Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief, Kevin “Bono” Manion, has joined Kyle Busch Motorsports to work as a crew chief in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, according to a release Wednesday from KBM. He’ll serve as the crew chief for a Toyota truck fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports for drivers Daniel Suarez and Cody Coughlin. Manion will be one of three crew chiefs at KBM, joining Rudy Fugle and Jerry Baxter, who already have been with the race team for multiple seasons.
“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 owners’ championship,” team owner Kyle 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.”
Manion has 12 years of experience as a crew chief, 10 of those coming at the Sprint Cup level. He has to his credit five wins as a Cup-level crew chief, including victories in the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Manion worked with teams including Richard Petty Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing in the Sprint Cup Series after moving to NASCAR’s top level in 2006. Prior to that, he was a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity (previously known as the Busch and Nationwide) Series, winning 15 races. He also won consecutive championships with Martin Truex Jr. as driver in 2004 and 2005.
Fugle, meanwhile, has been with Kyle Busch Motorsports for the last four years, two of those as a crew chief. In 2015, he was crew chief for Erik Jones, guiding him to the Camping World Truck Series championship in a season thaat included three wins, 11 top-fives and 20 top-10 finishes. The 2015 championship was the second for KBM with Fugle as crew chief. In 2016, Fugle will be crew chief for driver William Byron, the 2015 K&N Pro Series East champion.
Baxter will be paired will Christopher Bell for 2016. He has been a crew chief at KBM the past three seasons. In those three years, Baxter was responsible for seven wins, 24 top-fives and 40 top-10 finishes in 67 races. In 2015, Baxter led the No. 51 team that had multiple drivers behind the wheel of its truck, including Daniel Suarez, Matt Tifft, Busch and and Bell. Bell made one start in the No. 51 last season.