Kaulig Racing announced Friday the crew chief lineup for its two full-time Xfinity Series teams this year.
Bruce Schlicker, a former race engineer for Stewart-Haas Racing, will lead Ross Chastain and the No. 10 team.
Alex Yontz returns as crew chief on Justin Haley‘s No. 11 Chevrolet. Yontz led Haley’s team in 14 races last year following the death of Nick Harrison in July.
More: Kaulig Racing to attempt to make Daytona 500 with Justin Haley
Schlicker was a race engineer at Richard Childress Racing from 2012-2016 before joining Stewart-Haas Racing.
“I’m excited for the opportunity at Kaulig Racing,” Schlicker said in a press release. “It’s a great team with great resources and even better drivers. We’ve got some great support from Nutrien Ag Solutions, who will be on the No. 10 car for the majority of the races in 2020. I’m looking forward to running a full season in the Xfinity Series with Ross Chastain, winning races and chasing after the championship.”
Yontz served as a crew chief for Kaulig Racing in 24 races in 2019, also working with Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler, A.J. Allmendinger and Chastain in addition to Haley. He was on the pit box when Chastain earned Kaulig Racing’s first NASCAR victory in the July race at Daytona.
“I’m excited to be back with Justin Haley this season full time,” Yontz said in the press release. “We have a few races under our belts together from the end of last season, and we built a really good relationship. I’m looking forward to winning races with him in 2020.”
While the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Cup Series won’t be announced until Thursday, NASCAR on Wednesday revealed winners of the most popular drivers voting in the Xfinity and Gander RV & Outdoors Trucks Series.
In voting by NASCAR fans, Justin Allgaier earned Most Popular Driver honors in the Xfinity Series for the first time in his career.
Meanwhile, Ross Chastain was named Most Popular Driver in the Truck Series, also for the first time in his career, earning the honor on his 27th birthday.
Driver of the popular No. 7 Chevrolet, the 33-year-old Allgaier extends JR Motorsports’ domination of the Most Popular Driver award in the Xfinity Series to a record eight consecutive years. Elliott Sadler was the top vote-getter from 2016 through 2018, preceded by Chase Elliott (2014-15), Regan Smith (2013) and Danica Patrick (2012).
Allgaier reached the Championship 4 round for the third time in the last four years, including winning at Phoenix – the 11th win of his Xfinity career – to assure his spot in the championship race at Miami. Allgaier finished fourth this past season in the Xfinity standings behind Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer.
And then there was Chastain, who has the popular nickname of the “Melon Man” due to being part of his family’s watermelon farm business in his native Florida.
Chastain entered the 2019 season not even planning to run a full season in the Truck Series. But when it became apparent that he would have the best chance at a championship in a Truck, Chastain and Niece Motorsports announced in June he would switch and declare to earn championship points – and a bid for the Most Popular Driver – in the Truck Series.
Chastain ultimately finished second to series champion Matt Crafton.
Chastain wound up competing in a total of 77 overall NASCAR races in the 2019 season: 23 in the Truck Series, 19 Xfinity races and 35 Cup events. He won three races in the Truck Series and a fourth checkered flag in the Xfinity Series.
Luke Lambert has been tapped by Roush Fenway Racing to serve as crew chief for Chris Buescher and his No. 17 Ford in 2020, the team announced Tuesday.
Lambert will join the team after working with Daniel Hemric on Richard Childress Racing’s No. 8 Chevrolet this season.
“We are certainly excited to have Luke Lambert joining our organization and taking over the reins of the No. 17 program,” team owner Jack Roush said in a press release. “Luke has a strong engineering background and also the ability to energize and lead a team. We look forward to pairing him with Chris next season and seeing what they can do on the track.”
With two races left in the season, Lambert and rookie Hemric have two top 10s, including a fifth-place finish at Talladega.
Lambert has 258 races as a Cup crew chief since 2011 with one win in 2017 with Ryan Newman.
He also served as Elliott Sadler‘s crew chief in the Xfinity Series in 2012 where they won four races together.
Taking over for Lambert on RCR’s No. 8 Chevy next year will be Randall Burnett, who will be paired with Tyler Reddick. They work together in the Xfinity Series.
Reddick and Burnett have five wins together this season. Reddick is third in the standings ahead of Saturday’s Xfinity elimination race at ISM Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).
Burnett has been with RCR since 2017.
The NASCAR playoffs continue this weekend with the second visit of the year to Kansas Speedway.
The Cup Series holds its second elimination race as the playoff field will be cut to eight drivers.
After a week off, the Xfinity Series will open its second playoff round.
Here are the preliminary entry lists for both races.
Cup – Hollywood Casino 400 (2:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC)
There are 40 cars entered.
Parker Kligerman is entered in Gaunt Brothers Racing’s No. 96 Toyota.
Reed Sorenson is listed for Premium Motorsports’ No. 27 Chevrolet.
Austin Theriault was originally entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 52 car. Theriault announced Thursday morning he had not been cleared by NASCAR to compete Saturday following his wreck in Monday’s Cup race at Talladega and that Garrett Smithley would take his place.
Chase Elliott won this race last year over Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson. Brad Keselowski won the May race over Alex Bowman and Erik Jones.
Click here for the updated entry list.
Xfinity – Kansas Lottery 300 (3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC)
There are 39 entries.
Ryan Truex is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.
Ross Chastain is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 Chevrolet. It’ll be his fifth start with the team this season.
Harrison Burton is entered in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota for the seventh time this season.
Bobby Earnhardt, the oldest son of Kerry Earnhardt, is entered in MBM Motorsports’ No. 66 Toyota. It will be his fifth career start and first since the Texas playoff race last year.
Joe Nemechek is now entered in Mike Harmon Racing’s No. 74 Chevrolet
Dillon Bassett is now entered in DGM Racing’s No. 92 Chevrolet
John Hunter Nemechek won this race last year over Daniel Hemric and Elliott Sadler.
Click here for the entry list.
Rodney Childers has agreed to a multi-year extension to remain as crew chief for Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal first reported the news Monday.
Childers then took to Twitter to confirm the report.
Childers, 43, has 28 career wins as a Cup crew chief, 25 of those coming with Harvick. Harvick and Childers both joined SHR in 2014 and went on to win the Cup championship that first season together. They also finished runner-up in 2015 and third in both 2017 and 2018.
In addition to Harvick, Childers has also worked with several other drivers in his Cup career, including Scott Riggs, Patrick Carpentier, Elliott Sadler, David Reutimann, Brian Vickers, Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip.