Several Truck Series crew chiefs named this week, details

With a slew of driver announcements for the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, an under the radar development has been several crew chiefs named for these rides as well. On Wednesday, Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced that Jimmy Villeneuve has been named the crew chief for Chase Purdy and the No. 4 Chevrolet team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2023.

Villeneuve has served as a truck chief at KBM since 2017, where he has been a part of 18 wins, a driver’s championship with Christopher Bell in 2017 and the 2019 owner’s championship with the No. 51 team. Prior to joining KBM the New Hampshire native served as a truck chief at Athenian Motorsports in 2015 when the team won with John Wes Townley and was promoted to crew chief five races into the 2016 season.

“I’m honored that Kyle has chosen to elevate me to the crew chief position and I’m going to do everything that I can to prove that it was the right decision,” Villeneuve said. “We’ve got a close-knit group of guys on the 4 team that are working hard to make sure that we come out of the gates strong to start the 2023 season. Chase has been at the shop pretty much every day, so we’re already getting acclimated to him as a person and making things comfortable for him inside the truck so that when the season starts we can unload with fast Silverados each week.”

“Jimmy has been an instrumental part of the success we have had at KBM in recent years winning a lot of races and a couple of championships as a truck chief, so we feel like he’s well deserving of the opportunity to be promoted to crew chief,” Busch said. “He’s learned the KBM way under Eric (Phillips) and Rudy (Fugle) and being able to promote someone from within the organization to lead Chase (Purdy) and the No. 4 team will allow them to come out of the gates strong to start the 2023 season. It also shows the quality of people we have working at KBM throughout the building in every position and that hard work and dedication within our company will be rewarded.”

REV Racing

Just prior to that news on Wednesday morning, REV Racing named Danny Stockman as the crew chief for Nick Sanchez’ No. 2 Chevrolet. Rev Racing, and its’ technical alliance partner Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced that move.

Stockman and the former No. 18 crew will lead Sanchez in his rookie NCTS season. The No. 2 team will draw from technical and personnel resources from Rev Racing, Chevrolet and KBM, so that when Nick shows up at the track he has the best possible chance to win.

“I am thrilled to work with Danny and the whole No. 18 team that competed for the championship this year,” said Nick Sanchez. “In the short time I’ve spent with Danny, it’s very easy to see why he’s won numerous races and championships in NASCAR. We seem to already be aligned, finding early synergies to build on during the season. I feel like Danny will elevate my game as a driver and help Rev Racing and myself contend for wins on a weekly basis.”

Under the advisement of Stockman, KBM garnered nine victories across his first three seasons with the team. In 2022, he guided Chandler Smith to three wins and a third-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings. The veteran crew chief captured a Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon in 2011 and also won an Xfinity Series championship with Dillon in 2013. The California native has totaled 13 career Truck Series victories to go along with seven trips to victory lane in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Both Stockman, Rev Racing and Sanchez carry a lot of momentum behind them as they enter the 2023 season. 

“I’m excited about the opportunity to lead Rev Racing’s first-ever campaign in the Crafstman Truck Series with Nick Sanchez behind the wheel of the No. 2 Gainbridge Silverado as part of their alliance with KBM,” said Danny Stockman. “Throughout my career I’ve had the opportunity to help develop some great young drivers — that’s what I enjoy doing and why I came back to the Truck Series, so I’m really looking forward to working with Nick. From the time I’ve got to spend with him in recent weeks and watching what he was able to do in the ARCA Menards Series the last few years and at the end of last season in the Xfinity Series, I feel like after he gets some seat time to get acclimated to how the trucks drive, he’ll quickly find himself in the mix to win races and fight for a spot in the playoffs.”  

Sanchez is a six-year veteran of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program, competing with Rev Racing. He has earned an impressive 31 top 10s, 18 top 5s and 4 wins in his collective AMS career. He ended his rookie 2021 AMS season with a win at Kansas Speedway and 3rd in point standings and finished the 2022 AMS season with victories at Kansas, Talladega and Michigan and the Championship title. Sanchez also balanced a schedule in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS), running a handful of races with B.J. McLeod and Big Machine Racing in the No. 48. Sanchez hopes to continue a partial schedule in the NXS in 2023.

GMS

On Tuesday, with the team’s driver lineup now complete, GMS Racing announced their three Crew Chiefs who have signed on for the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season too. Experience is a strong point for all three of the leaders, with a mixture of familiar names and fresh faces heading the organization’s three full-time entries.

No. 23 – Jeff Hensley

No surprises here, veteran Jeff Hensley will return to the top of the box and work with Grant Enfinger for their sixth season together. Hensley made news headlines in July when it was announced that he would be returning with Grant Enfinger for the remainder of the 2022 season, and once the change was made, results began to show. In nine races that season, Hensley was able to guide Enfinger to four top-fives and five top-10 finishes, including a thrilling victory at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. It’s hard to beat the chemistry that he and Enfinger have built up over the years, which makes sense why the duo will continue their relationship leading into 2023.

