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Billy Scott to call 300th Cup event as crew chief at Gateway

In his ninth season as a full-time crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series, Billy Scott, crew chief for Tyler Reddick and the No. 45 23XI Racing Toyota Camry XSE team, is scheduled to achieve a milestone start. By participating in this weekend’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway, Scott will call his 300th career event as a crew chief in NASCAR’s premier series.

A native of Land O’Lakes, Florida, and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, Scott made his inaugural presence as a Cup Series crew chief at the start of the 2014 season, where he worked atop the pit box of the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Camry team piloted by former Xfinity Series champion Brian Vickers. By then, he had spent the previous two seasons as a lead engineer for MWR’s No. 55 team and had previously assumed the role of engineer for both MWR and Robert Yates Racing.

In Scott’s first season as a crew chief, he led Vickers and the No. 55 team to a pole at Talladega Superspeedway in October, a season-best runner-up result at Daytona International Speedway in July, three top-five results, nine top-10 results, an average-finishing result of 18.6 and a 22nd-place result in the final driver’s standings.

The following season, Scott retained his role as the crew chief for MWR’s No. 55 team that commenced the season with team owner Michael Waltrip competing in the 57th running of the Daytona 500 and Brett Moffitt earning a strong top-10 result at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. Meanwhile, Vickers was absent for the start of the season due to health issues. Despite returning for the next two scheduled events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and at Phoenix Raceway, respectively, in March, Vickers was sidelined again due to blood clots, a health issue that would ultimately sideline him for the remainder of the season and would result with Moffitt and Waltrip filling in for the next six-scheduled events. By May, David Ragan became the full-time competitor of the No. 55 Toyota Camry as he finished no higher than 13th during his first four starts.

Then in June 2015, MWR swapped the crew chiefs of its two-car entry field with Scott replacing Brian Pattie as crew chief of the No. 15 entry piloted by Clint Bowyer. In his first race paired with Bowyer, Scott led the No. 15 team to a 10th-place run at Michigan International Speedway. The duo then earned a strong third-place finish at Sonoma Raceway followed by another 10th-place run at Daytona in July. With a total of eight top-10 results in 12 races paired together, Scott and Bowyer managed to secure a spot for the 2015 Cup Playoffs based on points.

Their run for the title, however, came to an early end at the start of the Playoffs when NASCAR issued a P4-level penalty and docked Bowyer’s team 25 points due to an illegal discovery made during the inspection process at Chicagoland Speedway in September. In addition, Scott was assessed a three-race suspension and a fine of $75,000. While MWR appealed the penalty, their appeal was denied as Scott was suspended, beginning at Dover Motor Speedway through Kansas Speedway in October. By then, Bowyer was one of four competitors to be eliminated from the Playoffs after finishing 19th, 26th and 14th, respectively, during the Round of 16. Once Scott returned atop the pit box at Talladega Superspeedway, he and Bowyer could only achieve just one additional top-10 result during the final seven scheduled events before capping off the season in 16th place in the final standings.

When Michael Waltrip Racing ceased all operations following the 2015 campaign, Scott joined Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2016 Cup season and was paired with Danica Patrick and the No. 10 Chevrolet SS team. Commencing the season with a 35th-place run during the 58th running of the Daytona 500, the duo recorded an average-finishing result of 22.0 throughout the 36-race schedule, with Patrick’s best on-track result being an 11th-place run at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October, before finishing in 24th place in the final standings. Scott and Patrick would record a single top-10 result of 10th place at Dover throughout the 2017 season along with an average-finishing result of 23.8 before settling in 28th place in the final standings. At the conclusion of the 2017 season, Patrick retired from full-time competition.

A month after the 2017 Cup season concluded, Stewart-Haas Racing shuffled its driver-crew chief pairing for the 2018 season, which included Scott transitioning to the No. 41 Ford Fusion team piloted by the 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch. The new duo commenced the season with a 26th-place result in the 60th running of the Daytona 500 after Busch was involved in a late multi-car wreck while contending for his second consecutive 500 title. They rallied by recording three poles and 14 top-10 results during the next 23 scheduled events. Then at Bristol Motor Speedway in August, Scott achieved his first career victory as a NASCAR crew chief when Busch held off Kyle Larson in a 13-lap shootout to claim his first win of the season, his sixth at Bristol, his 30th Cup career victory and a spot to the 2018 Cup Series Playoffs.

Despite enduring an up-and-down road throughout the Playoffs, the duo managed to transfer from the Round of 16 to 8. Their Playoff run, however, came to a late end during the Round of 8 after Busch recorded respective finishes of sixth, seventh and 32nd. With a 10th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November to cap off the 2018 season, Scott and Busch finished in seventh place in the final standings and accumulated a total of 22 top-10 results throughout the 36-race campaign.

