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Who has Bubba Wallace's new NASCAR crew chief Bootie Barker worked with before?

Jake Nichol September 17, 2021
Who has Bubba Wallace's new NASCAR crew chief Bootie Barker worked with before?
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

A reshuffle of the leadership team at 23XI Racing has taken place, leaving Bubba Wallace with a new NASCAR Cup Series crew chief. But who has Bootie Barker worked with before in NASCAR?

Bootie Barker new crew chief for Bubba Wallace

A minor reshuffle at 23XI Racing has seen Mike Wheeler move across to take up the position of Director of Competition full-time.

Wheeler was brought aboard as crew chief for 23XI’s first Cup season, having been a trusted lieutenant of co-owner Denny Hamlin.

He has served concurrently as crew chief and Director of Competition, but will take up the latter role, effective immediately.

In his place, Bootie Barker will step up to NASCAR crew chief for driver Bubba Wallace and the #23 machine, starting at Bristol this weekend.

Barker was already employed by the team, and will oversee the final eight races of the season from atop the box.

“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be back on the box this season with the No. 23 team and Bubba,” explained Barker in a statement.

“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.

“I’m ready to give it my full attention as we finish this season and move in to 2022.”

From the 28 races with Wheeler as crew chief, Wallace secured two top 10s – at Pocono and the second Daytona race.

Wallace failed to qualify for the Playoffs.

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Who has Barker worked with before in his career?

Bootie Barker is an experienced NASCAR crew chief with 15 years’ experience behind him.

He has 481 starts as a Cup crew chief.

Barker called his first race for Dave Blaney – the father of current Penske driver Ryan in 2003.

In 2009, he worked with two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip at Waltrip’s eponymous squad.

Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Barker’s longest stint with a single driver was Casey Mears.

They joined forces mid-way through the 2010 season at Germain Racing.

Their best result in the #13 was fourth in the second Daytona race in 2014.

Barker and Mears would remain a partnership until the end of the 2016 season.

Ty Dillon replaced Mears for 2017 – which is Barker’s last season as a Cup crew chief to date.

In his long NASCAR career, Barker has also worked for Hendrick Motorsports.

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

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Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.