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23XI Racing bolsters competition side

Bubba Wallace wins the rain-shortened race at 'Dega for his first career victory and becomes the first Black driver to win a Cup race since 1963. Bubba discusses the angst during the wait and the significance of the win.

23XI Racing announced multiple hires to its competition side Tuesday as it expands to a two-car Cup program next season with Bubba Wallace and the incoming Kurt Busch.

The organization finalized its crew chief lineup. Billy Scott has been named crew chief for Kurt Busch and the new No. 45 team, while Bootie Barker has been elevated to full-time crew chief for Bubba Wallace and the No. 23 team.

Scott and Busch worked together at Stewart-Haas Racing during the 2018 season. Busch finished seventh in points on the strength of one win and 22 top-10 finishes.

Scott’s career as a crew chief includes stints working with Clint Bowyer, Danica Patrick and Daniel Suarez. He most recently worked with Richard Childress Racing as its head of race engineering.

“The chemistry Billy and I had together a few years back at (Stewart Haas Racing) was strong,” Busch said in a team release. “We raced smart and built solid consistency with each other. That showed with the results and the fun the team had together.

“Winning races is what it’s all about, and our past experiences will help build the future at 23XI.”

Barker took over as Wallace’s crew chief in September at Bristol Motor Speedway. The duo scored a rain-shortened win at Talladega Superspeedway.

The victory made Wallace the first Black driver to win a Cup race since 1963.

“Bootie and I clicked from the start,” Wallace said in the same release. “He’s been a great addition to the No. 23 team and in just the short time he’s been the crew chief, he’s helped me on and off the track to
be better every time I get in the car.

“To get the win together at Talladega, the first win for both of us, was really special. I’m excited to continue to build this team with Bootie and to see what we can accomplish together next season. I’m pumped to get the year started at the LA Coliseum and then head to Daytona for the Daytona 500.”

23XI also announced other additions to its staff, including race engineers and car chiefs for both the No. 23 and No. 45 teams.

However, the most notable name belongs to Dave Rogers, who is now 23XI’s performance director. He recently won the Xfinity Series title as crew chief for Daniel Hemric at Joe Gibbs Racing.

The other hires include:

  • David Bryant – No. 45 car chief (comes from Chip Ganassi Racing)
  • Etienne Cliche – No. 23 race engineer (current 23XI employee)
  • Mike Lorusso – Director, race team operation (comes from Joe Gibbs Racing)
  • Zach Marquardt – No. 23 car chief (comes from Roush Fenway Racing)
  • Julian Pena – No. 45 race engineer (current 23XI employee)
  • Steve Wolfe – Assembly manager (comes from Chip Ganassi Racing)