The Camping World SRX Series has named three NASCAR Cup Series winning crew chiefs to join the short-track circuit started by Ray Evernham and Tony Stewart.
Superstar Racing Experience (SRX), which will race on six consecutive Saturday nights starting on June 12, will begin its inaugural season at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, and Mike Beam, Jeff Hammond and Todd Parrott will be helping tune the cars in the pits.
Beam, Hammond and Parrott have a combined 77 NASCAR Cup Series victories, including the 1994 Southern 500 (Beam with Bill Elliott), the 1989 Daytona 500 (Hammond with Darrell Waltrip) and the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600 and Brickyard 400 (Parrott with Dale Jarrett).
A local all-star crew chief will be working every event with the trio, which will have three drivers assigned to each by a blind draw.
“Even though we’re shining a spotlight on 12 of the most accomplished drivers in racing every Saturday night in the Camping World SRX Series, racing is not an individual sport,” Ray Evernham, co-founder of the Camping World SRX Series with Stewart and among the NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chiefs, said in a release.
"It's polar opposites… It's going to be fun to see which drivers adapt right away and which drivers it takes a little longer." – @TonyStewart@SRXRacing drivers explain the challenge ahead of racing on both dirt and pavement. pic.twitter.com/RNm6JpH0Bz
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) June 8, 2021
“The driver is the quarterback, but the crew chief is like the head coach. He sees things the driver doesn’t, and he finds ways to get the best out of the driver by rallying a team around him. That’s always been a part of motorsports and it always will be. We wanted to highlight that in SRX by bringing in three of the most accomplished crew chiefs in NASCAR and by showcasing some equally talented crew chiefs who have excelled at the grassroots level.
“Mike Beam, Jeff Hammond and Todd Parrott – they’re all still very competitive people. They’ll have the unique challenge of making sure their team performs the best in a single race, but then again every week with a different group of drivers as they’ll also have their eye on the championship. And the local all-star crew chiefs will keep them on their toes. Each of them knows their respective racetrack better than anyone.
“All of these crew chiefs will be able to coach their drivers and make some subtle changes to the cars based on their drivers’ feedback. They’re all in this thing to win. Times may have changed, but their will to win hasn’t.”
For the season opener at Stafford, the local crew chief will be Mike Christopher, the twin brother of the late Ted Christopher (who ranks first in track history with 109 SK Modified victories and 131 overall).
Mike Christopher has 28 victories at Stafford in the SK Modified division and is a three-time track champion.
Other all-star local crew chiefs: Guy Forbrook at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway; Keith Kunz at Eldora Speedway, Tim Clauson at Lucas Oil Raceway, Scott Hansen at Slinger Speedway. The local crew chief for the series finale July 17 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway is TBD.
The series announced its race format last month. Hailie Deegan also has been added to the driver lineup for two races, joining a cast that also includes Tony Kanaan, Stewart, Helio Castroneves, Bobby Labonte, Paul Tracy, Willy T. Ribbs, Bill Elliott, Ernie Francis Jr., Marco Andretti and Michael Waltrip.