Hensley’s career spans decades, spending the majority of his time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He was the championship winning Crew Chief for Chuck Bown in the 1990 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, and overall has won 11 NXS races during his tenure from 1987 to 2001 – 10 with Bown and one with Larry Pollard. Transitioning over to the Truck Series in 2004, Hensley has amassed 19 career wins with drivers of the likes of Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday, Johnny Sauter, Timothy Peters, and Brian Scott. With Grant as his driver, the pairing has won six NCTS races since 2018.

“I am so grateful to be able to continue to work with Grant Enfinger and have another full year with him as our driver. We were fairly successful when I joined back up with him midway through this year, and we still have a lot of work to do, but I think we found our direction over the latter half of the season. If we can start off like that and continue to learn and get better every week, I think by the middle of the 2023 season we have the opportunity to win ourselves a number of races. We want to put ourselves in the position to contend when it matters most, so gathering as many playoffs points as possible is going to be the top of our focus so we aren’t in as big of a hole as where we were this year. GMS Racing has given us everything we need to compete, so I am thankful and excited to contend next year.” said Hensley.

No. 24 – Chad Walter

A familiar face returns to GMS Racing for the 2023 season, as Chad Walter joins to call the shots for Rajah Caruth after spending a year away from the team. Walter was a mainstay at GMS Racing for the 2020 and 2021 NCTS seasons, working primarily with Tyler Ankrum and Jack Wood in the respective years. With a motorsports career dating back to the early 1990’s, Walter brings a wealth of knowledge to the fold as he pairs up with the newest member of the team’s driver lineup. On his resume, Walter has worked previously with many powerhouse teams, including Hendrick Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt, Inc., Team Penske, Michael Waltrip Racing, and Richard Childress Racing – just to name a few.

As a NASCAR Xfinity Series Crew Chief, Walter won five races working with Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Justin Allgaier, Ron Fellows, and Sam Hornish, Jr. In his two seasons competing in the Truck Series, Walter called the shots for 14 top-10 finishes – nearly a third of every start he made. The native of Albion, New York has also made several starts as a NASCAR Cup Series Crew Chief as well. This experience will prove to be a valuable asset for Caruth, as he looks to compete in his first full-season campaign.

“First and foremost, I am very excited to be back with everybody at GMS Racing. My two seasons that we had together here were a lot of fun, and I enjoyed learning a lot about the Truck Series. Even more exciting for me, however, is having the opportunity to work with a bright young talent like Rajah. In the short time that I have come to know and learn about him, he has thoroughly impressed me. The kid takes a ton of notes and pays attention to detail in everything he does, and that’s the mentality that a rookie needs heading into the series. He has shown a ton of potential in the ARCA Series as well as his starts in Trucks and Xfinity, so to be able to guide him throughout an entire year is really going to be a fun experience. We have realistic goals set on next year, but make no mistake about it, we want to show ourselves as true contenders. I’m looking forward to what we have in store in 2023.” said Walter.

No. 43 – Travis Sharpe

Relationships are key in the racing industry, and a successful run with Daniel Dye is exactly what brought Travis Sharpe to the leadership of GMS Racing. Sharpe not only has served as Dye’s Crew Chief in Super Late Model competition, but he has also fielded some of Dye’s efforts as a car owner as well, building Dye’s chassis out of the Racing Dynamics shop, which he owns. In a one race deal between GMS and Bill McAnally Racing to compete in the ARCA Menards Series West at Portland Raceway, the duo were able to win the pole position and contend for the win. It is the team of Bill McAnally Racing that Sharpe has most recently spent his time with, accomplishing back-to-back ARCA Menards Series West championships in 2020 and 2021 with Jesse Love.

The native of Marion, Montana has a long history in the sport, winning over 30 NCTS races as a Truck Chief. Ironically enough, Sharpe actually began his career working alongside Jeff Hensley at Hensley Racing in 1995. A true short track racer at heart, Sharpe has won over 250 races in the Late Model and Super Late Model ranks as a Crew Chief, and 57 as a former driver himself. Returning to the No. 43 has special meaning for Travis, who served as a mechanic for Petty Enterprises in the early 2000’s. He looks to bring the iconic number back to victory lane as he leads Dye in his rookie season.

“I am really optimistic to make the transition over to GMS Racing next year and continue to work with Daniel as he makes his first full-time season in the Truck Series. I believe that we have a good chance to make some good things happen right out of the gate that people may not expect, because in all of my time working with him, I can tell that he wants this more than anyone out there. I wouldn’t make the move over to this organization if I didn’t think we could compete at a high level, and I really believe in Daniel, so having the opportunity to lead him and the No. 43 team is one that I genuinely look forward to. We know what this equipment is capable of, and I believe we will have ourselves a great year in 2023.” said Sharpe.

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