Trackhouse. However, he never took on the role of an entire shop, which brought its own set of hurdles.
“This was a huge challenge in terms of the scale of it and just making sure dimensions were right,” Sykes said. “A car has its own set of challenges with all the body lines, sponsor, and number placements, but this was mainly a challenge because of the sheer scale of the graphics. You can maybe get away with some design elements being out of place on a car moving 180 mph, but not a 100ft wall that you look at every single day.”
The visual art he designed are among some of the largest he has ever crafted. In addition, Sykes considered the fan’s perspective, being a fan of the sport from a young age.
“I really like how the lobby turned out, and that was a challenge given the amount of space in there. The idea was to wrap the walls with a black color to close in the space a little bit and create the illusion that it wasn’t an uncomfortably large empty space.
“Those two walls aren’t any crazy design, but I think it’s an impactful space, especially with the new spaces for the cars up front. That space used to only be used for old race used/ race win cars. When fans came in, they couldn’t see anyone working, so we moved our setup plates up so you can see cars getting worked on and wrapped for the track.”
The Wisconsin designer joined Trackhouse in late 2020 to bring the vision of Justin Marks to the track – unique, sharp, and bold. Sykes’ portfolio has grown this past season, but his appreciation for his job and opportunities remain at the forefront of his mind.
“There’s just nothing like seeing something come to life that you created. Whether it’s big or small,” Sykes explained. “I tend to think about things really deep, and when I walked in and saw the 120 Trackhouse employees smiling looking at their new shop, that just meant the world to me. They will walk into that shop and see an idea that came from my brain every single day.”
The work doesn’t go unnoticed, with Marks taking time to recognize his designer via social media.
We're incredibly lucky to have you in the House Kyle… https://t.co/oLhAIdpuXF
— Justin Marks (@JustinMarksDG) November 24, 2021
Sykes will now turn his attention to the 2022 palette of paint schemes that are expected for not one, but two full-time entries next year. As for Trackhouse, the team is already getting their hands on the Next Gen Camaros as the anticipation for Daytona builds every day.