Mike Kelley will return to a familiar position in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2023, with the announcement Wednesday that he’ll replace Brian Pattie as crew chief of JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 47 Chevrolet Camaro next season.
Pattie, who leaves the single-car organization for a gig with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, has served as the crew chief of Ricky Stenhouse Jr’s No. 47 Chevrolet for the last three seasons.
“We respect Brian and what he did for the company, and we wish him the best,” said Kelley. “We learned a lot together and I believe the previous successes and failures give us the knowledge we need to be competitive and deliver the results for our partners in the coming season.”
Kelley last worked as a crew chief at NASCAR’s top level in 2019, splitting a full-season campaign between Front Row Motorsports drivers David Ragan and Matt Tifft, an effort that netted him a single top-10 result.
“Brian and I accomplished a lot together and won two Cup races – at Roush Fenway Keselowski – and that’s not easy in this sport,” said Stenhouse. “I’m grateful for our friendship and wish him well in his endeavors. Mike and I and the team will continue our preparations this off-season and be ready for the new year with our Kroger Racing partners.”
The good news? Kelley has successfully worked with Stenhouse before at Roush Fenway Racing, capturing a pair of NASCAR Xfinity Series championships, as well as a second full-season in Cup that scored the team one top-five and five top-10 results.
Kelley’s history in NASCAR is rich, and his roots with Stenhouse, who signed a multi-year contract extension with the organization earlier this year, are deep, dating back to when the Mississippi native was a member of Roush Fenway Racing – now RFK Racing.
“It’s been a little bit, but those championships with Ricky mean the world to me,” said Kelley. “It proves that a team can dream, work hard, and execute to reach the top. When you believe, it’s amazing what you can accomplish.”
Over the years, Kelley has had involvement in multiple race-winning efforts, including 11 victories as a car chief for Kurt Busch in the NASCAR Cup Series with Roush Racing, as well as the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series title.
The new pairing of Stenhouse and Kelley will look to dig the single-car organization out of the rut they’ve been in the last two seasons, where they only scored a total of seven top-10 results, and earned points finishes of 22nd and 26th.