The legendary Wood Brothers Racing team took to social media to announce that Brian Wilson will be joining the organization to serve as crew chief for rookie Harrison Burton and the iconic No. 21 Ford Mustang team for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.
Wilson, a native from Detroit, Michigan, and a graduate from North Carolina State University with a degree in mechanical engineering, is coming off his sixth season as a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Team Penske. He guided Austin Cindric and the No. 22 Ford Mustang team to five victories, a pole, 22 top-five results, 26 top-10 results, an average-finishing result of 8.2, a runner-up result in the driver’s standings with Cindric and an owner’s championship for the team in 2021, which marked Team Penske’s sixth Xfinity owner’s title.
Having spent the previous three seasons as a full-time crew chief for Cindric, Wilson achieved his first championship as a crew chief during the 2020 Xfinity season with Cindric, who won six races and achieved 19 top-five results, 26 top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 8.6 throughout the season.
In 163 appearances as an Xfinity crew chief that spans back to 2016 and all with Team Penske, Wilson achieved 23 career victories between four different competitors (Ryan Blaney, Austin Cindric, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano). He also achieved 14 poles, 89 top-five results and 126 top-10 results between six different competitors, including Sam Hornish Jr. and Paul Menard.
The 2022 season will mark Wilson’s first as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series crew chief. He previously served as a Cup crew chief in four races in 2017 for Brad Keselowski and Penske’s No. 2 Ford Fusion team, where Keselowski finished in the top 10 in all races Wilson was atop the pit box and calling the shots. Wilson also served as a race engineer for Keselowski in the Cup circuit for five seasons prior to becoming an Xfinity crew chief in 2016.
Wilson replaces Jonathan Hassler, a former Team Penske race engineer who became the crew chief for the Wood Brothers Racing team in June and in place of veteran Greg Erwin. Hassler is set to join Team Penske and serve as crew chief for Ryan Blaney and the No. 12 Ford Mustang team for the 2022 Cup season.
The 2022 season will also mark the first full-time Cup campaign for driver Harrison Burton, who is set to pilot the No. 21 Ford as a Cup Series Rookie-of-the-Year contender. The second-generation competitor from Huntersville, North Carolina, spent the previous two seasons in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing. During the two-year span, Burton achieved four career victories, 25 top-five results, 44 top-10 results, an average-finishing result of 11.4 and two Xfinity Playoff appearances, where he finished in eighth place in the final standings in both seasons.
Burton replaces Matt DiBenedetto, who spent the previous two seasons driving for the Wood Brothers in the Cup circuit. In two seasons, DiBenedetto earned six top-five results, 20 top-10 results and a Cup Playoff appearance in 2020, where he finished in 13th place in the final standings. DiBenedetto, who finished 18th in the 2021 Cup final standings, has yet to announce his plans for the upcoming NASCAR season.
Wilson is set to make his NASCAR Cup Series crew chief debut with the Wood Brothers Racing team in 2022, beginning at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum. The event is scheduled to occur on February 6, 2022, at 8 p.m. ET on FS1.