23XI Racing is making some personnel changes in the team before the 2021 Cup Series season ends.
Mike Wheeler, crew chief for Bubba Wallace and the No. 23 Toyota, will have a new role in the organization as an organization’s full-time director of competition. As the team plans to extend to a two-car team starting from the 2022 Cup Series season, the decision was made during the season
“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.”
Barker will step up to be Wallace’s crew chief for the final eight races of the 2021 season, starting from the Cup playoffs race at Bristol Motor Speedway this Saturday.
“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.”
Formed last year with Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan partnership, 23XI Racing appointed Wallace as the driver for their one-car organization. They couldn’t live up to expectations in their first year in the series with Wallace currently 22nd in points with just two top-five finishes throughout the season.