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4 Tires and Fuel: Updating the Sweeping Changes on Pit Road for 2024

There are a bunch of new faces in new places among the pit crew rosters in the NASCAR Cup Series for the upcoming 2024 season. Bozi Tatarevic breaks down all of the changes in this edition of 4 Tires and Fuel.


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This off-season has been very active in the NASCAR Cup Series garage as just 15 cars are set to return with the exact same pit crews that they fielded last season. While there isn’t an official trade period for pit crews in NASCAR, most contracts are structured to run until October so the off-season is when moves are made. Last year was no exception and the creation of a brand new pit department at LEGACY MOTOR CLUB pushed things along and resulted in changes all over pit lane for the entire Cup Series.

RELATED: 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Pit Crew Roster Charts

LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Builds a New Pit Crew Department

LEGACY MC Pit Crew Practice - Photo: Ellie Whittington

Photo: Ellie Whittington

The biggest change on our list is the brand new pit department at LEGACY MOTOR CLUB that replaces the crew members that they were contracting from Joe Gibbs Racing last year. LEGACY MC started building out their department last fall and was able to recruit Chris Hall, who had previously spent nine years at Joe Gibbs Racing to become their Director of Pit Crew Operations. Hall wasted no time and hit the ground running to build out the pit crews for the No. 42 of John Hunter Nemechek and the No. 43 of Erik Jones.

The No. 42 crew starts with tire changer Bryan Backus on the front who joins from Richard Childress Racing. Backus has been part of winning campaigns in all three national series and has most recently won while pitting for Kyle Busch at RCR and for Bubba Wallace at 23XI Racing before that. Chris Shuman comes over from RFK where he was most recently leased out to the No. 47 of JTG Daugherty Racing and will change tires on the rear. Matt Schlytter was on the jack for Cole Custer's championship run and now trying to prove himself in the Cup Series. Ernest “Hollywood” Holden comes from the Stewart-Haas Racing development program where he’s worked on a variety of cars and now has the opportunity to prove himself on a house car in a large Cup program. Ricky Rozier joins as fueler from Front Row Motorsports and returns to his roots pitting a Toyota as his first win in NASCAR was with Erik Jones in the Trucks Series. Rozier fueled for Michael McDowell for his most recent win at the Brickyard.

Speaking of Erik Jones, his front tire changer John Rosselli also spent some time in the Stewart-Haas development system and most recently worked on the No. 51 of Rick Ware Racing. He is joined by Josh Leslie on the rear tires who was on the 2015 Cup championship crew of Kyle Busch along with working with Rozier on that Brickyard win last year. Kellen Mills is on the jack and is a veteran from Joe Gibbs Racing who was recently leased out to FRM. Mills started out at Penske as a fueler but really found his groove at Joe Gibbs Racing where he trained on the jack and was eventually a part of three Daytona 500 victories. He’s very hungry to prove himself this year after spending multiple years on primary programs at JGR and being moved to a customer car late last year. The No. 43 crew is rounded out by tire carrier James Riddle who most recently worked on the No. 48 of Hendrick Motorsports and fueler Justin Reissmann who comes from Penske and most recently fueled the No. 21 for Wood Brothers Racing.

New Reserve Squad for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB and 23XI Racing

Photo: Ellie Whittington

One of the big lessons learned by 23XI as they started building a new pit crew department last year is that they needed to have a strong bench and with the formation of a similar department at Legacy Motor Club, they found an opportunity to share resources. An organization called the Pit Crew Development Group (PDG) was created late last year as a joint venture between Legacy MC and 23XI Racing to build depth for their organizations. This reserve squad allows the two teams to be able to swap in crew members whether it’s for performance reasons or unforeseen injuries as well as give them their own squad when they run additional cars. The first outing for this reserve squad will be at the Daytona 500 as they pit the No. 84 Toyota Camry of Jimmie Johnson.

