TRICON Garage unveils 2023 crew chief & personnel lineup

With the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season nine days away from commencing, TRICON Garage put the final pieces of its rebranded puzzle together by revealing its crew chief and personnel lineup for its fleet of Toyota Tundra TRD Pros and drivers.

For starters, Seth Smith will remain at TRICON to serve as a crew chief for the No. 1 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro that will compete in select events and be piloted by multiple competitors that include Jason White for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway next Friday and newcomer William Sawalich, who will make his debut at Martinsville Speedway in April. The 34-year-old Smith from Troutman, North Carolina, has achieved two Truck career victories to his resume, both of which occurred during the previous season with Todd Gilliland at Knoxville Raceway and with Ryan Preece at Nashville Superspeedway.

Next, Derek Smith, brother to Seth Smith, will be graduating to the Truck Series to assume the pit box of the No. 5 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro team that will be driven by Dean Thompson, who joins the organization as a full-time competitor after spending the previous season at Niece Motorsports. Smith makes his move to the Truck circuit with 31 ARCA Menards Series events as a crew chief to his resume. As a former crew chief for TRICON in the ARCA regions, he led veteran and TRICON’s owner David Gilliland to his first ARCA West career victory at Phoenix Raceway in 2020.

New to the organization for this season is Scott Zipadelli, the 2018 Truck Series championship-winning crew chief from Newington, Connecticut. Zipadelli will lead the No. 11 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro that will be piloted by Corey Heim, the reigning Truck Series Rookie-of-the-Year recipient who notched his first two career victories during the previous season and is set to run his first full-time Truck season. Prior to TRICON, Zipadelli spent the previous six seasons at Hattori Racing Enterprises, where he notched 14 of his 15 career victories along with the 2018 title with Brett Moffitt. His other victory occurred at Michigan International Speedway in 2016 with Red Horse Racing and Moffitt. To go along with his success in the Truck circuit, Zipadelli has notched three Xfinity Series victories as a crew chief.

Coming off his first campaign as a crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series, Jerame Donley will embark on another new beginning for this season by becoming a full-time Truck Series crew chief for TRICON’s No. 15 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro that will be driven by Tanner Gray, who returns for a fourth full-time campaign at TRICON. Donley, a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, spent the majority of this past season as a crew chief for Ty Dillon and Petty GMS Motorsports. Previously, he was a nine-year engineer veteran for Chip Ganassi Racing and a former mechanic for Hendrick Motorsports.

Lastly, Billy Wilburn will be returning to the Truck Series to serve as a crew chief for TRICON’s No. 17 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro team that will be piloted by rookie Taylor Gray in all but the first three scheduled events. The 56-year-old Wilburn from Tempe, Arizona, has called 196 NASCAR national touring series events as a crew chief. His lone victory occurred at Kentucky Speedway in June 2006 with David Gilliland, who notched his first Xfinity career win. With Gray missing the first three events due to age restrictions, Sammy Smith will be making his Truck debut at Daytona. It remains undetermined who will be driving the No. 17 entry for the following two events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March.

In addition, veteran Matt Puccia will be joining TRICON Garage to assume the role of Competition Director. The 69-year-old Puccia from Watertown, New York, previously worked as a Director of Operations for Roush Fenway Racing and has called 269 Cup Series events as a crew chief for Roush from 2011 to 2018. During the span, he notched three career victories and three Playoff appearances, all with former veteran Greg Biffle, from 2012 to 2014.

The 2023 season is set to mark a new beginning for TRICON Garage, which was rebranded from David Gilliland Racing and reunited with Toyota following a three-year partnership with Ford.

With their lineup set, TRICON Garage is set to make its debut at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, which will commence a new season of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition. The event’s air time is set to occur at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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