Niece Motorsports took to social media to reveal the team’s crew chief lineup for the 2024 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season that is set to commence this upcoming Friday, February 16, at Daytona International Speedway.
Veteran Mike Hillman Jr. will return to Niece for a second consecutive season as he will call the shots atop the No. 41 Chevrolet Silverado RST pit box that is set to be piloted by Bayley Currey, who will campaign in the series on a full-time basis for the first time.
Hillman Jr., a native of Lockport, New York, enters the 2024 Truck Series season with 391 series events called as a crew chief, where he has accumulated 23 victories while working with 34 competitors during his tenure. He also achieved two Truck Series championships with Todd Bodine (2006 & 2010).
This past season, Hillman Jr., who teamed up with Niece Motorsports for the first time, was a crew chief for the team’s No. 41 entry that served as the team’s “all-star” entry and was piloted between seven competitors: Tyler Carpenter, Ross Chastain, Bayley Currey, Conor Daly, Shane van Gisbergen and Travis Pastrana. With a total of one pole, five top-five results and seven top-10 results, the No. 41 entry ended up in 17th place in the 2023 Truck Series’ owner’s standings.
With his latest Truck victory occurring at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2020 with Raphael Lessard and Kyle Busch Motorsports, Hillman Jr. aims to return to Victory Lane this season. In addition, his driver, Bayley Currey, also aims to win for the first time in the series after notching his first three top-five results in 11 starts in 2023.
Next, Jon Leonard joins Niece Motorsports for the first time to serve as a full-time crew chief for Matt Mills and the No. 42 Chevrolet Silverado RST team.
Leonard, a native of Vinton, Iowa, who was a crew chief in the Cup Series for Leavine Family Racing for 26 races between 2017 and 2018, returns as a full-time crew chief in the Truck Series for the first time since 2022, where he navigated Stewart Friesen to a thrilling last-lap victory at Texas Motor Speedway, a total of 13 top-10 results and into the Playoffs, where they ended up in sixth place in the final standings.
Leonard, who previously worked with Friesen and Todd Gilliland between 2019 and 2021, spent this past season serving as Friesen’s crew chief for the first two events before being replaced by Blake Bainbridge. He would return for eight additional Truck events for the remainder of the 2023 season with Hattori Racing Enterprises, where he worked with Christopher Bell, Jake Drew and Sean Hingorani.
For the 2024 season, Leonard teams up with Matt Mills, who will campaign in the Truck Series on a full-time basis for the first time after spending this past season competing in eight events between Young’s Motorsports and Kyle Busch Motorsports. During the eight-race stint, Mills registered a career-best fifth-place run with KBM at Richmond Raceway in late July as he strives to both win and make the Playoffs for the first time in his career.
Lastly, Phil Gould will remain as the crew chief for Niece’s No. 45 Chevrolet Silverado RST entry that will contend for this year’s Truck Series owner’s championship and will be piloted between Johnny Sauter, Ross Chastain, Kaden Honeycutt and Connor Mosack.
Gould, a native of Lexington, North Carolina, returns to Niece for a sixth consecutive season of being a Truck Series crew chief. He is coming off a strong season with Carson Hocevar, who achieved his first four career victories in the season, a total of 13 top-10 results, qualified for the Playoffs and transferred to the Championship 4 round at Phoenix Raceway before ending up in third place in the final driver’s standings. With Hocevar graduating to the Cup Series to drive for Spire Motorsports, Gould will serve as Niece’s “all-star” crew chief for the first time since the 2021 season.
Previously, Gould navigated Ross Chastain to three victories, one pole, a total of 18 top-10 results and a spot into the 2019 Truck Series Playoffs, where the duo transferred all the way into the Championship 4 round before settling in a career-best runner-up result in the final standings.
Speaking of Chastain, the veteran racer from Alva, Florida, will pilot Niece’s No. 45 entry at Circuit of the Americas, Darlington Raceway, North Wilkesboro Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, respectively, this season. Sauter will pilot the No. 45 entry for this upcoming weekend’s season opener at Daytona while the racing schedules for Honeycutt and Mosack, both of whom are contending for their first series victory, remain to be determined.
Through 114 appearances as a Truck Series crew chief, Gould has achieved seven victories, two poles and 57 top-10 results while working with eight different competitors. He also worked as a crew chief in the Xfinity Series for Roush Fenway Racing and Richard Childress Racing between 2013 to 2018, where he notched his first and only Xfinity victory to date with Ryan Reed at Daytona in February 2017.
The 2024 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season is set to commence this Friday, February 16, at Daytona International Speedway for the Fresh from Florida 250. The event’s opener is slated to broadcast at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.