Veteran crew chief Mike Wheeler will move off the pit box and now serve as the full-time Director of Competition at the soon-to-be two-car operation.
“Mike Wheeler has been a huge part of helping build 23XI Racing,” said 23XI President Steve Lauletta “From day one, Wheels has helped put this team together, with a focus on the competition side. As we move towards 2022, it’s important for us to put the right people in place that help continue the growth of 23XI to the next level. As we finish out the 2021 season, this move allows Wheels to focus on our overall vision for 23XI and allow Bootie (Barker) to help Bubba and the No. 23 team finish strong over the final eight races.”
Bootie Barker, who already worked for the organization, will take on the role as crew chief for Wallace. Barker is a familiar name in the garage, having spent nearly 500 Cup races atop the pit box. His last race as a CC was back in 2017.
“Being a part of 23XI Racing from when it was just an idea, to seeing the plans come to life, securing our temporary shop and working to build this team has been an amazing opportunity and one I’m excited to continue as the team grows and expands,” said Wheeler. “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be back on the box this season with the No. 23 team and Bubba, but to be able to solely focus on the next steps it takes to expand to a multi-car team, build a new shop and get this team to where it’s in contention to win each and every week is exciting for me and I’m ready to give it my full attention as we finish this season and move in to 2022. Bootie (Barker) has been a great asset to 23XI Racing all season and with his experience, he was the right choice to step in and finish the 2021 season with Bubba and the No. 23 Toyota Camry team.”
Wallace sits 22nd in the championship standings with two top-fives this season, placing as high as second in the regular season finale at Daytona.