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23XI Racing names Mike Wheeler to full-time Director of Competition role

Photo by Dominic Aragon/TRE

23XI Racing on Thursday announced Bootie Barker will replace Mike Wheeler as crew chief of the No. 23 Toyota, driven by Bubba Wallace.

Barker will be Wallace’s crew chief for the remainder of the 2021 season, beginning Sept. 18 at Bristol.

Wheeler will move to work full-time as 23XI’s Director of Competition, a role he has had since the team’s inception.

“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 to where this team 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 into 2022,” Wheeler said. “Bootie 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.”

Wheeler was named to the full-time role ahead of the team’s expansion to two cars and work on future headquarters.

“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,” 23XI Racing President Steve Lauletta said. “As we finish out the 2021 season, this move allows Mike Wheeler to focus on our overall vision for 23XI and allow Bootie to help Bubba and the No. 23 team finish strong over the final eight races.”

Barker worked with 23XI Racing throughout 2021 and served as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series crew chief for Dave Blaney, Mike Bliss, Jeff Green, Johnny Sauter, Scott Riggs, Michael Waltrip, Max Papis, Casey Mears and most recently, in 2017, Ty Dillon.


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