Phillips, Holly Named KBM Crew Chiefs
MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Kyle Busch Motorsports has set its crew chief roster in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Eric Phillips has been promoted to the position of crew chief for the No. 77 Camry team with driver Parker Kligerman in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the 2013 season.
Harold Holly has joined the organization and will lead Joey Coulter in his quest for the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. Additionally, the team announced that Coulter will pilot the team’s flagship truck, the No. 18 Tundra, while team owner Kyle Busch will run a partial schedule in the team’s second entry, the No. 51 Tundra.
Busch’s schedule and the rest of the driver lineup that is being formed to compete for the Truck Series owner’s championship will be announced at a later date.
Since joining KBM for its inaugural Truck Series season in 2010, Phillips has guided the No. 18 team to 17 victories, 8 poles, 2,243 laps led, 38 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes across 72 starts. Under his guidance, KBM became the first team since the Truck Series originated in 1995 to capture the owner’s championship in its inaugural season and led the series in wins in each of its first two seasons.
In 2012, Phillips led the No. 18 team to a fifth-place finish in the final Truck Series owner’s point standings. The team collected one win, with Brian Scott at Phoenix (Ariz.) Int’l Raceway in November, and five top-five finishes while leading 266 laps. Seven different drivers (Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Drew Herring, Jason Leffler, David Mayhew and Brian Scott) contributed to the team’s series-best-tying 17 top-10 finishes. Over the final 18 races of the season, the team registered 16 top-10 finishes and scored 683 owner’s points, the most among Truck Series teams during that span.
“I really enjoy the Truck Series and I’ve experienced a lot of success there since becoming a crew chief in 2004, but I’m looking forward to this opportunity and being able to take on a new challenge,” said Phillips, who has spent the last nine seasons as a Truck Series crew chief. “We had some success here last year at KBM in our first year of running in the Nationwide Series, especially the last couple of months. Now, everyone’s job is to keep things moving in the right direction and work towards making our Nationwide Series efforts grow like we have done with our Truck Series program. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with Parker — he is a young driver with a lot of talent and a lot of enthusiasm. He had a great second half of the season in trucks and proved that he is deserving of a full-time Nationwide Series ride.”
“Eric has been an intricate part of KBM’s success — this opportunity is not only what’s right for him, it’s the right move for our company as we continue to grow,” KBM General Manager Rick Ren said. “In the three years that he has been in this building, the guy has won 17 races and an owner’s championship — those numbers speak for themselves. We’re confident that pairing a young driver like Parker with a crew chief that already knows how to win races and has proven to be a championship-caliber crew chief gives our No. 77 team the best opportunity to come out of the gates strong in 2013.”
With Holly calling the shots in 2012, Coulter earned his first Truck Series win at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in August and captured three pole awards. Under the veteran’s guidance, the talented youngster posted eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes en route to a third-place finish in the final driver’s point standings in his sophomore Truck Series campaign.
Coulter’s 749 driver’s points accumulated over the final 20 races this season were more than any other Truck Series driver during that span.
Overall in two Truck Series seasons together, the duo has accumulated one win, 14 top-five and 28 top-10 finishes over 47 Truck Series starts and one top-10 finish in two Nationwide Series starts. Holly also served as the crew chief for Coulter’s two full-time seasons in the ARCA Racing Series (2009 and 2010), during which they registered one win, two poles, 14 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes across 41 events.
“Being able to join Kyle Busch Motorsports and continue to help Joey grow at the same time is a pretty special thing,” said Holly, who will begin his fifth consecutive season as Coulter’s crew chief. “Kyle brings a lot to the sport and a lot to the Truck Series, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work for his organization. Joey and I have spent the last couple years learning this series and what it takes to points race with these guys. We’ve gotten better each year and I think we have a good plan going into next season. The biggest thing is that we need to come out of Daytona with a solid finish. Last year, we got so far behind at the beginning and had to make up so much ground at the end.”
“When we signed Joey, we made a promise to him that we would do everything that we possibly can to put him in a position to win the championship in 2013 and we made bringing in Harold Holly as his crew chief our top priority this offseason,” KBM General Manager Rick Ren said. “After we signed Joey in early November, I listened to some of their radio communication during practice those last few races and they really work well together. With having such a short schedule in the Truck Series, you can’t afford to get off to a slow start and we feel like this move will help ease the transition of moving to a new organization for a young driver.”