The reserve squad currently consists of front tire changer Scott Brzozowski who most recently won the Brickyard but is a veteran of the sport and has won with multiple different drivers leading back to the 5-lug days. Matt Wilps was previously at RFK and will now be on the Jack for PDG group while fueler Dakota Everett gets a promotion from the Xfinity Series as. The crew is finished out by rear tire changer Brian Bottlemy and tire carrier Brad Donaghy who were on the No. 45 and No. 23 at 23XI Racing last season. The PDG athletes are coached by Jake Lind who joins the program after many years of experience as a championship tire changer. Lind jointly reports to Chris Hall at Legacy MC and Josh Shipplett at 23XI Racing.

With Bottlemy and Donaghy being moved to the reserve squad, 23XI is filling those slots by hiring Joe Crossen from JGR to carry tires on the No. 23 and Devin DelRicco to change tires on the rear of the No. 45. The rest of their squads are retained from last season with Josh Pech rejoining the No. 23 crew after being out due to injury towards the end of the season.

Rolling Changes Affecting the Rest of Pit Lane

Legacy MC and 23XI grabbing up valuable crew members from existing Cup teams means that slots were left open and that started with the No. 8 of Richard Childress Racing as they had to fill the slot left by Backus and were able to grab Chris Jackson from the SHR development program to fill that rear tire changer role. The rest of the No. 8 crew stuck around from last season along with the majority of the No. 3 crew. The only changes for Austin Dillon this season will be in the fueler position as Tyler Rader fills in there starting this weekend but I don’t think that he will mind the change as Rader fueled his car during their 2018 Daytona 500 victory.

Stability and Chemistry for Carryover Crews

The best move for a pit crew department is building on top of existing success so whenever there is an opportunity to retain an entire crew it is preferable from a performance standpoint. Hendrick Motorsports, RFK Racing, and Stewart-Haas Racing took that route by retaining all of their pit crew members in the same positions that they were when they departed Phoenix last year. Trackhouse took a split approach with their primary pit crews with the No. 1 crew of Ross Chastain keeping all of the same crew members while the No. 99 crew called up rear changer Seth Gadjorus and tire carrier Charles Plank from the No. 16 pit crew that they were leased to at Kaulig Racing. Plank became well-known last year after being hit on pit lane by the sliding truck of Zane Smith and then completing the rest of his pit stop after recovering from the incident.

Partial Changes and Surprise Carryovers

Joe Gibbs Racing decided to keep their championship-contending squad on the No. 20 Camry together for 2024 along with the squad on the No. 11. The No. 54 squad also keeps most of the same crew members that were on the car in Phoenix with the exception of rear tire changer Kevon Jackson who comes over from the No. 19. Marquill Osborne gets the call up from lease on the No. 36 at FRM to fill in that vacated rear tire changer spot on the No. 19. JGR swapped the No. 20 and No. 54 pit crews as the playoffs started last year and many expected that they would be swapped back but instead it looks like they’re keeping them in place at least to start the season. That current No. 20 pit crew was the No 54 crew when they won the Pit Crew Challenge last season and prior to being assigned to the No. 54 car of Ty Gibbs, many of them had spent years pitting the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin.

Penske Racing is leaving their championship-winning crew on the No. 12 intact with veteran tire changer Ryan Flores returning on the front of the car accompanied by Zach Price on the rear with Trevor Apsey carrying tires for them. Jourdan Osinskie is on the jack while Chris Conklin is back to fuel that No. 12 Ford Mustang. The No. 22 crew of Joey Logano remains similarly unchanged while the No. 2 crew sees Justin Prevette called up from the No. 21 car to fill the rear tire changer spot. That rear tire changer spot on the No. 21 crew is getting filled by Coleman Dollarhide who was most recently a part of the No. 51 crew at Rick Ware Racing. The rest of the No. 21 crew remains unchanged from last year.

Development Teams and Crew Leases

Rick Ware Racing is staffing the No. 51 car with an all new crew this year as they establish a lease agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing in order to fill the spots on that car. Most of the crew members on that car were leased to the No. 42 last with one being a call up from the Truck Series that JGR is developing. The No. 15 car sees some stability as that continues to be staffed through a lease agreement with Stewart-Haas Racing and the only change we see there is Mason Flynt joining in the Tire Carrier position. He was on loan to No. 78 last season.

