Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday that Ryan “Rudy” Fugle will join the organization as crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet for William Byron in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series.
Fugle, 36, has spent the last eight seasons as crew chief for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. He has collected 28 victories in his KBM tenure and was atop the pit box for two Gander Trucks championships — Erik Jones’ title run in 2015 and Christopher Bell in 2017. Fugle will also be reunited with Byron, who enjoyed a seven-win campaign in his lone season with KBM in 2016.
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“The opportunity to join Hendrick Motorsports is incredible for me and my family,” Fugle said in a Hendrick Motorsports release. “The No. 24 has always been one of the premier teams in racing. We have the owner, the driver, the people and the resources to continue that tradition. William is a great talent, and we have a very strong working relationship. I’m confident in what this team can accomplish and look forward to the challenge of competing at the Cup level.”
Fugle replaces Chad Knaus, who helped Jimmie Johnson to seven Cup Series championships and has spent the last two seasons with Byron and the No. 24 team. HMS announced Sept. 29 that Knaus would transition to vice president of competition for the organization at the end of the season.
The 2021 campaign will mark the third crew chief in four years for Byron, who has made the playoffs the last two seasons and broke through for his first Cup Series victory in the 2020 regular-season finale at Daytona. Veteran Darian Grubb guided the No. 24 team for Byron’s rookie Cup Series season in 2018 before Knaus took the reins.
“I’m excited to work with Rudy again,” Byron said. “We have a great team in place, and I know he will be the right leader to keep moving us forward. I’ve seen first-hand what he’s capable of, his competitive nature and the high standards he has. With Rudy, I believe we’ll have a chance to win every single time we go to the race track, which is what both of us expect.”
Fugle’s NASCAR career began with Robert Yates Racing in 2006. He made his national-series debut as a crew chief in 2009, joining Germain Racing to helm Michael Annett’s efforts in the Xfinity Series.