MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 6, 2016) – Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced today the addition of Kevin “Bono” Manion to the team’s crew chief lineup for the team’s three-truck effort in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for 2016. Manion will call the shots for the Tundra that will be shared by drivers Daniel Suarez and Cody Coughlin. Additionally, the team announced that 2015 Truck Series champion crew chief Rudy Fugle will be paired with 2015 K&N Pro Series East champion William Byron and veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter will guide Christopher Bell’s efforts.
Manion brings with him 12 years of experience as a NASCAR crew chief, spending the last 10 seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. The Massachusetts native collected five victories in his time atop the pit box in NASCAR’s premier series, including two marquee wins with Jamie McMurray in 2010; the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Before graduating into NASCAR’s top division, he guided Martin Truex Jr., to back-to-back NASCAR XFINITY Series titles in 2004 and 2005. In addition to his five Sprint Cup Series victories, Manion boasts 15 XFINITY Series wins; 13 with Truex Jr., and two with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Fugle begins his third season as a crew chief at KBM and fifth overall with the team. Under his tutelage last season, Erik Jones posted three wins, five poles, 925 laps led, 11 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes en route to becoming the youngest champion in Truck Series history and the first driver to collect both the Rookie of the Year and the series title in the same year. The duo also nabbed KBM its record-breaking fourth Truck Series Owner’s championship last season, which was the second with Fugle calling the shots. In 2013, he led KBM’s No. 51 Tundra team to a series-leading six wins and an Owner’s Championship. The New York native’s Truck Series drivers have totaled nine wins, six poles, 21 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes across his 44 races atop the pit box for KBM.
Baxter begins his fourth season atop the pit box for KBM. Combined in his first three seasons, the California native’s drivers posted seven wins, three poles, 1171 laps led, 24 top-five and 40 top-10 finishes across 67 starts. The veteran crew chief spent the 2015 season calling the shots for KBM’s No. 51 team, which collected two wins, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes with drivers Daniel Suarez (12 starts), Matt Tifft (six starts), Kyle Busch (three starts) and Christopher Bell (one start) behind the wheel. In addition to his seven wins at KBM, his resume includes a Truck Series win with Cale Gale in 2012 and a NASCAR XFINITY Series win with David Reutimann in 2007.
“The goal at KBM is to have all three of our teams competing for wins and top fives every race and consistently be among the battle for the Owner’s Championship,” Busch said.
“Rudy, Jerry and the group of crew members that they have assembled on their respective teams, and everyone in the shop have accomplished those goals the past few seasons and the third team made strides through all of last season. With the addition of Bono — a guy who is a true racer and a proven winner at NASCAR’s highest level — as the leader of that group of guys, I’m confident that their performance level will be much improved this season.”