Ty Dillon will have a new crew chief heading into Richmond Raceway this weekend.
Spire Motorsports announced July 25 that Kevin “Bono” Manion has been named the interim crew chief for the No. 77 team in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“We really want that car to get going and, unfortunately, we had to make a change,” Jeff Dickerson, Spire co-owner, said in a team release. “We’ve agonized watching and waiting for the results to mirror the effort Ty and the 77 team puts into their program. Expectations are a funny thing. They’re a blessing and a curse and, for whatever reasons, those expectations aren’t being met.
“We all know, Kevin Bellicourt (former crew chief) included, what happens at this point of the season when we are, where we are, in the overall standings. Kevin has put in a lot of hard work and has been with us from 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 say we are. We need a spark to give this team every opportunity to progress and ultimately succeed. We’re incredibly fortunate to have someone as accomplished as Bono already in-house. That said, we admit, it might not change the trajectory of the season for the No. 77 team. However, doing nothing, although tidier and more comfortable, especially with the relationships involved, clearly is not an option for us anymore and we are keen to see improvement. There is a lot of racing left in 2023 and it’s imperative that we’re raising the bar every week.”
Bellicourt was Dillon’s crew chief for the first 21 races of the season, resulting in not a single top-10 finish and only two top-20 finishes, 19th at Atlanta Motor Speedway and 14th at Talladega Superspeedway.
In comparison, Dillon’s teammate in the No. 7 Spire car, Corey LaJoie, has mustered a host of finishes within the top 20.
This season, Manion has worked in the NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Craftsman Trucks series, last handling crew chief responsibilities for Carson Hocevar at the Rackley Roofing 200 Nashville Superspeedway in Xfinity and for Kyle Larson for the Tyson 250 at North Wilkesboro Speedway in Trucks.
Manion was announced as an interim crew chief. Timing on a permanent replacement has not been revealed.
Manion’s first race as Dillon’s crew chief, the Cook Out 400 at Richmond, will be broadcast on Sunday, July 30 at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network.
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