For the 2019 Cup season, Scott, who remained as the crew chief of SHR’s No. 41 team, was paired with the 2016 Xfinity Series champion Daniel Suarez, who replaced Busch as Busch joined Chip Ganassi Racing. Throughout the 26-race regular-season stretch, Scott and Suarez endured an up-and-down journey that was highlighted with a pole at Kentucky Speedway in July along with nine top-10 results and a bid for a spot in the 2019 Playoffs. Ultimately, they missed the Playoffs by four points as Suarez proceeded to record two additional top-10 results during the 10-race Playoff stretch before finishing in 17th place in the final standings.

Following the 2019 season, Scott, who was released by Stewart-Haas Racing, joined Richard Childress Racing and worked as the team’s head of engineering for the 2020 Cup season. He also served as a crew chief for a single Cup event for Kaulig Racing’s debut in NASCAR’s premier series with Justin Haley for the 62nd running of the Daytona 500. During the event, Haley, who managed to qualify for the event based on speed, settled in 13th place. Scott’s next pair of events as a crew chief occurred during the 2021 Xfinity Series season for Our Motorsports and Austin Dillon, where Dillon finished 37th at Watkins Glen International and sixth at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, respectively.

In November 2021, Scott was announced as a Cup Series crew chief for 23XI Racing’s newly formed No. 45 Toyota TRD Camry that was set to be piloted by Kurt Busch for the 2022 season, which marked Scott’s return atop the pit box and his reunion with Busch since 2018. After accumulating four top-10 results during the first 12 scheduled events, the reunited duo achieved their first victory of the season when Busch prevailed over another late battle against Kyle Larson to grab a dominant win at Kansas Speedway in May and record the second career victory for 23XI Racing. The victory also gave Busch and the No. 45 team a guaranteed spot to make the Playoffs.

Seven races and three additional top-10 results later, however, Busch was involved in a hard wreck during a qualifying session at Pocono Raceway in July and was forced to sit out while recovering from concussion-like symptoms, a move that would eventually force him to rule out from full-time competition for the remainder of the 2022 season along with the full 2023 schedule. Busch’s absence allowed newcomer Ty Gibbs to pilot the No. 45 entry for the remainder of the 2022 Cup regular-season stretch with Scott remaining atop the pit box. Then in September and at the start of the 2022 Playoffs, Scott moved over to 23XI Racing’s No. 23 entry along with Gibbs while the team’s primary competitor, Bubba Wallace, took over the No. 45 Toyota that was competing for the owners’ title, which made it as high through the Round of 12.

Since being paired with Gibbs for the last 15 events, which started in mid-July, Scott has led the driver and 23XI Racing’s Nos. 23 and 45 entries to a single top-10 result, which occurred at Michigan International Speedway in August, along with a combined seven top-20 results. During the finale at Phoenix Raceway in November, Scott was paired with the 2021 Xfinity champion Daniel Hemric, who filled in for Gibbs as Gibbs missed the event due to the death of his father, Coy. With Hemric finishing in 17th place on the track, 23XI Racing’s No. 23 entry settled in 24th place in the final owner’s standings, 14 spots below the No. 45 entry.

Returning as the crew chief of 23XI Racing’s No. 45 entry piloted by two-time Xfinity champion Tyler Reddick for the 2023 Cup season, Scott navigated the driver and team to two top-five through the first five-schedule events before they achieved their first victory of the season at Circuit of the Americas in March. Reddick led a race-high 41 laps and muscled away from the field during a two-lap shootout. Scott and Reddick then proceeded to record eight top-10 results in 19 regular-season events, minus Darlington Raceway in May after Scott was ejected due to Reddick’s car failing pre-race inspection twice two days before race day and before entering the Playoffs alongside teammate Bubba Wallace and the No. 23 23XI Racing team.

Coming off a runner-up result in the Playoff opener at Darlington in September, Scott achieved his second Cup victory of the season after Reddick went from fifth to first during an overtime shootout to win and grab an automatic berth into the Round of 12. After transferring into the Round of 8 despite achieving only a single top-10 result in their next four races, the duo was eliminated from title contention after ending up eighth, third and 26th, respectively, throughout the Round of 8. Despite finishing in 22nd place during the finale at Phoenix, Scott and Reddick concluded their first campaign together in sixth place in the final driver’s standings, with the points result being the current best for both the driver and crew chief.

Through the first 14 events of the 2024 Cup Series season, Scott has navigated Reddick and the No. 45 23XI Racing team to a single victory, which occurred at Talladega Superspeedway in April after Reddick dodged a final-lap multi-car wreck to overtake Brad Keselowski through the frontstretch to win for the first time at Talladega. To go along with seven additional top-10 results, including a fourth-place run during last Monday’s rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Scott and Reddick are currently ranked in sixth place in the 2024 regular-season standings and are guaranteed a spot to make the 2024 Cup Series Playoffs.

Through 299 previous Cup events, Scott has achieved five victories, 10 poles, 34 top-five results, 85 top-10 results and 1,864 laps led while working with 12 different competitors.

Billy Scott is scheduled to call his 300th Cup Series event as a crew chief at World Wide Technology Raceway for the Enjoy Illinois 300 on Sunday, June 2. The event’s broadcast time is set to commence at 3:30 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 SpeedwayMedia.com

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