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Spire names new interim crew chief for Cup driver Ty Dillon

To help strike “a spark” in performance in its No. 77 NASCAR Cup team, Spire Motorsports on Tuesday named a new crew chief for driver Ty Dillon.

Ty Dillon, Spire Motorsports, Gainbridge Chevrolet Camaro

Veteran crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion has been named interim crew chief for Dillon, 31, and the No. 77 Chevrolet team beginning with this weekend’s race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. Manion replaces Kevin Bellicourt.

Manion will handle crew chief responsibilities for Dillon in 14 of the remaining 15 races this year. He will miss next month’s race at Daytona International Raceway as he was already scheduled to crew chief the organization’s Truck series entry at Milwaukee the same weekend.

In his first fulltime season with Spire, Dillon has yet to earn a top-10 finish this season. Through 21 races, his best finish is 14th at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April and the No. 77 has failed to finish five races.

“We really want that car to get going and, unfortunately, we had to make a change,” said team co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “We’ve agonized watching and waiting for the results to mirror the effort Ty and the No. 77 team put 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.

“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.”

Manion has won races in all three NASCAR national series – Cup, Xfinity and Trucks. He won consecutive Xfinity Series championships with Martin Truex Jr., (2004-05) and has wins in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 with former driver Jamie McMurray. He also has nine wins in the Truck Series, most recently with Kyle Larson.

“We admit, it might not change the trajectory of the season for the No. 77 team,” Dickerson said of the change. “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.”

Spire fields two fulltime Cup entries – Dillon in the No. 77 and driver Corey LaJoie in the No. 7. It also fields a part-time entry in the Truck Series.

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