Mike Kelley slides into a familiar role as crew chief of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.‘s No. 47 Kroger Racing Camaro team for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season. After three seasons, crew chief Brian Pattie is departing the racing organization with Kelley picking up where Pattie‘s leaving off.
“We respect Brian and what he did for the company, and we wish him the best,” said Kelley. “We learned a lot together and I believe the previous successes and failures gives us the knowledge we need to be competitive and deliver the results for our partners in the coming season.”
“Brian and I accomplished a lot together and won two Cup races (at Roush Fenway Keselowski) and that‘s not easy in this sport,” said Stenhouse Jr. “I‘m grateful for our friendship and wish him well in his endeavors. Mike and I and the team will continue our preparations this off season and be ready for the new year with our Kroger Racing partners.”
Since the 2020 season, Kelley has worked alongside Pattie and Stenhouse Jr. at JTG Daugherty Racing. Kelley‘s history is rich, and his roots are deep with Stenhouse Jr. He was Stenhouse Jr.‘s 2014 NASCAR Cup Series crew chief at Roush (Fenway Keselowski) Racing and almost won (runner-up finish) that year together at Bristol Motor Speedway (3/16/2014).
Prior to that, Kelley won back-to-back (2011-2012) NASCAR Xfinity Series Championships as Stenhouse Jr.‘s crew chief also at Roush (Fenway Keselowski) Racing. The two together racked up an impressive total of 8 wins in Xfinity.
“It‘s been a little bit, but those championships with Ricky mean the world to me,” said Kelley. “It proves that a team can dream, work hard, and execute to reach the top. When you believe, it‘s amazing what you can accomplish.”
Kelley has worn a crew chief hat multiple times, but he has also been a car chief and wrenched on these cars. For example, as a car chief for Kurt Busch he won 11 NASCAR Cup Series races and the NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2004. He’s also worked with the likes of Ray Evernham and for two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip (Kelley was car chief for Waltrip‘s 2001 win at Dale Earnhardt, Inc.). He‘s been a crew chief for multiple drivers too (David Ragan, Erik Darnell, Todd Kluever and Carl Edwards).
All in all, Kelley has worked with Stenhouse Jr. for 12 years of his career and is not missing a beat to get the team ready for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.
“Thanks to our partners and we will see you at the Daytona 500,” said Kelley.
— JTG Daugherty Racing —