Chip Ganassi Racing will revert to its original pit-crew lineup for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
A majority of the over-the-wall crew for the Ganassi No. 1 Chevrolet and postseason-eligible driver Kurt Busch was sidelined last weekend at Richmond Raceway because of COVID-19 contact-tracing protocols. Team roster pages for Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Bristol showed those crew members are set to return, and a CGR spokesperson confirmed the team will “have all of our crew members back in their respective positions this weekend.”
The roster lineup also means the Ganassi No. 42 Chevy team and driver Ross Chastain will have its pit-crew lineup restored for Saturday night’s 500-lap race. The No. 42 crew had shifted over to the No. 1 team at Richmond, helping Busch gain one position and spring into the lead after the first pit-stop exchange last Saturday night. Busch exited with just 40 laps complete after a crash, but praised his team and the overall depth of the Ganassi pit-crew pipeline.
“Yeah, it seemed like there wasn’t even a blip on the radar with the problem that our pit crew faced with COVID protocols,” Busch told NASCAR.com. “We were out of the race early, it didn’t help anything, but overall the whole group really rallied together to make it seem seamless.”
Busch sits in a tie for 12th place — the final transfer spot — heading into Saturday’s Round of 16 finale in the Cup Series playoffs. Four drivers will be trimmed from the title-eligible field after Saturday night’s event at Bristol, where Busch is a six-time winner in his Cup Series career.
Chastain did not qualify for the 16-driver grid, but has been the top finishing non-playoff driver in each of the two postseason races thus far — placing third at Darlington and seventh last weekend at Richmond. Chastain’s No. 42 team used a pit-crew comprised of veteran Mike Metcalf, plus development crew members from Spire Motorsports and StarCom Racing at Richmond.