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Randall Burnett to call 200th Cup event as crew chief at Gateway

In his sixth full-time season as a crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series, Randall Burnett, crew chief for Kyle Busch and the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team, is within reach of achieving a milestone start. By participating in this weekend’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway, Burnett will call his 200th event as a crew chief in NASCAR’s premier series.

A native of Fenton, Missouri, Burnett is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a degree in mechanical engineering. He then spent 10 years at Chip Ganassi Racing, working in multiple engineering roles for the organization. During the span, Burnett served as Ganassi’s lead engineer for the No. 1 Chevrolet team piloted by Jamie McMurray, who won the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 and the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the 2010 Cup Series season. Burnett also previously worked as the team engineer for CGR’s No. 42 Chevrolet team piloted by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2013 and Kyle Larson in 2014 and 2015.

In 2016, Burnett made his debut as a Cup Series crew chief as he joined JTG-Daugherty Racing to lead AJ Allmendinger and the No. 47 Chevrolet team for the upcoming season. Participating in all but one of the 36-race schedule, Burnett and Allmendinger achieved a season-best runner-up result at Martinsville Speedway in April, two top-five results, nine top-10 results, a 17.9 average-finishing result and a 19th-place result in the final driver’s standings. The only event Burnett was unable to attend was Pocono Raceway in June, which he was serving a one-race suspension due to violating NASCAR’s lug nut procedures stemming from the previous event at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.

Burnett remained as Allmendinger’s crew chief in the early stages of the 2017 Cup season. Despite achieving a third-place result in the season-opening Daytona 500, Burnett was suspended for three races due to three loose lug nuts that were discovered on Allmendinger’s entry following the second event of the schedule at Atlanta Motor Speedway in February. Sitting out for four events, Burnett returned for five additional Cup races with Allmendinger before being replaced by veteran Ernie Cope, who had filled in during Burnett’s suspensions, for the remainder of the season, beginning in May.

Following his demotion as the crew chief for JTG-Daugherty Racing, Burnett joined Richard Childress Racing to serve as a crew chief for the organization’s No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro team in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Between 2017 to 2019, Burnett was an Xfinity Series crew chief for RCR in 89 races. During this span, he achieved six victories, six poles, 35 top-five results and 56 top-10 results, all while working with Austin Dillon, Daniel Hemric, Ben Kennedy, Paul Menard, Matt Tifft and Tyler Reddick. Burnett’s accomplishments as an Xfinity crew chief were guiding Hemric to the 2017 Xfinity Series Championship Round and winning the 2019 Xfinity Series title with Reddick, which marked Burnett’s first title in NASCAR as a crew chief.

A month after winning the 2019 Xfinity Series title, Burnett was named a full-time Cup crew chief for Reddick, who was also promoted to NASCAR’s premier series, and the No. 8 RCR Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE team for the 2020 season. Throughout the season, Burnett and Reddick achieved a season-best runner-up result at Texas Motor Speedway in July, three top-five results, nine top-10 results and a 19th-place result in the final standings, with Reddick ending up as the runner-up finisher to the Rookie-of-the-Year battle behind Cole Custer.

Burnett remained as Reddick’s crew chief for the 2021 Cup season, where they achieved a single pole position at Circuit of the Americas in May along with a total of two runner-up results, three top-five results and 16 top-10 results in 35 events. The duo managed to claim the 16th and final berth in the 2021 Cup Series Playoffs, which marked their first presence in the Playoffs as title contenders, but they were eliminated following the Round of 16 after missing the Round of 12 cutline by two points. Burnett would then be absent from the finale at Phoenix Raceway in November due to COVID protocols as Reddick proceeded to finish in 13th place in the final standings.

For the 2022 season, Burnett and Reddick recorded three top-10 results through the first eight-scheduled events before being one lap away of achieving their first Cup victory at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Course in April, where Reddick was hit and spun by Chase Briscoe on the final lap and final corner as Reddick was then beaten by Kyle Busch by 0.330 seconds to settle in a disappointing runner-up result. Nine races later, redemption came for the duo after Reddick prevailed in a late battle against Chase Elliott to notch his first Cup career victory at Road America in July, which also marked Burnett’s first career win as a crew chief in NASCAR’s premier series.

Another four races later, Burnett and Reddick solidified their spot into the 2022 Cup Playoffs after Reddick navigated his way amid a wild overtime shootout to win for the season time of the season at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course. Despite having their Playoff hopes evaporated following respective finishes of third, 35th and 25th throughout the Round of 16, Burnett and Reddick notched their third Cup victory of the season during the Round of 12 opener at Texas Motor Speedway in September. They would then accumulate two top-10 results during the final six events on the schedule before settling in 14th place in the final standings.

This past season, Burnett was paired with two-time Cup champion Kyle Busch, who replaced Reddick in RCR’s No. 8 entry as Reddick transitioned to 23XI Racing. Despite finishing in 19th place during the 65th running of the Daytona 500 amid a final lap multi-car wreck, the new duo quickly navigated their way to Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway in February as Busch achieved his first win driving for RCR. Burnett and Busch would win at Talladega Superspeedway in April and at World Wide Technology Raceway in June as they would also accumulate a total of 14 top-10 results throughout the 26-race regular-season stretch before securing their spot into the Playoffs. Despite finishing within the top 20 throughout the Round of 16 which enabled them to transfer into the Round of 12, their title hopes came to an end amid respective finishes of 34th, 25th and third throughout the Round of 12. Managing only a single top-five finish in the final four scheduled events, Burnett and Busch concluded their first campaign in 14th place in the final standings.

Through 199 previous Cup events, Burnett has achieved six victories, six poles, 31 top-five results, 72 top-10 results and 957 laps led while working with three different competitors. He and Busch are currently ranked in 14th place in the 2024 regular-season standings on the strengths of two top-five results and five top-10 results through the first 14 scheduled events.

Randall Burnett is scheduled to call his 200th 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 slated to occur 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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