HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – Joe Gibbs Racing has announced that Robert “Bootie” Barker will serve as crew chief for the No. 18 ARCA Racing Series program this year.
Barker will team up with ARCA Racing Series Rookie of the Year Riley Herbst and look to improve on their 2017 campaign that saw Herbst finish the year fifth in the ARCA standings.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me and I am incredibly grateful to join the team here at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Barker. “I am just getting to know Riley and from what I can tell, he is a great kid with an unlimited amount of potential. We obviously want to win the championship this year, but we have a goal of improving each and every day.”
Barker started his engineering career in 1997 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He became a crew chief in 2002 and has remained atop the pit box ever since. Throughout the past 16 years, Barker has been a crew chief in both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“I am super excited to have Bootie Barker come on board with the No. 18 team this year,” said Herbst. “He is going to bring a tremendous amount of experience that this team can use to assist our program. It is amazing to see what he has accomplished over his career and I am thrilled to work alongside of him. Heading into my second year, I believe that we will be competing for the ARCA Series title in 2018.”
Herbst was able to compete in 19 of the 20 races during the 2017 season after missing the season opener at Daytona due to his 18th birthday falling the week after the race.
The Las Vegas native had a strong rookie season, recording six top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes. Herbst earned his first pole at Elko Speedway and his first win at Pocono Raceway en route to his Rookie of the Year title.
Shannon Rursch, Herbst’s crew chief in 2017, has transitioned into a new role as JGR ARCA/Development Program Advisor. Rursch will work alongside Herbst and Barker on the ARCA program, while also splitting time with JGR development driver Ty Gibbs.
Kris Bowen has been named car chief for the No. 18 ARCA Racing Series Toyota Camry. Bowen previously was a crew chief in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
CREDIT: Joe Gibbs Racing