JR Motorsports has named veteran NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series crew chief Luke Lambert to lead its No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber®/Black Rifle Coffee team with driver Noah Gragson for the 2022 season. Lambert takes over JRM’s highest-finishing team from 2021, as Gragson finished third in the 2021 NXS point standings.
Lambert, 39, comes to JRM after spending eight seasons in the Cup Series and has been a top-flight NXS crew chief as well, leading former JRM driver Elliott Sadler to a runner-up finish in 2012 while at Richard Childress Racing. The North Carolina native spent the past two seasons with Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing calling the shots for drivers Chris Buescher and Ryan Newman.
“I’m really excited to have the opportunity with JR Motorsports,” Lambert said. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of really good opportunities and experiences in the sport, and looking at JR Motorsports and what I think we are capable of accomplishing, it felt like a really good fit. That’s what was exciting for me, because I feel like we have the opportunity to be really competitive and make a run at the NASCAR Xfinity Series title. That’s what I wanted to be part of here.”
While Lambert and Gragson are in the early part of building a relationship, the new crew chief sees much potential in the 23-year-old Las Vegas native, who capped the 2021 season with three wins, 13 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes.
“I can’t wait to start working with Luke and to see what his experience and knowledge can bring to this No. 9 team,” said Gragson. “After how close we came to winning the championship last season, there’s a ton of momentum on this No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber®/Black Rifle Coffee team, and I think Luke will bring a fresh perspective to what we already have at JR Motorsports.”
Lambert, a native of Mount Airy, N.C., graduated from North Carolina State University’s Wolfpack Motorsports program and joined RCR as an engineer in 2005. In 2011, Lambert took over as crew chief for Jeff Burton in the Cup Series, leading the team to two top-five and five top-10 finishes in 17 races, including a runner-up result at Talladega Superspeedway.
As a Cup Series crew chief, Lambert has one victory (in 2017 at Phoenix Raceway with Newman), 26 top-five and 86 top-10 finishes. In 2012, Lambert headed RCR’s No. 2 team with driver Sadler in the NXS, earning four victories, 15 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes on the way to a second-place finish in the series point standings.
The announcement sets JRM’s driver and crew chief lineup for 2022. Jason Burdett will return to the No. 7 Chevrolet with driver Justin Allgaier for a seventh season, while Mike Bumgarner will have Josh Berry for the full season in the No. 8 Chevrolet and Taylor Moyer will pair with Sam Mayer in the No. 1 Camaro full time.