Kevin “Bono” Manion, a championship-winning crew chief in NASCAR’s top-three series, has been named the interim crew chief for the No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro for Spire Motorsports, beginning with Sunday’s Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway.
“We really want that car to get going and, unfortunately, we had to make a change,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “We’ve agonized watching and waiting for the results to mirror the effort Ty [Dillon] and the No. 77 team puts into their program.”
“Expectations are a funny thing. They’re a blessing and a curse and, for whatever reasons, those expectations aren’t being met. We all know, Kevin Bellicourt included, what happens at this point of the season when we are, where we are, in the overall standings. Kevin has put in a lot of hard work and has been with us from the beginning of our journey, so this decision was difficult and not taken lightly.”
Manion has been a staple atop the pit box since 2002 and boasts wins in the Cup, Xfinity, and Truck Series. The long-time crew chief, who works with Spire Motorsports in the two lower divisions of NASCAR’s National Series, has won with both Kyle Larson and William Byron over the last two seasons.
“At this end of the day, we are what our results say we are. We need a spark to give this team every opportunity to progress and ultimately succeed. We’re incredibly fortunate to have someone as accomplished as Bono already in-house. That said, we admit, it might not change the trajectory of the season for the No. 77 team. However, doing nothing, although tidier and more comfortable, especially with the relationships involved, clearly is not an option for us anymore and we are keen to see improvement. There is a lot of racing left in 2023 and it’s imperative that we’re raising the bar every week.”
The Boylston, Massachusetts native is scheduled to handle crew chief responsibilities for Dillon in 14 of the final 15 NASCAR Cup Series events on the schedule for Ty Dillon, as Manion will miss the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, while he calls the Clean Harbors 175 at the Milwaukee Mile.