Today, Spire Motorsports announced championship winning crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion has been named interim crew chief for the team‘s No. 77 NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 with driver Ty Dillon, beginning with Sunday‘s Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway.
“We really want that car to get going and, unfortunately, we had to make a change,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “We‘ve agonized watching and waiting for the results to mirror the effort Ty (Dillon) 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 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.”
Manion has been a staple atop the pit box since 2002 and boasts wins in NASCAR‘s Cup, Xfinity and CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. Some of his most recognizable accomplishments include back-to-back NASCAR Xfinity Series Championships with Martin Truex Jr., (‘04 – ‘05) and NASCAR Cup Series wins including the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Bank of America 500 with Jamie McMurray. He has collected nine NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series wins with six different drivers including William Byron, Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, Tyler Ankrum, Zane Smith and most recently Kyle Larson.
The Boylston, Mass., native is scheduled to handle crew chief responsibilities for Dillon for 14 of the remaining 15 NCS races on the 2023 schedule. Manion is scheduled to miss the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Raceway while he calls the Clean Harbors 175 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at the Milwaukee Mile.
The Cook Out 400 from Richmond Raceway will be televised live on USA Network Sunday, July 30 beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The 22nd of 36 races on the 2023 NCS schedule will be broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
— Spire Motorsports —