JTG Daugherty continues their agreement with RFK Racing to staff the No. 47 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and retains three of the crew members last year while gaining Hunter Masling in the rear tire changer position. Masling made the move from JGR to RFK during the off-season and was previously on loan to Legacy MC. Cody Osburn joins as fueler after following a similar path as he was assigned to the No. 38 last season.

Front Row Motorsports takes a split approach to the crews that they are leasing this season as the No. 34 car gets staffed by crew members on loan from JGR while the No. 38 car is staffed by crew members from Penske Racing. Everyone on the No. 34 car except for the fueler was leased to the No. 43 last year while fueler Ray Hernandez filled in on the No. 23 at 23XI Racing for the latter part of the season as their fueler had to recover from an injury. The No. 38 car is filled with a variety of development crew members from Penske Racing that have experience in the Truck Series and Xfinity Series. The No. 36 car that will attempt to make the field at the Daytona 500 will also have a JGR pit crew that typically pits JGR cars in the Xfinity Series and Tricon trucks in the Truck Series.

Kaulig Racing continue to staff both of their cars with crewmembers from Trackhouse Racing. The No. 16 sees the rear tire changer and jack handler position filled by members that were on the No. 31 car while Jeremy Kimbrough joins as tire carrier from the No. 99. Front tire changer Austin Holland and fueler Michael Duski stay with the No. 16 crew from last year. The No. 31 crew sees less of a shake up as most are carryover from last year but Ben Weber does join from the No. 38 in the front tire changer position and Markus Pierce-Brewster gets a call up from the Xfinity Series to be on the jack for that No. 31.

The shuffle for the Kaulig cars is partly due to the new No. 71 that’s being staffed for Zane Smith in the new partnership between Trackhouse and Spire Motorsports. The No. 71 gets front changer Journey Brown and tire carrier Brendan Foley from the No. 31 while jack handler Marshall McFadden and fueler Evan Clay join from the No.16. Rear changer Jerick Newsome comes over from the No. 99 to the new No. 71 car.

Spire staffs their other two cars with crews on lease from Hendrick Motorsports with both crews remaining mostly the same and only swapping rear tire changers. Mike Moss now moves to the No. 7 while Rod Cox moves to the No. 77. Moss was part of the Hendrick crew that went to Le Mans to compete with the Garage 56 car last. He was joined by No. 77 crew members Cody French and Jarius Morehead.

Additional Crews on Hand for One-Off Daytona Appearances

Jimmie Johnson and the No. 84 LEGACY MOTOR CLUB team are one of the six open teams looking to make the Daytona 500. Photo Credit: Craig White, TobyChristie.com

Like the No. 36 of Kaz Grala and the No. 84 of Jimmie Johnson mentioned above, there are multiple cars trying to race their way into the Daytona 500 that needed to find pit crews up to the task. The No. 62 of Anthony Alfredo is staffed by a roving pit crew led by award-winning veteran tire changer Tim Sheets who is known as Poptart in the garage. They are a contract crew that typically spends their time in the Xfinity and Truck Series but make special appearances for one-off entries in Cup. In addition to his pit lane duties, Sheets also operates Hellraizer Jacks which is now the most prominent jack used in the Cup Series garage and also what makes up the trophy for the Pit Crew Challenge. The No. 62 is the oldest crew attempting the Daytona 500 with an average age of 40. The No. 78 of BJ McLeod is also attempting to qualify for the Daytona 500 and based on their rosters, they are bringing the youngest crew as they are leasing a development crew from HMS with an average age of 24.8 for that crew. The No. 60 car will be staffed with RFK backup and development crew members.

The changes from the off-season will quickly become apparent as crews take to pit lane for the Daytona 500 this Sunday and those that have been able to build chemistry quickly will surely bring big results. Not only will crew members have to be ready to work with others on their crew but they will also need to be prepared for traffic as teams will try to pit in groups with other cars from their affiliated manufacturers. There are Daytona 500 winners up and down pit lane so most are up to the task.

Click here to view in-depth charts detailing all of the pit crews for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season compared to where each crew member was in 2023.

Featured Image Credit: Ellie Whittington

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