DARLINGTON, S.C. — After Harrison Burton and Austin Cindric missed qualifying for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs at Daytona International Speedway on Aug. 26, Team Penske made an Aug. 28 announcement that the Nos. 2 and 21 teams would swap crew chiefs, effective immediately.
Jeremy Bullins moved over to work with Burton, while Cindric was reunited with former NASCAR Xfinity Series crew chief Brian Wilson. The new duos will make their debuts in the playoff-opening Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
With the crew chief swap effective for the remainder of 2023 and the entirety of 2024, Penske and Wood Brothers Racing are looking to set a long-term foundation in place for the start of next season.
However, there’s one piece of the 2024 puzzle that has yet to be filled: the driver of the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 car.
At Darlington, Burton told Frontstretch that a 2024 return isn’t a done deal despite the news of a crew chief swap for next season.
“Yeah, we’ll see, it’s been ongoing,” Burton said. “I think a lot of it depends on how we run, right?
“We’ve shown improvements; we’ve also had weekends where we weren’t as good as we need to be. But, you know, I think this group has had a lot of confidence in me from the beginning that I can do it, it’s just about building into the driver I know I can be and that they believe in me to be.
“The swap is a good sign of that commitment to improve together. We’ll see, but luckily for me, I stay out of those conversations. I’m able to just drive, and I’ve got a great group of people around me that help with all of that, and I can just drive a race car.”
With 10 races to go in the 2023 season, Burton sits 30th in points with two top 10s and an average finish of 23.8. He will look to start his tenure with Bullins on a high note at Darlington, a track where he recorded a season-best finish of sixth in May.
About the author
Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.
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