Kevin Manion will be Ty Dillon’s interim crew chief, replacing Kevin Bellicourt on the No. 77 Spire Motorsports team beginning this weekend at Richmond Raceway.
Dillon is 32nd in the NASCAR Cup Series points standings and is coming off Sunday in 28th place at Pocono Raceway. The No. 77 team has just two top-20 finishes in 21 races, and Dillon’s season-best finish is a 14th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway.
“We really want this car to start and unfortunately we had to make a change,” said Jeff Dickerson, co-owner of Spire Motorsports. “We agonized over watching and waiting for the results to reflect the effort Ty and Team 77 put into their program.
“Expectations are a funny thing. They are a blessing and a curse and for some reason those expectations are not being met. We all know, including Kevin Bellicourt, what happens at this time of the season where we are, where we are, in the general classification. Kevin has worked hard and has been with us since the beginning of our journey, so this decision was difficult and not taken lightly.
“At the end of the day, we are what our results indicate that we are. We need a spark to give this team every chance to progress and ultimately succeed. We are incredibly lucky to have someone as accomplished as Bono already in-house.
“Having said that, we admit, it may not change the trajectory of the season for the No.77 team. However, doing nothing, while more orderly and comfortable, especially with the relationships involved, is clearly no longer an option for us and we want to see improvements. There are plenty of races left in 2023 and it is imperative that we raise the bar every week. »
Manion has won races in all three NASCAR National Series with drivers such as Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch and William Byron. He was the crew chief who guided Truex to back-to-back Xfinity Series racing championships in 2004-2005 and won the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 with McMurray in 2010.
Because he also oversees the No. 7 Spire Motorsports entry in the Craftsman Truck Series, Manion won’t decide for Dillon at Daytona International Speedway next month. Manion will be with the Truck Series team in Milwaukee the same weekend.
This will be the only Cup Series race of the 15 remaining on the schedule that Manion will not be working with Dillon.