Cornelius, N.C. – Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced today that veteran crew chief Gene Nead has been named interim crew chief for two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip and his No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS team. Nead officially joins MWR on Monday and will call the final 12 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season for Waltrip. Robert “Bootie” Barker remains with the organization and will be assisting engineering with special projects.
“We have a lot left to race for this year and we had the opportunity to add depth to the organization,” said Waltrip. “Gene will do a good job working with my NAPA team and Bootie can help in other areas that should help me, David Reutimann, Marcos Ambrose, and our alliances with Prism Motorsports and Germain Racing. I want us to finish the season strong and anytime your organization can add quality people it should.”
Nead is a familiar face to MWR. Earlier this season, he worked for JTG Daugherty Racing who has a technical alliance with MWR. He led the team’s NASCAR Nationwide Series program with driver Michael McDowell. In 17 races, Nead’s expertise helped the young driver record 11 top-15 finishes.
Throughout his career, he has worked in all three of NASCAR’s major divisions winning the Camping World Truck Series title for Ultra Motorsports in 2005 with driver Ted Musgrave. He has also worked for organizations like Wood Brothers/JTG Daugherty Racing, Bill Davis Racing, Robby Gordon Motorsports and Kevin Harvick Racing.
Currently the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota is 32nd in the owner points standings and is just 190 points out of the top 25.